Autumn-Themed Prompt Contest

Are you excited about autumn? I am! Leaves changing colors, hoodie and sweater weather, hot coffee time…

That’s why I chose the theme of AUTUMN for October’s Prompted Contest! My judge and I tried to cover all the many charms of autumn with our prompts, focusing on nature’s beauty, Halloween, and pumpkin spice coffee.

Lydia Jane not only was an amazing, supportive judge, but she also came up with the prompts! (I created the graphics.) I may have to ask her to create more prompts in the future because she did an amazing job with these ones!

Here are the full posts with all the entries.

Read on to see the winners!

Prompt 1

Prompt created by Lydia Jane.

On frostbitten tiptoe I drank in the pale grays, oranges, reds and purples, blending together harvest fields and sky. Of every piece of my punishment, this one feels the cruelest.

Banishment. For what, for loving her? They claim it wasn’t that; they made up some story about “standards of behavior,” but I knew.

I wonder what they told her.

It’s the hardest part of being down here. Not the way that gravity hangs like a heavy cloak from my shoulders, not the pain where my wings were dashed against the cliffsides in my landing, not the aching of muscles that’ve never had much use before this orchard–no.

It’s knowing that she is up there, burning a corner of the sunset sky into being every night with colors I will never hear her sing again.

It was not the banishment that was the cruelest; it was that they banished me alone.

~ SJ Blasko

SJ Blasko (@thesongsofsparrow) broke our hearts with her gorgeous mini-story. The writing is absolutely lovely, with imagery that sears into your mind and a last sentence that pulverizes your heart. Plus, I want to know more about this world where colors are sung into existence.

Prompt 2

Prompt created by Lydia Jane.

Marcus sank his fangs into the blood orange. Juice flooded his mouth, sweet with a hint of raspberry. A taste of Heaven.

A knock on the door interrupted his feast. Laying the fruit aside, he said to Alexandria, “Again! Was my public announcement not clear? ‘There are three rules to trick or treating in Possum Run: don’t be rude, don’t be greedy, and never EVER knock on 1313 Primrose Drive!’”

His wife smiled. “I told you, pumpkin, we’re not in the Middle Ages any more. Telling kids to stay away is really an invitation.”

He sighed, snatched a bag of candy, and shuffled to the door. “I hate Halloween.” What a pain it was preparing for possible visitors. He had to hide the gargoyles, lecture the ghoul on behaving like a living butler, and raise the thermostat by a hundred degrees.

A wannabe ghost waited on his porch. Finally free to bare his fangs, Marcus grinned.

“Mister Mayor!” squeaked the little ghost, “I LOVE your robe and teeth!”

His heart defrosted. Maybe Halloween wasn’t so bad.

~ Michael Erasmus

Michael Erasmus (@michael.c_erasmus) always writes amazing stories, but this one really got Lydia and me. Playing with horror tropes and showing how children always do what you tell them not to, this story made us laugh. Also, it reminds me of Hotel Transylvania, a movie I really love (hate on me if you want to).

Prompt 3

Prompt created by Lydia Jane.

This horrible day has been brought to you by pumpkin spice. Which is a liar. It’s not made of pumpkin. It’s all cinnamon and stuff.

It’s supposed to taste like pie, fall leaves, and other nonsense. This according to Bailey, who pounds it in coffee and little cakes her grandma makes.

Cakes that are the only thing in her bag now we’re lost in the woods with Gabe. Who is also a liar. He doesn’t know a secret path to the coffee shop—apparently he doesn’t know any paths.

I didn’t even want pumpkin spice coffee. Now I’m going to die in the woods eating liar cake.

I’m the one with a phone, but the battery died in 6th period. We’re goners.

“A house!” Gabe says.

No, a cottage. Firelight flickering in the window. The scent of pumpkin spice, candy, cookies…and wood-burning stove.

I know this story. How it ends.

Bailey’s already opened the gate, hunting that next hit of pumpkin spice.

~ Sarah Stasik

Sarah Stasik (@sarahstasik_author) wowed Lydia and I with her pumpkin spice retelling of Hansel and Gretel. Completely unexpected, eerie, and perhaps a bit too realistic, her story was too unique to pass up.

By the way, some of you may know that on the fifteenth, the Warriors Against the Storm anthology comes out! Well, both Sarah and I have stories included in the anthology! (Preorders are open.) I can’t wait to read her story.

Happy Autumn!

Thanks to everyone who participated, and a huge thanks to Lydia Jane for helping me judge!

Because of the contest, I went on a bit of a pumpkin spice quest. Here are three pictures documenting my quest: pumpkin cream cold brew, pumpkin spice cream cheese on a bagel, and salted caramel pumpkin spice frozen custard.

I’m actually not crazy about pumpkin spice, but it was fun to try some for the contest. I still hold to my opinion that pumpkin spice is not all that great, but feel free to enjoy it. I’m not stopping you. 😉

The next Prompted contest will be in December! I’ve already chosen my co-judge, but the theme is yet to be decided.

I hope you have a wonderful October. If you drink some pumpkin spice coffee, think of me. 😉

2 thoughts on “Autumn-Themed Prompt Contest

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