#SSC 11/ May 21- 28th


For a limited run of six weeks only, the challenge you love is back.


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It starts with a writing prompt issued every Sunday. The responses need only be short and sweet. Or short and scary. Or, short and funny. The point is, the challenge will always require short replies on purpose . . . so YOU have no excuses. Many of the prompts will limit submissions to a simple paragraph. Some, to ONE SENTENCE.

The challenge is meant for writers at every stage–newbies and old hats alike. Writing can be a solitary endeavor; this challenge is specifically designed to lure writers out of their comfort zone for figurative a drink by the water cooler. Participants are encouraged to COMMENT and VOTE on each other’s submissions.


The prize?


Each week a challenge winner will be invited to write a GUEST POST on Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins with LINKS to their own work.


network-2155198_960_720THIS WEEK’S prompt is inspired by last night’s triple birthday celebration with my niece and stepdaughters.

Charlottetown is largely a tourist destination in summer. That means many restaurants in the city are only open from April to October. Last night we went to one of our favorite spots, having recently re-opened after the winter hiatus. My niece ordered a fishbowl, a massive drink with gummy worms swimming along the bottom. Stepdaughter #1 ordered a murky concoction similar to a Mexican Bulldog. Stepdaughter #2 shared a pitcher of Sangria with yours truly. And, in standard form, my husband ordered a beer.

After my niece excused herself to use the washroom we noticed the table was unsteady. She had been leaning on the corner, holding the top in place. Likely, the table had been put together haphazardly after its stint in storage, so I felt around for some screws to tighten underneath.

I didn’t find any screws.

But I did get a giant fistful of spider webs.

And yes, I am an arachnophobe.


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Luckily we had only planned to stay at the restaurant for one drink before moving on. I couldn’t get comfortable after that. Visions of what had become of the building after business had closed for winter ran amok in my mind. Had the interior been completely overrun by spiders? Were they in the floorboards? Were they nesting inside the table legs, waiting to crawl up my pants and into my nose to lay tiny baby spider eggs inside my brain the VERY MOMENT I STOPPED PAYING ATTENTION?

And yes, I am aware these thoughts are slightly outrageous. But, I can’t stop myself from having them. As I said: arachnophobe.


If you’re waiting on bated breath to find out how the story ended, we successfully moved on to another restaurant. As far as I know, none of us have tiny spider babies developing in our brains. It doesn’t really matter though, because as I write this, I’ve convinced myself I can feel them crawling in my hair.


So what does this mean in context to your prompt?


The 11th Sunday Scribble Challenge is all about:

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Your character is trying unsuccessfully to HIDE their PHOBIA.

You have one paragraph to show it.

When the challenge closes on Saturday, May 28th, voters will be asked to select a winner based on the response that resonates best with them.


RULES:

  1. Participants have until Saturday, May 27th at noon, Eastern standard time to post ONE response to the prompt in the comment section of THIS POST.
  2. ENCOURAGE other scribblers. Try to comment (reply) to at least three other submissions during the week.
  3. After the Saturday deadline, players have a week to VOTE for their favorite submission by emailing: Sundayscribblechallenge@gmail.com. Place the lucky author’s name in the HEADER of your email.

And, as always:


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The responses to last week’s challenge were amazing! Thanks to everyone who participated. The Sunday Scribbles Challenge’s primary focus is helping authors forge connections in the writing community. So, if you decide to dive in to this week’s challenge, please remember to comment (reply) to at least three other entries before voting opens on Saturday, May 27.


 

#SSC 10/May 14-20th


For a limited run of six weeks only, the challenge you love is back!


fhfdhrsfd.pngIt starts with a writing prompt issued every Sunday. The responses need only be short and sweet. Or short and scary. Or, short and funny. The point is, the challenge will always require short replies on purpose . . . so YOU have no excuses. Many of the challenges will limit submissions to a simple paragraph. Some, to ONE SENTENCE.

The challenge is meant for writers at every stage–newbies and old hats alike. Writing can be a solitary endeavor; this challenge is specifically designed to lure writers out of their comfort zone for figurative a drink by the water cooler. Participants are encouraged to COMMENT and VOTE on each other’s submissions.

The prize?


Each week a challenge winner will be invited to write a GUEST POST on Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins with LINKS to their own work.


