The June Prompted contest is now over!
I can’t believe it’s almost the end of June. Where did this year go? With the pandemic and all the other insanity that’s been happening, the days have been flying past.
Anyway, thanks to everyone who participated in the contest. You all inspire me. And a huge thanks to my judge, Leah Nicole Drewitt. You are amazing.
Here are the contest posts:
Not only am I announcing the winners, but I’m also sharing my own interpretations of the prompts (by popular demand)! I suppose since my amazing participants have been so diligent and creative with my 150 word limit, it’s only fair that I inflict that word count on myself.
“Look how pretty!” The tiny fairy gazed into the large expanse of the room, twinkling lights reflecting in her giant, wonder-filled eyes.
She let the small child gaze for a few minutes before beckoning her close.
“Hurry, dear, it’s time to go.” Her long, graceful fingers waved, bidding the small one to come close, her wings quivering in barely controlled excitement.
She was tasked with teaching the young fairy how to travel from world to world through the pages of a book. Humans read books to escape their own world and imagine that they were in another, but fairies were capable of doing what those poor humans only dreamed of. She scanned the letters on the page in front of her and smiled broadly; soon they would be helping her favorite troupe of mice turn their beloved friend into a princess.
Joining hands, they jumped into the page’s inky depths.~ Kay LaFevre
Kay LaFevre (@inklingsandpeonies) wrote a fascinating story about fairies who can do what we humans only dream of. How I wish that I could escape into a book! (Not all books, of course. There are some worlds I would rather not visit.) It’s such an interesting concept, and the last line was amazing!
Now for my interpretation of the prompt!
“No.” Screwing her eyes shut, Gretel shook her head. “I don’t wanna leave.”
I perched on the open Book, ready to forever leave this candlelit room behind. But I wasn’t leaving without my daughter.
“I know you’re afraid. But look.” I tapped the intricate letters in the old fae language. “Nothing to be scared of.”
Opening her eyes, she frowned.
“This is where we come from.” I pointed at her wings. “Don’t you want to be around other fae?”
I sighed. “Remember what I told you about the Book?”
“We go inside and never come back.”
“We can come back. You just may not want to.” I certainly didn’t want to.
Her lip quivered.
“Do you trust me, sweet?”
“Of course, Mama.”
I extended a hand. Gretel’s honey-brown eyes flitted back and forth. Then she took my hand and gave me a gap-toothed smile.
We descended into the Book.~ Cassandra Hamm
Read on for more of Gretel’s story! (I used Gretel and her mom in all three interpretations of the prompts!) Of course, also read on for the other Prompted contest winners!
“Look, I don’t know what happened to your rooster,” he said, “but if you mean to implicate me, I assure you your suspicions are entirely unfounded.”
I gaped. I was only three—no expert of law by any stretch of the imagination—but the very fact that a pointy-toothed dragon sat on the fence post where our rooster usually perched, looked like probable cause to me.
Smoke streamed from the dragon’s nostrils. “Fine. Disbelieve me if you want. I only beg you, don’t tell the farmer.”
If Father suspected this dragon of eating his favorite rooster, he’d wring the scrawny beast’s neck. But I could keep him from finding out, if I wanted to…
Opportunity couldn’t have knocked louder. “If I keep your secret, what’ll you give me?”
The dragon huffed, puffed, and glared. “Three wishes.”
I grinned. “Done.”~ Hannah Robinson
Hannah Robinson (@hannahrobinsonauthor) made both Leah and I laugh so much that there was no question as to who the winner of the second prompt would be. The first line is fantastic, and I loved the bargaining three-year-old and the formal dragon.
She won the first prompt of my very first contest a year ago (back when I limited the entries to 50 words. Aren’t you glad I lengthened the word limits?). It’s so nice to have her participating again! She’s also the author of “The Art of Taming a Dragon,” the top story for Havok’s third season (as of now; my story, “Secret Agent Lampshade” is close behind). If you have a Havok membership, go read her story! If not, the Havok site should open on a nearby weekend to the public so everyone can support their favorite stories (afterward, Havok will choose their anthology stories). She is an awesome writer and deserves the Readers’ Choice award.
