Blank in Blank: Campaign Challenge Two

It’s time for Rachael Harrie’s Second Challenge in her fourth Platform Building Campaign. Woot! Here are the rules: 

Do one or more of the following:

  1. Write a pitch/logline for a book based on the prompts (less than 100 words) 
  2. Write a short story/flash fiction piece of less than 200 words based on the prompts 
  3. Write a poem with a twist using the prompts as inspiration (in less than 200 words) 
  4. Write a story/poem in five sentences, each sentence based on one of the prompts 
  5. Write a poem/flash fiction piece (in less than 200 words) about the water pear *without* using the words “pear”, “spoon”, or “droplet”. 

For added difficulty/challenge:

  • Complete at least three of the above activities and tie them all together with a common theme (feel free to either state the theme in your post or leave us to guess what it might be) 
  • Write in a genre that is not your own 
  • Ask Challenge entrants to critique your writing. After the Challenge closes, you may wish to re-post your revised piece(s), and I’ll include a Linky List at the bottom of this post for those wishing more feedback on their revisions (note: revised entries will not be judged, so please label clearly your original post and your revisions. Please do not offer critique unless someone asks for it, as per the usual blogging conventions. If you do ask for critique, make sure you ask for it clearly so people know you want it, and please be prepared to receive feedback that may not be 100% glowing. If you are a critiquer, please be tactful and courteous, and remember to provide positives as well as negatives.) 

Since I chose to do all of the added difficulty elements,  none of my three pieces are in my middle grade fantasy or SF genres. I leave it to you to guess my overall theme. Here’s a hint: It’s sort of a cross between two opposite genres. There’s a prize for the closest answer if you put your guess for my theme into my Rafflecopter form. Just don’t put in my blog comments, please. 

As for critiques, I’ve received some very tough ones, and the only comments that are hard to take are criticisms with no suggestions for a better way to achieve the right impact. So please tell me how to fix whatever you think I did wrong.

Here are the writing prompts I must use:

Prompt 1:

Two people are sitting together under the remains of a concrete bridge. Their backs are against a rusted bridge support. One person’s leg is cut. The other person has wet hair.

Prompt 2:


Prompt 3


Prompt 4


Prompt 5


Now here are my responses. This poem is for challenges 3 and 4, combined in one five sentence poem with a twist:

Under the bridge, two homeless men sprawl.
A well-dressed child above kicks a ball.
Rich photographer shoots water’s fall,
Blind to the waifs with nothing at all.
Who sees the light when darkness may call?*

*If you don’t see the twist, read again, deeper. Or should I say higher?
This is challenge 2, flash-fiction at 199 words:

White knuckled, Joe gripped a foot-long bolt he’d pulled from the water after it cut him. Shoddy bridge workmanship—he ought to sue. Feeling the cold metal against his back, he glanced at the last whole concrete span above. “What’s that awful thumping?”

Susan shifted beside him. “Some kid playing with a ball.” Bending over, she wiped blood from the gash on his thigh.

He gritted his teeth as her wet hair dripped. Through his tears, the drops coalesced into a pear shape, the art of never-ending pain. He slid down onto the sand, for the rusted bridge support was anchored near the water’s edge.

When thumping awoke him again, fog had rolled in. He wondered how long he’d slept.

Where was Susan?

Childish voices floated through the fog—along with the incessant thumping. As Joe glimpsed street urchins squatting in the storm drain garbage nearby, his bile rose from the stench.

He closed his eyes, remembering. One leg useless, he’d fought the riptide, swimming through inky blackness lit by wispy multi-hued—jellyfish?

The thumping stopped. Though surprised, Joe couldn’t open his eyes. The light strands, brighter now, drew him upward while paramedics put his body into a bag. 

Did you see that coming? Last but not least, here’s another opportunity to guess. I intentionally used the same character names, but you can decide whether these are the same characters or not.

Last, I present challenge 1, a pitch/logline for a book, 99 total words.  I emailed the last 17 words to Rachael Harrie because I have my own small contest to see who comes closest to my concept in the same number or fewer words. 

Sequel to Meet Joe Black:

Susan leans against the rusty support of some bridge remains. Crying, she wipes Joe White’s leg with her wet hair. They talk, their lives presented in flashbacks as his consciousness fades in and out.

At her father’s party, Joe’s photos preserve fireworks as streaks. Later, they marry and travel as he photographs everything from starving children to water art—until their son chases a ball into the ocean. Distraught, they also attempt drowning, except Joe gets cut.

In ____________, they see their _______ ____________ the _______________ ______________ photo.  “___________,” he whispers.
_____ ____________ arrives.

I’ll let you decide if these are the same characters I used for my flash fiction story. Do you think they live? You can write that in my comments, but put your guess for my pitch ending, up to 17 words in my Rafflecopter form where only I and another judge can see them. *edit  I came back and supplied over half of the original 17 missing words.

If you liked my entries, please vote “like” for #57, here. Whoever you vote for, it counts as an entry for a book prize if you fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Now here’s the form!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note that this contest doesn’t close until April 1, so there’s plenty of time to guess both my challenge theme and the end of my pitch. And if you don’t like your first guesses, come back and guess again! 

Oh, wait. If you’re a judge, please email me at sherahart @ gmail dot com or ask Rachael so you can judge the real pitch ending. By April 2 or 3, I will post the real ending and winners so everyone can see this wasn’t an April Fool’s joke. Thanks!

Now you can go hopping to other book giveaways featured by Kathy at I am a Reader, Not a Writer.

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. The poem was great. And you have a good voice for fiction. Both are good efforts.

  2. Your writing is so good. Congratulations btw on being a finalist in the first challenge (if I remember correctly you were one of them).

  3. Nice pieces and well written. Good job.

  4. Sher, I love your poem and your posts!

    And I’ve tagged you on my blog. 🙂

  5. You got a vote from me because I loved your poem. Great job! (#30)

  6. You are starting to get addictive 🙂

  7. Oh, I fell in love with that poem.

  8. I liked how you used the prompts and I particularly liked the twist at the end of the second piece.

  9. I agree, You used the prompts seamlessly and I liked the twist at the end of the second. Good job. I didn’t guess the ending. My brain’s not working.

  10. Ack! Now that was a twist ending. Great work, Sher!

  11. Nice writing. Loved the imagery and the twists.
    Melissa Maygrove #14

  12. I’m in Lithuania.

    I liked the second answer, flash-fiction, the best.

  13. I loved them all, especially the poem! #103

  14. Great job on all of them!!

  15. I like the poem the best(:

  16. I liked your second piece, the flash fiction at 90 words. I was surprised by the ending! GFC Amy S. USA

  17. I love in the US I like the first the best!

    krystlekouture at yahoo dot com

  18. I like the poem.

    I”m in canada. So not eligible for US prize. But can use amazon. Thanks.

    jennifer k

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Notice

    All content is copyrighted and may not be used in any form without proper credit and links. For purposes other than charity or education, printed materials require prior written consent. Disclaimer: Most books were provided free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.