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Woo Hoo!! An All New Spilling Ink Writing Contest!!  

Kids’ Short Story Contest

For ages 8-12

For this contest we are doing something a little different! The challenge is to write a short story from one of the seven Story Starters below.  These wonderful prompts were submitted to us by Mariesa S., age 12, and we loved them so much we just had to use them.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Choose one of the seven Story Starters below (just one, please)
  2. Make sure you use all three elements (the place, the quote, and the object) in your story.
  3. Your story can be written in any genre you like—fantasy, realistic fiction, science fiction, etc.
  4. Send us your best short story of any length up to 1,000 words (you don’t have to aim for 1,000 words. Your story can be much shorter).


Who can enter:

Kids ages 8-12 in the US or Canada



1st Prize $25 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble

2nd Prize $15 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble

3rd Prize $10 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble

All winning stories will be published on the Spilling Ink Creativity Blog


Deadline: January 21, 2013


How to Enter Paste your story into the Message section of the Contact page e-mail. Remember to include your name, age, and story title. Also, write "Story Contest" in the Subject line.

Here's the Contact page link: http://www.spillinginkthebook.com/contact/




Place: Shoe store
Quote: behold the wonders of tape!
Object: Yellow pencil without eraser  


Place: Enchanted Forest
Quote: A one point on this journey you’re gonna wish you had gone down the left path.
Object: Apple core


Place: Library
Quote: Oh NO! Ravioli AGAIN!
Object: Woolen Scarf


Place: Trailhead
Quote: If I had known . . . I never would have gotten out of bed.
Object: Fishing hat


Place: Grandmothers bedroom
Quote: My foot hurts. I think I may have stepped on a porcupine, or sea urchin.
Object: Hamster ball. Or gerbil ball


Place: Science Lab
Quote: Don’t push the red button. That’s what you always hear. But did they say anything about purple buttons?
Object: Cereal box and bowl.


Place: Spaceship
Quote: Oh drat. Were in for it now! (Mumble, mumble, no thanks to you)
Object: Ski cap


Good luck, everyone!

And thank you, Mariesa, for these amazing story prompts!!

Reader Comments (51)

*blushes deeply*
Thankyouthankyouthankyou Anne and Ellen!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thsi is.... a huge honor....
words fail me!
Wow...thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSomeone

I cannot stop smiling!

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSomeone

at first i was like these are AWESOME! can't wait 2 enter! then i was like, wait a sec...Mariesa???? IS THAT SOMEONE?!?!?!!??!!!!!
congratulations!!!! those are some amazing writing prompts!!!!!!!!!!!! can't wait to see what i cna do with one of them (i'm leaning toward number 2, all of 'em are cool tho!)
epic job someone!!
peace, love, and pit bulls,
~ scribbles
PS you look EXACTLY like my friend Michaela, except with black hair instead of brown! weeird :) love da necklace, BTW!

October 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterscribbles

Thank you scribbles!
This was a great honor to me!
I am glad you like them!
Too bad i can't enter the contest...(I'm actually 13!)
I cannot wait to read the stories...I hope you win scribbles....
and you can always use them ALL and choose which one turned out best...
I luv my necklace to...it was handmade in africa i think....
btw...did you see my post on the last thingy on the new writing curriculum? I just thouh cuz if you ever got it...it would be awsome since they have a chat room....
anywhoozle...se ya!
_peace love and pickle jars

October 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSomeone

Oh my goodness I cannot wait to enter this! It'll be so much fun and I already picked my story starter! Hopefully going to finish my story tonight... :D

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSky Blue

The entries are already coming in! I think that's a record. Thanks, Mariesa, for inspiring everyone!

October 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterAnne & Ellen

I'm too old for this contest, but these story starters are very fun to do anyway. Thanks, Mariesa!

October 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen

woah! entries already?! i haven't even finished my first paragraph yet :P
*puts head down in shame*
peace, love, and procrastination,
PS no, ive never heard of that cirriculum, someone...the chat room would be awesome though, so i'll let ya know if i ever get it :) that's the sucky part about non-chatty chat rooms (AKA this site) though, there is always some creepy-stalker-guy (or girl) that comes in and makes everyone uncomfortable. and not 'your friendly stalker'......i mean a stalker stalker :)

October 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterscribbles

Is there a contest for people older then 12? Like 13 and up.
For teens is what I am trying to say. I wanted to enter the contest, but I am 13 and it says 8-12.
Lion Girl

October 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLion Girl

Hey there everyone!
So here's the story...I have finished every book in the Harry Potter series and am craving for more. Well, obviously, there is no more (and J. K. Rowling's new book, The Casual Vacancy, is for adults). Any book recommendations for Potterheads like me?
- She Who Must Not Be Named
PS I'm so happy I'm twelve! Those story starters look amazing! Thanks, Mariesa! (Hey, I don't know you, you'll think I'm crazy, but here's my number, so call me maybe! Hahaha please excuse my mental instability :)

October 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShe_Who_Must_Not_Be_Named

Lion Girl, Sorry that you can't enter this one! We also run contests for teens, but it's the 8-12 year old's turn right now! Our next contest will be for you. P.S. If you scroll down, you'll see the teen winners from the last contest. They are amazing!!