Last year on Mother’s Day, scribblers were challenged to Show a Mother’s Love. This year? We’re going to change things up.

Earlier this week I saw something I can’t get out of my mind. I was in the mall when I heard shouting. A woman was leading a man toward the exit screaming obscenities. At first, I assumed the man to be her husband. In between the open doors she stopped to yell, “You’re fucking useless. You can’t do anything right.” It was raining. The man stopped to place his coffee on the floor so he could zip his coat, and the woman yelled again and kicked it against the wall.

three-monkeys-1212616_960_720I am a person who doesn’t sit back and watch this kind of thing, for better or worse. My husband knows it all too well.

So, I marched to the exit to stare the woman down, who was likely twice my age. “What’s going on here?”

She stared right back, seething. She motioned to the man between the doors. “That’s my son!”

She said it as if it justified her tirade. She said it as if she expected me to sympathize with her. She said it as if I would understand how she could treat this human being how I wouldn’t treat a dog.

I asked him if he was all right. He was close to middle age, but he couldn’t meet my eye. And then, he apologized. To me. For her.

They left.

It was heartbreaking. It was one of those scenes you watch unfold only to replay twenty times over in your mind.  Since it happened, I thought of a million things I SHOULD have said. I couldn’t believe the man apologized to me.

ukycluycIt led me to think about the lasting impact a mother can have on the psyche of her child. It’s a mother’s job to love; to make her child grow up feeling confident, and prepare them for the world. But sometimes, a mother does the opposite. Sometimes, a mother can raise a child totally unequipped for life outside her door, who is eternally dependent, and who apologetically endures scenes like the one I just witnessed in between the double doors of a mall.

All the things I should have said aside, what does this encounter mean in context to your challenge?

Well, this week on the RETURN of the Sunday Scribble Challenge, your mission is to show:quotescover-JPG-47.jpg

Your response to the prompt can be as long or short as you like. Do what you have to do. Take any approach you like. Your response could be written in the form of a diary entry, a poem, a random snippet of conversation,  or a simple sentence. Pull some heartstrings. Raise some hair along the back of your reader’s neck. Voters will be asked to select a winner based on the response that resonates best with them.

Take your time. There are five days to ruminate . . .  IF you need them. If you’re stuck, try checking out some of the entries to last year’s challenge


RULES:

  1. Participants have until Saturday, May 20th at noon, Eastern standard time to post ONE response to the prompt in the comment section of THIS POST.
  2. ENCOURAGE other scribblers. Try to comment (reply) to at least three other submissions during the week.
  3. After the Saturday deadline, players have a week to VOTE for their favorite submission by emailing: Sundayscribblechallenge@gmail.com. Place the lucky author’s name in the HEADER of your email.

And, as always:


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Announcing the Return of the SUNDAY SCRIBBLE CHALLENGE!!


It’s been nearly a year since Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins hosted a Sunday Scribble Challenge. That, friends, is far too long. So, for a limited run of six weeks only, the challenge is back.


What is a Sunday Scribble Challenge?

fIt starts with a writing prompt issued every Sunday. The responses need only be short and sweet. Or short and scary. Or, short and funny. The point is, the challenge will always require short replies on purpose . . . so YOU have no excuses. Many of the challenges will limit submissions to a simple paragraph. Some, to ONE SENTENCE. The challenge is meant for writers at every stage–newbies and old hats alike.

It’s something fun to encourage creative juices to flow. But, more than that, it gives participants a chance to reach out to the writing community and interact with peers. Writing can be a solitary endeavor. This challenge is specifically designed to lure writers out of their comfort zone for figurative a drink by the water cooler. Participants are encouraged to COMMENT and VOTE on each other’s submissions.

The prize?


Each week, the challenge winner is invited to write a guest post on Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins with links to their own work!


RULES:

  1. The prompt will be posted every Sunday: beginning this week, on Sunday May 14th. 
  2. Participants have until the following Saturday, May 20th at noon, Eastern standard time to post ONE response to the prompt in the comment section of the post.
  3. Encourage other scribblers. Try to comment (reply) to at least three other submissions during the week.
  4. After the Saturday deadline, VOTE for your favorite submission by emailing: Sundayscribblechallenge@gmail.com. Place the lucky author’s name in the HEADER of your email.

