Posted in Contest, Craft, Inspiration, The Nitty Gritty of Children's Writing

Springflingkidlit 2023

It’s a contest–read about it here for spring-inspired stories under 150 words! The organizers are author Ciara O’Neal and agent Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez. There are prizes to be won and a short window to submit: April 1st thru 3rd. And it’s free to enter.

This year I thought it might be fun to participate. It’s one way to get my writing out there. So the image above is a gif* that is required to go with the story.

I’m not comfortable pasting my whole story here, but will paste the opening:

A Squirrel Did It

“Noah, did you leave the bamboo gate open?” Mama asked.
“I think a squirrel did it.”
“Noah, did you dig a hole in the gravel path?” Mama asked.
“No, a squirrel did it.”
“Noah, did you put leaves in the fountain?” Mama asked.
“I bet a squirrel did it.”

The story in total is 107 words. (For the contest entry, the judges will get to see the whole story.)

Why do we want to write short? There’s always room for shorter stories, whether in magazines or in picture books. I like what the Arapahoe Library says on their “Children’s Books with Few Words” page: “Your child can feel successful when reading these books that have very few words.” The page has links to staff chosen books.

But it’s not just for those learning to read. Parents often like a few short choices. Some kids have short attention spans. But also sometimes “less is more”–fewer words can have a stronger and lasting impact.

Short can be moving, hilarious, quiet, and more.

Here are some short picture books I love:

Caring for Your Lion by Tammi Sauer (261 words)
From Here to There by Sue Fliess (287 words)
Ghost Cat by Kevan Atteberry (200 words)
The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld (296)
When Pencil Met the Markers by Karen Kilpatrick (223 words)

(You can find the word count of many books at Accelerated Reader Bookfinder.)

So, I challenge you to try writing short. You might like it.

*Gif found at gifer.com

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