Now for my interpretation of the prompt. Guess what? Gretel is back!
“Dino!” Gretel shrieked.
Laughing, I surveyed the tiny winged creature on the broken-down fence. “No, Gretel, that’s a dragon. See his wings?”
“Like me.” She fluttered her flimsy fae wings.
“Yes, like you.” I gazed at the emerald-scaled dragon. “This one’s a baby too.”
She frowned. “I’m not a baby!”
“Sorry.” I poked Gretel’s nose. “But you’re both little, see? He won’t hurt you.”
After a moment’s consideration, she leaned forward. “What’s your name?” Seconds passed. “It’s Faelan,” she informed me.
“Oh, really?” I smiled.
“He said we can be friends.”
“That’s great, sweetie.”
“He said I can be his dragon rider.”
I blinked. “Wait––”
Gretel through her arms around Faelan’s neck. He let out a purr and closed his amber eyes.
I stared, open-mouthed. Then a smile curved my lips. “See, Gretel? Coming into the Book was a good decision after all.”
She hugged her new dragon. “Dino!”~ Cassandra Hamm
There is one more bit to Gretel’s story based on the next prompt! Read on for that––and for the winner of prompt 3!
Sometimes I like to pretend I’m a human child. I’ll run around with them on Halloween night, dressed like the dryad I am, and pretend the invisibility of the forest people is because I’m mortal, not because I’m outcast. I pretend there wasn’t a plague blamed on the Healer, and by extension, her apprentice. Sometimes I even pretend the forest isn’t dying.
A girl dressed in a ghost sheet jostles me from behind. “Move! A shortcut’s no good if we go slow.”
But I can’t move. I see something that leaves me breathless—an acorn, sitting square in a beam of sunlight, tied round with a blue ribbon.
It’s a baby announcement.
The first sapling since the plague started.
And someone left it there for me to see. Someone who thinks I shouldn’t be cut off from my roots.
Maybe there’s no need to pretend.~ Carrie-Anne Thomas
You may recognize Carrie-Anne Thomas (@carrie_anne.thomas)’s name. She has won multiple times in previous contests, and for good reason. Leah and I chose her story not only because of the gorgeous writing but also because of the uniqueness of the story. The forest plague, the Halloween setting, the acorn baby announcement (which I especially loved), the potential reconciliation. This certainly is a writer to watch out for!
Now for the final bit of the Gretel story, based on the third prompt! I decided to create a sort of continuous narrative using the same characters and situation since I thought the pictures worked well together. It was more difficult than I thought it would be, but the challenge was nice. I admire the participants who have been using multiple prompts for the same storyline! You know who you are.
I shouldn’t have turned my back on Gretel for a single moment. Sure, she had spent almost all her ten years in the beautiful Book world, but there were dangers too.
I plowed through the forest, trampling leaves and calling her name. My baby could be kidnapped, or worse, eaten––
I stopped abruptly. She was bent over a mossy tree stump, gazing at an acorn wrapped with blue ribbon. Beside her was a fawn, long-legged and downy-soft. “Gretel!” I cried.
She whipped around. A witch’s hat perched on her head.
“Where have you been?” I folded my arms over my chest.
She pointed at the acorn. “I was helping Ara find a gift for her sister’s age-day!”
The fawn nuzzled Gretel’s hand.
My heart softened. I tilted her hat upward so I could see her face, young yet somehow wiser than me. “My girl of the woods,” I murmured.~ Cassandra Hamm
Thus ends Gretel’s story! I hope you enjoyed it.
I’m Taking a Break
As you might imagine, Prompted contests are a bit exhausting. There’s a lot of preparation work, a lot of work during the contest, a lot of work choosing winners, a lot of work writing posts… I need a break.
So, I will go back to having contests every other month. Because of that, the next contest will be in August. I’ll announce more details on my email list and on my Instagram and Facebook, so watch out for that!
Also, it’s been a year since I had my first contest. Isn’t that crazy? The blog launched a year ago! It’s been such an amazing, rewarding experience, albeit exhausting at times.
I hope you enjoyed yet another Prompted contest, friends!