I have yet to even be a finalist in this contest (I’m just that good), but Susanna Leonard Hill is hosting her famous Halloween writing competition for a children’s story NOW. You have till October 31st at midnight to submit a story according to her specifications ON HER SITE:
THE CONTEST: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here defined as 12 and under) (title not included in word count) using the words glow-in-the-dark, goosebumps, and goodies.
- Your story can be poetry or prose, scary, funny, sweet, or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words. Get it? Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people
- You can go under the word count but not over!
- Title is not included in the word count.
- Also, being super clear for this year, glow-in-the-dark counts as 1 word (even though it looks like 4 )
- You may use the words in any form i.e. glowed-in-the-dark, goosebumpley, goody (“Oh, goody!”, goody-two-shoes etc.), whathaveyou
- You are welcome to enter more than one entry – just remember you’ll be competing against yourself
- No illustration notes please!
And yes, I know 100 words is short, but that’s part of the fun and the challenge! We got just shy of 300 fantastic entries last year, so I know you can do it!
POST: your story in the comment section [on her site] between right now this very second and Sunday October 31st at Midnight – the witching hour! Please include your title, word count, and byline with your entry so that if your posting handle is MomNeedsAVacation I’ll still be able to tell who wrote your entry
- For those of you who would also like to post on your blogs, please feel free to do so! You are welcome to include the link to your blog with your entry in the comment section…so that people can come visit your blog, but all entries must be posted in the comment section of [Susanna’s Post] between now and Sunday October 31st at Midnight.
- If you have difficulty posting your entry to the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may e-mail your entry to [Susanna] and I’ll post it for you! Contact button or [susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com Please place your entry in the body of the e-mail including your title and byline at the top – NO ATTACHMENTS! They will not be opened.
- I know how hard you all work on your entries, and how anxious you are to get them posted, but please try to be a little patient if your entry doesn’t show up immediately. Many comments have to be manually approved, and it sometimes takes me a little while to post entries that come in by email. I promise I will get to everything as soon as I can. I try never to leave my desk during contests, but sometimes it’s unavoidable
- Side Note: WordPress will not properly format entries written in the shape of a pumpkin (or anything else!) or with fancy or colored fonts or unusual spacing. No matter how great it looks in whatever program you compose it in, be forewarned that when you post it in the comment section it is going to be basic and I am not able to change that for you, I’m afraid.
THE JUDGING: in a grueling marathon over the days following the contest close, my devoted assistants and I will read and re-read and narrow down the entries to a finalist field of about 12 which will be posted here for you to vote on I hope by Friday November 5th (though if the judging takes longer than expected it might be a little later – we will do our best!) The winner will be announced Monday November 8th (good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise )
Judging criteria will be as follows:
- 1. Kid-appeal! – These stories are intended for a young audience (ages 12 and under), so we’re looking for stories that children will enjoy and relate to.
- 2. Halloweeniness – the rules state a Halloween story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about Halloween, not just some random spooky night.
- 3. Use of all 3 required words and whether you came it at 100 words or less.
- 4. Quality of story – entries must tell a story, including a main character of some kind and a true story arc even if it’s tiny Entries must not be merely descriptions or mood pieces.
- 5. Quality of Writing: check your spelling, grammar, punctuation etc. If you’re going to rhyme, give us your best Use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it, PROOFREADING!
- 6. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.
- 7. How well you followed the Submission Guidelines – agents and editors expect professionalism. This is a chance to practice making sure you read and follow specified guidelines. If you don’t follow agent and editor submission guidelines, they won’t even read your submission.
THE PRIZES: So amazing!……keep reading