December 7, 2015

Ho! Ho! Ho! The 5th Annual Holiday Contest Is Here!!!

Deck the halls!

Light the menorah!

Fill the Kikombe cha Umoja!

It's time for...

The 5th Annual Holiday Contest!!!!
WA-HOOO!!!! :)

The Contest:  Write a children's story (children here defined as approximately age 12 and under) beginning with any version of "Rocking around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop."  You may use that actual opening, or you may change it to any similar version "[Verb of your choice]ing [any preposition you choose] the [any item you choose] [any preposition you choose] the [venue of your choice]."  For example, "Surfing along the wind-whipped waves at the Yuletide barbeque," or "Wandering through the pine-sweet woods at the cut-your-own tree farm," or "Quarreling in the checkout line at the local Toys R Us," or "Waltzing among the candy canes at the Holiday Bazaar"....   You get the idea, I'm sure :)  But "Rocking around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop" is completely acceptable too - whatever works for you :)  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 350 words (I know!  So much freedom after the Halloweensie Contest :))  (It can be as short as you like (the judges will be grateful :)), but no more than 350!)  The field is wide open!  Have fun!  The more creative the better!  No illustration notes please. (And yes, if you feel compelled to submit more than one entry you may, just remember you're competing against yourself!)

Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between right now this very second and Friday December 11 at 11:59 PM EST, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list below which will remain up through Sunday December 13 (no WYRI or PPBF during that week.)  If you don't have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments on my December 7th post.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email me and I'll post your entry for you! But please don't send attachments!  Just copy and paste your story into the email.)  And please be sure to include your byline!! We don't want to have to guess who wrote your entry!

The Judging:  My lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 10-12 finalists (depending on the number of entries) which will be posted here on either Monday December 14 or Tuesday December 15 (depending on the number of entries :)) for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed on Thursday December 17 at 5 PM EST and the winners will be announced on Friday December 18.  Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to tenth place.  Judging criteria will be kid appeal/kid-friendliness, creativity, quality of story, quality of writing, and originality.

The Prizes!:  Wow!  We've got some truly great prizes! (items in color are links for more info!):

A Picture Book Manuscript read and critique (winner's choice of in-person, on the phone, or via email) by Claire Dorsett, Editorial Assistant, Roaring Brook Press!!!
   A bibliophile and outdoor enthusiast, Claire spent her childhood summers road-tripping across the United States, reading constantly on the long car rides between parks and museums. Her love of literature led her to pursue a BA in English from Cornell University, where she was involved with campus publications The Daily Sun and Rainy Day literary magazine. Claire then completed the six-week intensive Columbia Publishing Course before finding a home at Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, assisting VP and Publisher Simon Boughton. She has worked on a range of projects during her time at Roaring Brook, including Lane Smith's middle-grade debut Return to Augie Hobble, Steve Sheinkin's National Book Award finalist Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War, and picture books The SkunkThere is a Tribe of Kids, and Ned The Knitting Pirate
- a brand new Picture Book Webinar Bundle including one webinar on Concept Books and the other on Rhyme, Verse and Lyricism in Picture Books, generously donated by Emma Walton Hamilton, author, editor, writing coach, and teacher of the fabulous Just Write For Kids courses.
- a 2016 Membership to Children's Book Insider, including their Children's Writing Knowledge Base, an absolutely fabulous resource for kid lit writers of all kinds, generously offered by Jon Bard and Laura Backes
 - A Picture Book Manuscript Critique by talented author/illustrator Iza Trapani, author of JINGLE BELLS, OLD KING COLE, ITSY BITSY SPIDER, and many, many more!
 - A Picture Book Manuscript Critique by the fabulous Lori Degman, author of 1 ZANY ZOO and COCK-A-DOODLE OOPS!
 - an e-copy of the fantastic How To Promote Your Children's Book generously donated by Katie Davis!

 - Enrollment in Making Picture Book Magic (my online picture book writing class - in January or a later month to be mutually agreed upon by the winner and me)
 - A 6-Month Membership to the new and fabulous One Stop For Writers Site!
 2016 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market  and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.
- another 2016 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market  and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.
- a pack of Susanna Leonard Hill's amazing What's The Story Cards (hitherto un-introduced to the world!) - writing prompts for every occasion :)
 - another pack of Susanna Leonard Hill's amazing What's The Story Cards

I can't thank these authors and other industry professionals enough for their incredible generosity!  Please visit their sites, buy and recommend their books and services to your writer friends and/or friends with kids, write them nice reviews on Amazon, GoodReads etc if you've read and liked their books, and show your appreciation to them in any way you can!

The Contest Winner will have first choice of the prizes.  2nd place will have next choice of what's left and so on.  (I'm doing it this way in the hopes that no one will get something they already have and also because I think all the prizes are fabulous and I wouldn't want to make anyone feel less valued by giving them as 6th place as opposed to 1st.)

So let's get this Holiday Party started! :)

I want to warn you in advance that this may actually be the worst story I've ever written - embarrassing for me, but very comforting for anyone who is worried about the quality of their story - I can say with complete confidence that ANYTHING you write will be better than this sample! :)  Every time I do this I'm amazed by how fast I use up my 350 words!