She Who Must Not Be Named (love your name!), if you search this website under posts tagged "books," you'll see a couple of posts from Ellen and me, recommending books for middle grade and teen readers.Hope you find something you love!!


October 17, 2012 | Registered CommenterAnne & Ellen

She who must not be named...
trust me... I am insane. *nodnod*

I really like this site, thank you anne and ellen!
Well, i will be back. we are headed to the library. YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!! BOOOOOOOKKKKKSSSS!!!!!!!!!!
I will assure you of my insanity later, SWMNBN..... TRUST me!
-Love Peace, and Broken pencils with no eraser and bite marks.

October 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSomeone/Mariesa

ummmmmmmm i didn't write that last comment under scribbles!
what the hecklers happened?
this is a job for.....SHERLOCK SCRIBBLES!!!!!!!!!
(epic detective music)
(long pause. music fades out)
peace, love, and star trek,
~the REAL scribbles (duuuun de dun dun! duuuun de dun dun DUN!!)

October 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterscribbles

oh and SWMNBN, it's awesome to know there are other potterheads out there! I'm addicted to HP too :)
i'm nearing the end of the series and freaking out at what i will read next :P
your name ROCKS btw!
Peace, Love, and Serverous Snape,

October 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterscribbles

WHERE IS RAWR??? I MISS HER!!!!! Ahem...
Who was it scribbles????????
-love peace and ME-NESS

October 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSomeone/Mariesa

and newperson and lost and samantha everyone else!!! don't want to offend anyone :P
-peace love and octopusses,

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSomeone/Mariesa

no idea who it was........i don't have any siblings in the house who would use this site (i mean, i have a two-year-old brother, but i really don't thinks he surfs the net too much)...i highly doubt my parents would do that LOL...so it's a mystery (!) (detective music starts again)
peace, love, and papayas,
~ scribbles

October 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterscribbles

Thank you so much Mrs. Mazer!!
I will definitely check out your suggestions!
By the way, I think it's so awesome that you talk to aspiring writers. (such as myself :) You probably have all sorts of people wanting to talk to you, and I just like that you find time to write back! I've written or emailed a ton of authors, and you are the first that has ever written back :D
Thanks again,
- She Who Must Not Be Named
PS Glad you like my 'name', haha :)

October 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShe_Who_Must_Not_Be_Named

AUGH!!! Why am I so old?!!!! (15)

=D I remember the 1st one!!! That was sooo mch fun ^^

Can't wait to read the stories!!!

Should get back to my essays (I'm procrastinating, Shhhhh!)

i feel so......young......I'm only (dare I say it).....ELEVEN.
(gazes dramatically into the distance.closes eyes. long pause. whips head around and is suddenly chipper again)
aaaaaaaaanywhoozle. oh well, my best freind is sixteen so i'm used to being the young one LOL
GASP! yaaaay, you procrastiate too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (cyber-five)
peace, love, and the pittsburgh steelers,
~ scribbles
PS random quote of the day: We must believe in luck, because how else can we explain the success of people we don’t like?

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterscribbles


"and newperson and lost and samantha everyone else!!! don't want to offend anyone :P
-peace love and octopusses,


October 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSomeone

Awsome someone!!!!

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNEWPERSON

Someee-wun that is EPIC!
Yer really good at those prompts!
COOL! I would like to enter, but i cant... :(

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTissueboxGURL

Dear Random Hacker Person,
Thank you.
PS this is getting weird....

October 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterscribbles

Hi Anne and Ellen!
It's me again...I'm back with ANOTHER question (sorry, but you two are the only professional authors I am in contact with hahaha)
So......I was wondering if you had any pointers on making complex characters.
My characters are pretty interesting, but they're sort of two-dimensional, if you know what I mean. Their motives and true personalities show on the outside, which is usually not the case in the 'real world' (ugh! That term sounds so wrong! Most books are much realer than the actual world to me!) Sorry if I'm confusing you :P Just think of Snape from Harry Potter...you don't really 'know' him until the last book (I personally hated him until the seventh book. I wanted to stab him when he killed Dumbledore, but when Lily died, I felt more like hugging him LOL...and when he showed us his Patronus, I just collapsed. Never thought I would feel bad for him in the first book!) His character is much more dense than it appears, and I was just wondering if you could give me some tips on making a complex character like him.
Thank you so much for your time and listening to me ramble mindlessly...once you get me talking about HP.....good luck stopping me!
- She Who Must Not Be Named

November 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShe_Who_Must_Not_Be_Named

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