Category Archives: Writing Contests

#50PreciousWords Writing Challenge

I can’t resist entering the #50PreciousWords Writing Challenge over at Vivian Kirkfield’s blog. In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday this past March 2nd, Vivian challenged herself, and us, to the following:


  1. Write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, using only 50 words…they can all be different words, or you can use some of them over and over…just as long as the total word count of the story is 50 or less.
  2. It can be prose, rhyme, free verse, silly or serious…whatever works for you.
  3. Title is not included in the word count.

If Dr. Seuss could do it, why not try? Sounds simple, right? Not so fast…to write a complete story, ie, beginning, middle & end, in a mere 50 words is no mean feat. But some awesome writers have taken up the challenge – check out all of the entries on Vivian’s blog.

Now, to my humble entry. As we stare down another Nor’easter, I personally am thinking I’d rather do battle with another force of nature, in warmer climes. Enjoy! And stay safe & warm everyone!


Battle at the Beach

(47 words)

Shovel! Scoop! Pile it high.

Whoosh! A wave –

say good-bye.

Scoop! Shovel! Pile again.

Swoosh! New wave –

all gone then.

Shovel! Scoop! Pile third time.

Shush! No waves –

all is fine…


We scoop and shovel,

Ocean erases;

Smooshing our castles,

leaving no traces.


Journey to Rutabaga Rock – a Journey in 48 Precious Words

In honor of THE Dr. Seuss, the incomparable Vivian Kirkfield is hosting the second annual 50 Precious Words contest on her blog. Hurry on over to read some short-&-very-sweet stories!

In Vivian’s words:

March 2nd is the birthday of the incredible Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Last year I put together a little contest based on Bennet Cerf’s challenge to Seuss to write a children’s book using only 50 words. And the classic Green Eggs and Ham was born. It’s true that the story has over 700 words…but only 50 unique words.

I thought it would be fun to try to write a story for kids with ONLY 50 words. With a beginning, a middle, and an end. I wondered if I could do it. And then I opened the challenge to everyone. Much to my surprise and amazement, there were 128 entries! A year has passed…and it’s time to DO IT AGAIN.

My 50-word story began as a rewrite of a purposely bland journey sentence for a lyrical language exercise. When I thought of journeys, I thought about one of my happy places, St. John, USVI, and a favorite hike we’ve done there, to Ram Head, part of the Virgin Islands National Park.

img_8155(spoiler alert: this is Francis Bay on the north shore of St John; Ram Head is on the south shore –
I couldn’t find any good photos in my library…)


Now, while Ram Head is a beautiful hike, the name wasn’t quite lyrical enough for the assignment. I took some writer’s license and thought first of Rooster Hill, but it didn’t quite roll off my tongue.


(a favorite blue cobble beach on the Ram Head trail)


Then inspiration erupted and the name rose from my mind like lava turning to stone: Rutabaga Rock was born – an island in my brain.


(Bubbly Pool with outcropping lava rock, Jost van Dyke, British Virgin Islands)


When I realized that we were no longer hiking but sailing to reach our destination, a certain theme song replayed in my mind with rough weather and a tiny ship tossed and lost.


(traffic jam @ White Bay Beach, Jost van Dyke, BVI, on a not-stormy day)


I completed the sentence rewrite, vowing to revisit the journey to Rutabaga Rock one day.

Voila! That day is here.  May I present a sentence-turned-poem:

Journey to Rutabaga Rock – a Voyage in 48 Precious Words

Picnics packed; dingy leaves dock –

Kids depart for Rutabaga Rock.

Winds whip waves, lashing at sail;

Kids’ knees knock as rains transform to gale.

Seas subside; sun shines at last.

Kids debarking – thankful journey’s past.

Picnics soaked! Salty, slimy feasts!

Kids contented – GOATS aren’t picky beasts.

Fifty Precious Words: The Best Nest

My friend, Vivian Kirkfield is welcoming spring and celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday with a new contest, Fifty Precious Words: Write a story in 50 words or less for kids ages 12 or under. It can be prose, rhyme, free verse, silly or serious, and the title doesn’t count toward the word count (Whew!). You can find the contest details here at Vivian’s blog, as well as other entries listed in the comments.

“Quite the challenge,” thought I! So I decided to kick it up a notch. Vivian’s contest happens to coincide with ReFoReMo (Reading for Research Month, for those “not in the know”), where I discovered some all-dialogue mentor texts. Now, those who have read my scribblings know that I am not one to dispense with the setting, background, and anything else I can throw in to “set the stage.” But ReFoReMo is all about reading new types of stories and thinking about how we can adopt techniques to strengthen and grow as writers. So, what better time to try an all-dialogue story! Without further ado, my springy entry follows:

The Best Nest

A prize!

For the best nest!

I’ll try.

Me, too.

Perfect spot.

wad of wool.

Perfect spot.

dab of grass.

Two judges.

Dashing duo.

Tweeting about my nest.

Singing about mine.

Ruby Robin chooses my nest.

Sheila Swallow picks mine.


Best Nests!imgresimgres