Here you’ll find updates and examples of notable entries from any current (and past) contests, as well as winner announcements, and anything else that’s relevant.
The current contest I am running invites you to submit a piece of poetry or prose (and include images, as here, if you have them) with no minimum word count, around a ghostly or supernatural theme (as this is the theme of the companion novel I am currently completing as part of the Alien 8 universe).
BY R. JAMES | September 25 – Sticky
No problem! Let me get you started.
This is a great exercise to help you. I was inspired by a J.R.R. Tolkien poem called The Man in the Moon Came Down too Soon about a heavy-drinking Man in the Moon interacting with recognisable nursery rhyme characters. (Okay, this is more funny-scary than scary-scary, but that is fine, too.)
Go and read it and get some ideas.
I like the idea of taking a well known fairy tale and then – hey diddle diddle – writing your own, even funnier one by using some of the same characters and settings but in different ways.
After all, good stories are always retold down the centuries. So here’s your chance to get creative.
I’ve written my own poem below to get you started. I used the Three Billy Goats Gruff as my starting point. But instead of a fierce troll under the bridge, I imagined it being tired and lazy, and, like the man in the moon, drinking too much so that it can’t do its bridge guarding job properly.
What would happen if the troll in the popular fairy tale was like that? Read on …
A disgruntled green troll
sat high upon a grassy hill,
gorging on pork leg whole
whilst rowdily drinking its fill.
Shouldn’t it have been
under a bridge somewhere?
Hiding in the darkness unseen
and preparing to scare.
But this troll was very lazy,
eating and drinking far too much,
With no hope of ever scaring
three Billy Goats Gruff.
The troll belched and lay down,
soon falling soundly asleep,
Having forgotten the billy goats
it was supposed to eat!
Unheard by the lazily slumbering troll,
the billy goats risked bravely crossing
a rickety bridge over the nearby stream,
with their hooves lightly clip-clopping.
Reaching the green meadow on the other side
they stood foursquare thinking,
“The lazy troll again isn’t hungry
“after another night’s heavy drinking.”
The billy goats protested some more,
And on the tender blades chewed,
Agreeing that without a troll to scare them
– Well! –
what exactly were they supposed to do?
So on their way back across the rickety bridge
they deliberately woke the sleeping troll.
It opened its fierce green eyes with a start
and gave the one that was working a menacing roll.
Roaring and bellowing the troll jumped up,
grabbing for the billy goats as they quickly fled,
“Good, good!” bleated the billy goats with delight,
“The lazy troll is back to work,” they gleefully said.
– R. James
Okay, now it’s your turn! Keep it simple, get writing and include your name and/or school that created it.
Tell me this poem isn’t deep.
Oh, and as there is no minimum word count for this contest, I am also accepting entries via Twitter @RichAlien8
Obviously, there is an upper character limit with Twitter. But that’s the point – get creative!
This is a cool, Twitter-length poem I was sent by “E. L., SW5” that shows you how creative this format can be.
I am getting a lot of fantastic verse, but less prose, for some reason. (Although it is good that this contest has inspired all you poets out there!)
Nonetheless, bear in mind there is no lower word limit on short stories either. If you can get your point across in five words, I would personally would love to read it.
The person inside,
I thought I knew,
The face was familiar
but it wasn’t you.
– E.L., SW5
I was sent this scarily humorous (or humorously scary) poem by “J. Henshall, Student, Surrey, UK”.
This really blew me away: it is exactly the theme I am looking for. It kind of suggests that fear is only as real as we allow it to be, and, if this is so, we can control it with our minds, and don’t need to be afraid. (Pretty much the theme of the current novel I am writing, actually.)
It has a great rhyming scheme, as well as a good beginning, middle and end to boot.
That’s a lot to get into eight lines. Bravo!
Of course, poems don’t have to be narrative in nature, but if they “tell a story” it is often more fun.
In my own poetry, I prefer some narrative elements to contrast with the more abstract metaphors and imagery.
If you think can do better, send it in and see it here.
I saw a ghost appear in my bedroom,
And chased it away with a wooden broom,
Shrieking, it disappeared into the night,
Only to return the following afternoon.
That night this ghost continued to haunt me,
But I was tired and exhausted and let it be,
And because I decided to no longer fear it,
All the moaning and groaning wasn’t that scary.
– J. Henshall
Brilliant effort from “Haunted Surrey”. Keep ’em coming!