Spring Fling 2023 writing contest

Another season, another writing contest. This time the rules are (1) pick your own springtime gif, (2) write for an audience of kids under 12, (3) 150 words max, (4) no art notes. And away we go!

by Abigail Mumford
word count: 121

Three little birdies.

One on the left.
One in the middle.
One on the edge.

All with squawking tummies.
All perched up high.
But none who can fly.

A berry bush bright with dew.
Do they dare wing it?
Yes, that one does!

Three little birdies.

One on the left.
One in the middle.
One with feathers flying!

A pile of seeds in the sun.
Do they dare dive in?
Yes, this one does!

Three little birdies.

One left behind.
Chirping and crying.
Two with feathers flying!

An insect buzzes nearby.
Do they dare dig in?
Yes, the last one does!

Three little birdies.

All with feathers flying!
Swooping and soaring.
Independent and ignoring…

…three wriggly worms stuck in the mud.


Halloweensie 2022 contest

Being more plugged into the KidLit community means I’ve been finding and entering all sorts of contests, but after my less than stellar results from the Fall Writing Frenzy contest (read: I didn’t win, though I did have fun writing it!), I was more cautious about posting stuff here.

The next contest I entered involved writing a story that was (1) Halloween themed, (2) under 100 words, and include the words scary, slither, and treat. Here was my entry.

How to Trick-or-Treat if You’re a Snake
by Abigail Mumford

My fellow friends with ssscales. Learn from my mistakesss.

(1) Craft costume. Ssstart with a sssock or an empty toilet paper roll.

(2) Make map. Choose houses with low doorbellsss.

(3) Ssscare people. However, if you dress like Gumby or a giraffe, the ssscreams won’t be as loud.

(4) Take treatsss. Note: if mice give you a bellyache, sssteer clear of those lollipopsss with gum in the middle.

(5) Consume candy. There’s no way to hold a bucket, ssso you must eat it immediately.

(6) Ssslither home. Don’t forget to brush your fangsss before bed!

Word count: 95

The results are finally in and – spoiler alert – I WON HONORABLE MENTION for great humor!!

Thanks to Susanna Hill and her team of judges for this honor!


Fall Writing Frenzy 2022: RED

It’s been awhile since I’ve written on my blog, but the Fall Writing Frenzy competition has unleashed some much needed inspiration. The rules? Write a 200-word (max) story based on one of fourteen pre-selected photographs. Here’s the photo I chose:

Fall. Credit: Daniele Colucci for Unsplash.


I crouch and examine the way the puddles mirror and break the light draining from the sky. I wonder if I can replicate it with my paints. The buildings are blue with twilight, as am I.

Where is Grandma?

The concrete, foreign beneath my feet, offers no clues or pine needles scenting my search. My hunt becomes as twisted as the braids hanging beneath my hood.

A soft growl from behind shoves me down the nearest alleyway.

My breath huffs out in too visible clouds. This is a terrible hiding spot.

I hold my breath and peek around the corner. My only company is the gurgle of the storm drain flush with rainwater and the howl of the wind down the empty streets. A paper napkin skitters by like a mouse.

I flinch when a red light turns on. Vivid and violent, staining the sidewalk purple.

It beckons me.

The doorframe is splintered by water and time. My fingers trace the intricate, roaming lines of the doorknob. A wolf’s head, edged in silver, is warm against my palm as I turn it.

My grandmother’s voice, gravelly and strange, echoes nearby, “Little Red Riding Hood! Where are you?”

The end.

Good luck to everyone else who’s entered, but especially to my critique partners: Hannah, Kristen, and Patti! Check out all the entries here. A big, huge heartfelt thank you to Lydia, Kaitlyn, and Alyssa for hosting + judging this competition!

general, writing

write faster

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Point #2. Oh boy, #2. I write slowly. Really slowly. I’ve been working on the same novel since 2008. I’ve always wondered why the characters and the shape of the novel are always shifting – it’s because I, as their creator, am the one shifting.

I’ve always heard authors say “they’re the messenger” or “the characters take over” or some other nonsense I’ve never had happen, and so to hear it’s (actually. possibly. could be) all about the author and who she is and what she’s made of… it’s so obvious I couldn’t see it, but I LIKE THIS TRAIN OF THOUGHT, and so…

Fasten your seatbelt, Work in Progress, it’s go time.