This is a repeat endeavor for the blog, but even so, there may be some kinks in the matrix. Feel free to offer suggestions for the challenge in the comment section of THIS POST.

And, just like before:


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Congratulations, Jennifer!


The winner of the last Scribble Challenge of the season has been named! Jennifer Shelby ROCKED the challenge with an imaginative, downright creepy submission to the prompt,Your story is being told by an unreliable narrator. In less than fifty words, give your reader a clue he or she may not be telling the whole truth.”


Jennifer’s winning submission:

be45b193d1caa6824eae276c0ae9e17d“She’s lying,” I said.

The mob murmured and nodded, raising their torches. They set her aflame.

I drooled with desire for the intimate scent of her cooking flesh.

“How’d you know?” someone asked.

I shrugged, keeping my attention on the girl. They grow still just before they’re ready


Find Jennifer on Google+, Twitter, and her lovely blog, where she posts the most BEAUTIFUL pictures.


paintThank you for participating in the challenge, Jennifer! I am honored to invite you to write the FINAL guest blog of the season. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for our readers.

To all other faithful #SSC participants, keep your eye out for a great new interview with winner Elizabeth Burgess on Writers Off Task with Friends, coming to the channel SOON!


#SSC 9/ May22-28th


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amazing_large_crystal_chandelier_12_light_1_1024x1024.jpgBefore we get to our challenge prompt, it’s time to announce the week seven winner. That week was all about showing a mother’s love.

The results were VERY close. We were one away from a tie. A. R. Hadley almost stole it . . . but (for the second time this month) the renowned Elizabeth Burgess took the win! Elizabeth blogs here. She’s a regular contributor to the Scribble Challenge, AND the co-author of these great titles:


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Her submission:

Elizabeth“One more push, Lina. Just one more.” The nurses’ voice was optimistic and upbeat, encouraging Lina to dig deep for the strength to carry on. Unconsciously, she touched her belly. Soon, the only reminder she’d ever been pregnant would be the stretch marks lining her hips and breasts. Soon, she’d be a normal girl again, going to summer parties and looking for colleges to attend next year.
“That’s it, honey. You’re doing excellent,” her mother said, tears brimming in her eyes. She’d wanted to keep the baby. To try. But Lina said no. Something inside of her said this baby was special and needed more than a sixteen-year-old girl could provide. Lina knew the moment she saw the profile of the family she chose that they were the ones. The Osmonds. A middle-aged couple, both in their mid-forties. They were infertile, and though several adoptions had fallen through, they were trying one last time. Lina was determined for this one to stick.
A newborn’s cry filled the cold room, and Lina heard the doctor say, “It’s a girl, Lina.” He paused. “Do you want to hold her?”
“One second, please?” she pleaded. As the tiny bundle passed to her arms, she wept almost as loudly as the newborn. Lina didn’t want to let her go. This was her child. Her baby. Her daughter who so easily quieted in her mother’s arms. Selfishness said keep her, love said let her go. Lina kissed the little one’s cheeks and tousled a lock of her dark hair. The child would not remember this day, but Lina would. “I love you. I will always love you.” After one last look at her daughter, she said to the nurse nearby, “Take her to her parents.”


Elizabeth captured the adoption beautifully. The win was well deserved! Congratulations, Elizabeth. It’s my pleasure to invite you and/or your work to be featured AGAIN in an upcoming post on Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins. This can be done in whatever way you like: a reblog, a guest blog, or even a small sample of your latest book along with a purchasing link. You decide!


Now, lets get down to the NEXT challenge.Sometimes stories are relayed to readers through an UNRELIABLE NARRATOR. There are several reasons a narrator may be unreliable. The character may be lying, or intentionally holding back what really happened. Huckleberry Finn is an example of an unreliable narrator—as a boy who doesn’t understand the significance of the events he describes. Shutter Island is a masterfully written book which uses its unreliable narrator for a dastardly twist in the final pages.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

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The Rules: There are six days to ruminate if you need them. Post one submission to the prompt in the comment section below this post.

DO NOT EMAIL YOUR SUBMISSIONS.

DO REMEMBER TO VOTE.

  • The NEW deadline? Monday, May 30th @noon Atlantic Daylight Time.
    Encourage other Scribblers. TRY TO COMMENT (REPLY) TO AT LEAST THREE OTHER SCRIBBLERS DURING THE WEEK
  • After the deadline, VOTE for your favorite submission by emailing: Sundayscribblechallenge@gmail.com. Place the lucky author’s name in the HEADER of your email.

