Summer-Themed Prompt Contest

Summer has so much to love. It’s a time of swimming and sunlight and fresh air; school is out, and worries are few. But it can also be miserable. This past week, where I live, to step outside was to boil.

So I thought I’d choose prompts that capture the magic of summer–and also the heat. Thanks, Lydia Jane, for crafting prompts that encompassed all of summer.

Laura E. and I had such a fun time reading through everyone’s entries. If you’re interested in reading them all, here are the prompt posts:

But I know what the main question is–who were the winners? Read on and you’ll find out.

Prompt 1

Prompt made by Lydia Jane.

Prompt: If I’d known this would be our last summer, I would’ve done things differently.

If I had known this would be our last summer, I would’ve done things differently.

Like not falling in love.

“You’re awfully quiet.” Liam leaned over the table and licked my strawberry ice cream. It seemed fitting. I’d eaten strawberry ice cream when we met; might as well eat it on our last day. “What’s going on in that red head of yours?”

Seagulls squawked above us. “I’m thinking I may have to kill you.”

Liam smirked. “What for?”

“Ice cream theft. It’s a major crime.”

He guided my cone to his mouth. “I’d love to see you try.”

I raised my eyebrows. “You may just get your wish.”

Because I knew who he was: Ezekiel Cromwell, teenage American spy.

And he didn’t know who I was: Katarina Romanov, teenage Russian spy.

Nor did he know I had a gun pointed at his gut.

I recaptured his cone, but before I could, he captured my sticky lips with his.

Drat. I needed to kill him, not kiss him.

“Put a bullet in his gut or I’ll put one in yours.” My boss’s words echoed in my head as I deepened the kiss… and pulled the trigger.

~ Hannah Carter

Hannah Carter (@introvertedmermaid3) crafted such a unique tale of spies and intrigue blended with the joys and sorrows of young summer romance. I need Ezekiel/Liam to be okay. I’m choosing to believe that he survived…

Prompt 2

Prompt made by Lydia Jane.

Prompt: The heat hung thick, just begging for someone to do something stupid.

Day 15.

Darwin’s dimples, it’s real!

We exited the cave system this evening. The sight that greeted us was wilder than the legends that led us here. The Golden River is as they described–a mind-boggling phenomena in itself–but the trees flanking it! Our jaws hung like monkeys from branches as we beheld the trees tall as mountains.

Glowing cracks run like veins along iron bark. The leaves shine bright red like perpetual fire. The professor theorizes that the roots draw from deep wells of magma to feed the trees. A ridiculous notion, but it would explain the heat.

The heat!

We’ve yet to set foot in the forest, and already the heat stifles not just the air but our minds. Like travelers led astray by desert mirages, so I find my companions pointing out objects that aren’t there. Ridiculous hallucinations.

James seems to be hearing voices telling him jokes. He cackles and watches the distant river like a madman. Kelly is overcome by a sudden obsession to reach and climb the trees.

The heat not only hangs thick in the air, it begs for someone to do something stupid. I fear one of us may soon succumb.

~ Dr. S. Linn

~ Michael Erasmus

Michael Erasmus (@michael.c_erasmus) always blows me away with his entries, but there’s something about this one. I think it’s the magma-fed trees. It makes me want to write a story incorporating that sort of setting. Plus, I love the format of a scientific journal entry–I think it works really well for the prompt. The hints of madness in the crew make you walk away feeling unsettled. And of course, “Darwin’s dimples!” makes it even better.

Prompt 3

Prompt made by Lydia Jane.

Prompt: A bottle bobbed in the water, just out of reach, with a piece of paper tucked inside.

Turns out, a pretty prom dress and majestic updo do not a princess make. 

She threw her heels into the waves just below the rock she was perched on. Good riddance. Sighing, she pulled the pins out of her hair, each one meeting the same fate as her heels.

This was for James, whose eyes slid past her; this was for Peter, who would rather drink punch than dance; this was for Matt, who ground her little hopes into dust.

The breeze swept back her bangs, cooling her forehead. Behind her, the dim sounds of the prom seemed so out of place here with the sea and the stars.

A small splash caught her attention. A bottle bobbed in the water, just out of reach, a small slip of paper tucked inside.

She hesitated for a moment, staring down at her dress. Then she shrugged. It wasn’t like she was going to wear it again anyway.

The water came up to her knees before she caught the glass bottle. Without bothering to go back to the rock, she wrenched it open.

Wait, what if this wasn’t hers to open?

She looked around the scene. No one appeared; they were all busy enjoying their prom. Well, first come, first serve.

She fished the paper out of the bottle and read it with the faint glare of the prom lights. “‘I think you’re beautiful.'”

She snorted. “Right.” She definitely picked up someone else’s bottle.

A faint sparkle came from the paper, and the words changed. “‘Don’t laugh, you are, and if I had been at prom, I would have asked for every dance.'”

Tears threatened to fall. She looked up into the starlit sea and whispered, “Thank you.”

~ Shaina Merrick

Shaina Merrick (@shainamerrickwriter), judge of my April Prompted Contest, wrote an adorable, relatable story for our final prompt. I loved how she threaded the frustrations of prom with a hint of magic–who is this mysterious admirer? (She has noted our demands for a continuation story. It is unclear whether she will act on said demands.)

Summer Plans

This summer, I’ll be attending Realm Makers, the amazing writing conference for Christian speculative fiction writers, in July. I can’t describe how excited I am to see the sisters of my heart, like our winner Shaina, for the first time in two years. I won’t be pitching anything at the conference, but I’m excited to learn more about the craft I love.

What are your summer plans?

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