Picturesque Contest

Today ends the final Prompted Contest of 2021!

I’d normally do a contest in December, but I’ve decided to take a break for the holidays this year. I really do need a break. New cat mom here!

This contest was a little different. Instead of using word prompts written by Lydia Jane like I have for the past year, I decided to ask my lovely artist friend Meaghan Ward if she could create picture prompts. She certainly delivered. And she also did me the honor of being my co-judge for this contest! Her art account is @meaghan.draws if you’re interested in seeing more of her work.

I won’t type out the rules here, but you can check out this post for more information.

Here are the posts with all the entries:

But now, the moment you’ve been waiting for… here are the winners!

Prompt 1

A woman on a horse and a man riding away from a burning castle at sunset. Artwork by Meaghan Ward.

They’d had hopes of a new life here, I’d heard their whispers by the campfire. But as he lifted his sisters onto the saddle, her tears fell on my mane.

“I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean…” Her voice was thick with grief, and she knit her fingers into my hair. She’d said these words before.

The boy broke the uneasy silence. “We need to understand your…”

“Say it. Curse.” Her grief had taken on a bitter edge.

“It could be a gift,” he offered.

She shook her head, refusing his comfort. “‘Tis a sorry gift that only takes, robbing us of everything.”

The boy released my line and, gently untangling her grip, took her hand. “We still have each other.”

And you have me, my bairns, I would have added, had I been granted speech. But it was grace enough to be entrusted with their care. I was no fairy, but I could lighten their load.

In the distance, the city was still engulfed in flames.

The boy started walking again, looking ahead as they continued on their journey. “How did it start, this time?”

“Our room,” she said. “It was so cold. I just wished it could be warmer.”

~ Sophia Hansen

Meaghan and I loved how Sophia Hansen (@fiadawordster) wrote from the perspective of the horse! The Scottish lilt and the POV really made this one shine. Plus, the end gives me chills.

Prompt 2

A well-dressed man holding out his hand to a well-dressed woman in a wheelchair; in the water, a reflection of the two of them dancing. Artwork by Meaghan Ward.

I danced for one night.

The ringmaster, my step-family, even my cat doesn’t know, but once a year, my gift benefits more than customers. Once a year, I can make a wish of my own.

Unfortunately, it only lasts for one day, so I danced the street markets, I danced the taverns, and near the end of the day, I found myself dancing with the prince.

I lost a shoe in my exit, but couldn’t stop. I barely made it to my wheeled chair before my legs gave out, and everyone averted their gaze, not wanting to be caught staring.

I hold onto those dances today as I see the patrons. They’re numerous, making wishes, draining my energy. I don’t stand in my work, so they don’t know my secret.

Then, I look up, and it’s him sitting across from me. He’s holding my shoe, and all I can do is gape.

“It’s worn on the inside, but the outside is new,” he says, lifting my shoe. “That’s how I knew you had to be…”

He hesitates, and I think he’s pitying me. But my gaze falls behind him, against the wall, and I see… crutches.

“…like me.”

~ Carrie-Anne Thomas

Carrie-Anne Thomas (@carrie_anne.thomas)’s Cinderella spin on this prompt was so breathtaking. We loved how she was free from her chair for a night, how the prince found her because of the wear (or lack thereof) on her shoes (which makes way more sense than the original, in my opinion), and how the prince also had a disability. So beautifully diverse.

Prompt 3

Sunlight filtering into a cave, shining on a single blue rose. Artwork by Meaghan Ward.

Sunbeam had never seen such a creature before. She slipped through the hole in the rocks, floating toward the thin, fragile thing below. It boasted blue rays around an inner sun, attached to a green cord that vanished into the cracks of the stone.

She glanced back the way she’d come. Nothing but desert.

Sunbeam sighed. It didn’t seem fair that she should be the Sun’s daughter assigned to oversee this region. Her older brothers and sisters got to enjoy brilliant sights and enjoy humans receiving their warmth.

And her? She stared at sand all day.

Except, now, somehow, in this barren cave… *this.*

This was beyond her limited understanding.

She marvelled again at the colour, a brighter blue even than the sprawling desert sky. Such a small creature, yet it bloomed just like the hardened cacti.

She dared hover closer, brushing its rays with her own.

So soft.

The little creature seemed to straighten as she touched it, its rays spreading out. It tilted its body toward her, as if soaking in every stray strand of heat.

Sunbeam suddenly understood how her siblings felt. Whatever *this* was… it was a marvellous thing to be a part of.

~ Beka Gremikova

Beka Gremikova (@beka.gremikova) wrote such a cute, wholesome little story. It completely melted our hearts. We love precious Sunbeam.

The Future of Prompted Contests

This is the first Picturesque contest, but it certainly won’t be the last! I have at least one more artist lined up, and Meaghan has agreed to do this again, though I’m not sure if it’ll be next year or 2023. (Artists and their busy lives! So many things to create!) And there will of course be many more word prompts (most of which will probably be written by the amazing Lydia Jane).

Next year, I’ll be making some changes to the schedule of the Prompted Contests. I’ll make a more detailed post, but I’m changing it from every other month to quarterly. It’ll be much more manageable.

Please let me know if you have any other suggestions! I love to hear them.

Thanks for an amazing last contest of the year, friends. You guys make everything worth it.

2 thoughts on “Picturesque Contest

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