Remember:announced.jpg


These flash fiction challenges fuel creativity! They’re also a relatively painless pool for writers who’ve never posted their work to wet those feet, OR for established authors/bloggers to pick up a few new readers.

So, what are you waiting for? Unleash your writerly self.


Trolls will be escorted back to their bridge along with a flaming stick of dynamite.


 

#SSC 8/ May 16-22nd


Glass-Blown-ChandelierThe submissions to the 6th Sunday Scribble Challenge were some of my FAVORITE so far. If you haven’t already, go back through the comments and check out the great responses to the prompt. Many of the writers who participate in the challenges show remarkable talent, making it a pleasure to host the #SSC each week. So, thanks to EVERYONE who shows up to play with their game face on. You’re the reason these challenges are so fun.

But . . . there can only be ONE winner. Well, unless it’s a tie (like last week). THIS week *cue movie announcer voice* there was ONE.


The prompt for week 6-

Your character is dying. In a single line of dialogue, he or she has a final request that send loved one reeling. Write the dialogue and reaction.


And the winner: The mystery writer behind A Momma’s View

A Momma’s View is a lifestyle blog about homeschooling, being an expat, kids, and life in general. Although English is not her first language, her writing is crisp and witty. It’s easy to recommend checking the site out!

Here is A Momma’s View’s response to the week SIX challenge:


mommaHer heart felt heavy. It was too long. She had waited for too long to visit him again. He was only a shadow of himself. His eyes were still crystal blue, in a way they still seemed sharp. Everyone told her that he was “gone”, that his mind was somewhere deep inside of him, not able to be reached anymore. Dementia’s a bitch.
But somehow she didn’t believe them. Somehow she felt his presence. And she couldn’t understand that they wanted her to leave again only minutes after she arrived. She didn’t understand why her step-mom started talking to him whenever he tried to mumble something. She had to see him without the others around.
Now was the time. She had told the receptionist that she had left something in his room and was granted access. After all she was his daughter.
It was getting dark outside, her step-mom sure she was on her way back to the airport. His hands were cold, the color of his skin not the way it was supposed to be. They had told her he would not react anymore. And yet he was squeezing her hand and she thought that there was smile on his face.
Gently she caressed his forehead.
“I’m so sorry it took me so long to come see you. So sorry! So many things I would love you to know. Most importantly how much I love you!” Was it her or did he blink with his eyes while again smiling?
“Can you hear me?” Again he blinked.
“You can! Do you know who I am?” He blinked again!
“You can’t talk though?” He blinked again and the smile disappeared.
“I’m wish I could help you! I hate what this disease does to you!” She didn’t want to say it out loud, it just slipped out. He looked at her in a very weird way. Suddenly there was a thought coming up, almost like a dark realization.
“It’s not the disease! You are not as sick!” Again he blinked.
“Is it her?” He blinked again, his eyes wide open for a moment.
“Is she poisoning you?”
Just in that moment the door opened and the step-mom stood there.
“What are you doing here?”
She looked back at her dad, his eyes wide open, his hand cold and his soul gone forever.


Congratulations on the well deserved win, A Momma’s View! It’s my pleasure to invite you and/or your work to be featured in an upcoming post on Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins. This can be done in whatever way you like: a reblog, a guest blog, or even a small sample of your latest book along with a purchasing link. You decide!


With those formalities aside I bet you’re wondering what the NEXT challenge is:

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Sometimes, describing food as “delicious,” “good,” or “tasty,” is perfectly acceptable while writing. In these situations the author isn’t necessarily worried about their readers paying attention to the food at all. This is not that time. This challenge is all about description. Is the food salty? Reminiscent of the sea? Or, is it sweet, reminding your character of the fresh baked buns their grandmother used to bake in the days before food was scarce?

The Rules: There are six days to ruminate if you need them. Post one submission to the prompt in the comment section below this post. DO NOT EMAIL YOUR SUBMISSIONS.