Christmas Pie
350 words

Skimming across the sugar snow in a one-horse open sleigh, Rabbit headed for the Holiday Festival with his specialty Christmas Pie, fresh-baked, still warm, and smelling delicious!
He passed Mouse.
“May I have a ride?” asked Mouse.
“Sure!” said Rabbit.  “Hop in.  But careful of the pie!”
Mouse climbed up beside Rabbit and off they went.
Soon they passed Squirrel.
“May I have a ride?” asked Squirrel.
“Sure!” said Rabbit.  “Hop in.  But careful of the pie!”
Squirrel climbed up beside Rabbit and Mouse and off they went.
Soon they passed Possum.
“May I have a ride?” asked Possum.
“Sure!” said Rabbit.  “Hop in.  But careful of the pie!”
Before long they had passed the Turkey Twins, Raccoon, Badger, Fox, Bobcat, and Deer and his eight out-of-town cousins visiting from somewhere up North, and they ALL climbed in.  The sleigh was very crowded indeed, but the pie sat safe beside Rabbit, fresh-baked, still warm, and smelling delicious!
“Got room for one more?” asked Bear as they drew up alongside him.
“Sure!” said Rabbit.  “Hop in.  But careful of the pie!”
Bear hopped in.
But the way had grown steep…
…and the sleigh was VERY full!
Pretty soon the horse stalled out and the sleigh wouldn’t budge another inch.
“We’ll help!” volunteered the passengers, and they all got out to push.
Up, up, up the hill they went until…
The hill pitched steeply down the other side.
The sleigh took off at high speed and crashed into a snow bank at the bottom.
Animals tumbled helter-skelter.
The Christmas Pie sailed through the air…
…and landed high in the branches of the Holiday Festival Christmas Tree!
“My pie!” wailed Rabbit.  “We’ll never get it down!”
“Yes, we will!” said Bear.
Squirrel, Possum, the Turkey Twins, Raccoon, Badger, Fox, Bobcat, and Deer and his eight cousins all climbed up on Bear.  All the way to the top of that tippy-tippy tower climbed Mouse, who plucked the pie from the high branches and passed it down to Rabbit, fresh-baked, still warm, and smelling delicious!
“Hurray!” cheered Rabbit.
           And they all ate Christmas Pie!

So now!  Is everyone filled with confidence about their entries?  I certainly hope so after that display!  Never let it be said that I'm not willing to make a fool of myself for you guys :)  It just proves how much I love you :)

I can't wait to read all of your (much better!) stories!  I hope there will be a lot - the more the merrier!  And there are still nearly 5 days to write, so you have time if you haven't written yet and want to join the fun.  Feel free to spread the word to your writing friends as well.  If you just want to enjoy reading, that's great too!  We need all the readers we can get, so feel free to spread the word to parents and teachers!  And what better way to entertain yourself and your kids while waiting for the holiday goodies to bake?  Or get someone to read aloud while everyone else wraps presents :)

Remember to put your post-specific link (not your general blog link or people will find the wrong page if you post again before the contest is over) in the list below!

Rejoice! and let the festivities begin!!! :)

Don't miss the 48 fabulous entries in the comment section! Click on the names to go to the story.  Please note that it takes a minute to load.  And please also note that clicking on these links will allow you to read the story and leave your own comment, but not see previous comments left on that story... I don't know why... so if you want to see all the comments left on the story, you'll have to scroll through the whole comment section.

Lindsay - Zippin' Around The Chaos Tree
Julie - The Christmas Tarts
Lori - A Modern Hanukkah Miracle
Lorraine - A Very Spacey Christmas
Carol - Rockin' Reindeer
Ann - Guardian Angel
Miranda - Christmas Party Hop
Suzanne - Santa's Stolen Suit
Barbara - Christmas On An Island
Sharon - A Tree For The City
Tracie #1 - Scrambling Around The Christmas Tree
Tracie #2 - Shopping Around For A Christmas Tree
Cindy - Rocking Chair Fun
Jana - The Yule Tide
Polly - Picking On Nick
Anne - The Outback Christmas Hop
Jenifer - Splashing Through The Ocean
Corine - Saint Nikolaos Of Myra
Tracie #3 - Santa's Jeep
Rebecca - Chicken Trouble
Melissa - Santa's Stain
Julie B - The Little Burnt Latke
Kris - The Incident
Debbie #2 - What Happened When I First Sat Down To Write This Story
Debbie #1 - Christmas Eve Emergency
Kim - Henrik The Tall Reindeer
Sam - Unsilent Night
Joni - Happy Festival Of Lights
Kirsten - Mel The Marshmallow's Cocoa Catastrophe
Mary - The Santa Coin
Sara - Dancing Around The Christmas Tree
Valerie - Santa Doesn't Make Mistakes
Sheila - Clucking Christmas
Maureen - Pajama Party Predicament
Kristen - Sweet Dreams For Santa
Cindy - Jugglin' High For Pumpkin Pie
Jen B - Ned's Christmas Wish
Summer - The Best Christmas
Jessie - A Christmas Without Books
Suzy - City Critter Christmas
Gayla - A Rockin' Heavenly Christmas
Sandy - Red Berries In The Snow
Kelly - The Ice Queen's Pond
Shelley - A Yawn Bird Christmas
Bonnie - Christmas Eve At The Grand Old House
Patricia - The After-Christmas Elf Party
Nancy - Bethlehem Road
Ken - Waiting To See Santa

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