  • The deadline? Saturday, May 20th @noon Atlantic Daylight Time.
    Encourage other Scribblers. TRY TO COMMENT (REPLY) TO AT LEAST THREE OTHER SCRIBBLERS DURING THE WEEK
  • After the deadline, VOTE for your favorite submission by emailing: Sundayscribblechallenge@gmail.com. Place the lucky author’s name in the HEADER of your email.

Remember:

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These flash fiction challenges fuel creativity! They’re also a relatively painless pool for writers who’ve never posted their work to wet those feet, OR for established authors/bloggers to pick up a few new readers.

So, what are you waiting for? Unleash your writerly self.


Trolls will be escorted back to their bridge along with a flaming stick of dynamite.


 

#SSC 7/ May 9-14th


Happy Scribble Challenge . . . MONDAY!

Without making anyone wait ANY longer, it’s time to announce the winner for the fifth Sunday Scribble Challenge and post a brand NEW prompt to pump up those writing muscles. The votes were close this week, and Jennifer Shelby ALMOST took the prize. But, by two votes, (drum roll please) Frank Parker grabbed the win.


The prompt that week? Write a six word story with a twist ending.

Frank’s winning entry: Six feet under; six hands waving.

Frank is the author of: Transgression, Strongbow’s Wife, Summer Day, and Honest Hearts.

YOU can check out more of his stuff at his author site, here. Congratulations on the well deserved win, Frank! It’s my pleasure to invite you and/or your work to be featured in an upcoming post on Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins. This can be done in whatever way you like: a reblog, a guest blog, or even a small sample of your latest book along with a purchasing link. You decide!


Now, this week’s Scribble Challenge is all about showing. One of the first bits of advice new writers often receive is “show, don’t tell.” In truth, both showing and telling have their advantages. The best story tellers understand the value of each method in different situations and weave their stories accordingly.

This week’s challenge fell on the day after Mothers Day. I am particularly lucky because I happen to have one of the best mommacitas in the world226630_10150602586000105_2515096_nShe’s funny and friendly, and she does whatever she can to make the world a little brighter for the people lucky enough to know her.

This is one of my favorite pictures of my mom (taken by my very talented sister, who also happens to be the owner of the Calgary based company, Photolicious Photography). It was taken almost five years ago. Mom had planned to arrive in Calgary from Winnipeg in time to be present for my youngest hellion’s birth, but, as troublemakers sometimes do, he came early. When I called her from the hospital to tell her she missed the “fun,” (her word, NOT mine) she cried. I cried. We all cried. Now, I can tell you how much I love my mom. I can tell you she loves my kids. In this situation, it might be better to show you the scene when she finally met her fifth grandchild:


She set her suitcase beside the door, a wide smile across her face. The boys ran down in an eruption of feet thudding on stairs and squeals across the kitchen, waking the baby in my arms. He began to cry again, just as he’d been crying all night: the quiet, raspy wail of a somewhat colicky newborn, my unyielding alarm of the previous fifty-two hours. She hugged the boys and took the baby from me, telling me about her flight while swaying back and forth, bestowing my new son with the big soft cuddles that only the very best of grandmas can.

Miraculously, he settled. She rubbed his back. She smoothed his little tufts of soft baby hair. And, in a moment I’ll never forget, he leaned back to look her in her the eye as if he knew already how special she was, as if he could feel her love emanating into the very cockles of his heart, the exact same way that I do.

And just like that, everything was okay.


Okay, okay, enough with the sappy stuff.

Just joking.

It’s time for WAY more sappy stuff.

Because YOUR mission this week is to:quotescover-JPG-99


The Rules for this challenge? It can be long. It can be short. Do what you have to do. There are five days to ruminate if you need them. Post one submission to the prompt in the comment section below this post. DO NOT EMAIL YOUR SUBMISSIONS.

Deadline: Saturday, May 14th @noon Atlantic Daylight Time.
◾Encourage other Scribblers. Try to comment (reply) to at least three other submissions during the week.
◾After the deadline, VOTE for your favorite submission by emailing: Sundayscribblechallenge@gmail.com. Place the lucky author’s name in the HEADER of your email.

*Remember:

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Participation is quick and easy, and a great way to procrastinate interact with your writing peers.

These flash fiction challenges fuel creativity! They’re also a relatively painless pool for writers who’ve never posted their work to wet those feet, OR for established authors/bloggers to pick up a few new readers.


Trolls will be escorted back beneath their bridge along with a flaming stick of dynamite.