The 4th of July Secret Mystery Writing Contest

There’s been lots of traveling in the last few months…new grand-baby…Singapore…family visits.

4th of Jul Secret Mystery Writing Contest

I’ve missed my regular blogging and social media connections – but I’ve had so much fun!

To get back on track, I’m going to try a new blog schedule:

Monday will be geared towards picture book writing – sharing helpful articles and links for other writers as well as contests, submissions and highlights from my works in progress.

To kick this off, I’m thrilled to post my entry to children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill’s 4th of July Secret Mystery Writing Contest. Contests are a great way to exercise your writing craft and connect with other writers…and Susanna’s contests are super cool. Please click on the link to get the details and find out what GREAT prizes she is offering. There is still time to enter!!!!

The Fourth Of July Secret Mystery Writing Contest!

We were asked to write a children’s story with any July 4th setting, 400 words or less, in which there is a mystery is solved or a secret is revealed. Here is my 199-word story…I hope you like it!

THE MONSTER FAIR or Why Christmas Is Celebrated in July on Gollywhomper Square

It happened in the summer, down on Gollywhomper Square.

The residents decided they would build a Monster Fair.

The first ride they constructed was a giant Ferris wheel.

A jingling carousel was next, made of the strongest steel.

The third one they erected was a mammoth water slide.

They pumped the contents of a lake to fill that drenching ride.

But trouble was a-brewing because no one could agree

On Kamikaze – Tilt-a-Wheel – which should the next one be?

The shouting match grew louder – Screaming Swing – or Pirate Ship!

It must be Roller Coaster – Topple Tower – no – the Whip!

With stomping feet and blazing eyes, they all began to fight,

Like popping firecrackers, you could see the sparks ignite.

The fairgrounds started shaking – as the earth began to quake.

An avalanche descended and refilled the empty lake.

No Ferris wheel – no carousel – no drenching water slide!

A mountain range of pure white snow had covered every ride.

The monsters moaned, “No Fair! No Fair! The snow is everywhere!”

The  monster children cheered, “How great! Let’s ski and sled and skate!”

 So every summer, you will find, on Gollywhomper Square

A celebration on the 4th – The Monster Christmas Fair!

I hope you will visit Susanna’s contest page so you can read all of the other entries…and perhaps submit one of your own!

I also want to add a link to a summer picture book writing workshop that is being offered by Pam Calvert: Picture Book University…it began today and looks like it will be lots of fun…oh, and did I mention…it’s FREE!

In addition, Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge is keeping hundreds of picture book writers motivated and inspired to write picture books every month…I’m checking in for the end of June…I wrote several picture book drafts and revised some others.

And last, but certainly not least, gifted mentor and picture book writing teacher, Mira Reisberg, is gearing up for the next Picture Book Academy course to be offered at the end of August…if you are interested, please visit her website and sign up to receive the free newsletter to get all the info…places in her class go really quickly:

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever - Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (PomegranateKids, March 15, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, Feb 13, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, May 1, 2019); MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books, Spring 2020); FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY THE WORLD MOVES (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fall 2020) picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my young grandson.

Posted on July 1, 2013, in 4th of July, creative writing, Writing Contests and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 64 Comments.

  1. A Monster Christmas Fair for July 4th? How fun! I love watching Christmas movies and listening to Christmas songs in the summer, so that story is right up my alley.


    • Glad you liked it, Milka! I think it should be Christmas all year long. 🙂 I’m off to read all the other entries as soon as I answer the comments on mine.:) Susanna has the most fun contests!


  2. A story worth winning… and will check out your links… nice share 😉


  3. Very cute and original to have a monster fair, Vivian! Love the rhyme and pun with fair.


  4. That’s a surely a different way to celebrate the 4th of July, but I will stick to participating in the boat parade around my local lake and a barbecue afterwards!


  5. Ahhh, you’ve really evoked the feel of summer with all those wonderful rides! I’ve been on one in ages, but it does bring back lots of memories. 🙂


    • I know, Teresa.:) I used to live in NYC…and Coney Island was only a short train or bus ride away. Every Tuesday night during the summer they had an amazing fireworks display…you’d spend the day at the beach…hot dogs and french fries at Nathans…and then sit on the Boardwalk and enjoy the fireworks at night. Great memories for sure.:) Glad the story brought back some good ones!


  6. Very fun. This story has a lot potential for some really cool illustrations! Thanks for posting links to other neat websites for picture book writers. I’m interested in participating in the picture book university. It looks like fun!


    • Hi Heather…I’m so happy you liked the story and could see the images…in my mind, I pictured an enormous Ferris Wheel and water slide…when covered with snow, they would make awesome ski runs and jumps.:)I’ve been inspired by other bloggers who provide so much info/links/resources to writers/illustrators…I’ve benefited so much…I want to share as well.:) There is so much out there…but I think it helps to have the best offerings spotlighted. Pam’s summer ‘course’ will encourage me to read LOTS of picture books…and they say that’s one of the best steps to writing great stories.


  7. Oh what fun!!! Delightful rhyme, and totally original concept! Well done, Vivian! (and wow for your 12×12 achievements, and everything else as well!)


  8. Catherine Johnson

    Vivian that is a wonderful entry. The rhyme, the word choices and story are superb!


  9. The rhyme is lovely, and you worked so many amusement rides into the lines! A fun surprise ending too.


    • I used to live right near Coney Island…and had lots of ‘experience’ with many of those rides. Looking back as an adult, I shudder when I remember how dangerous some of them were. 🙂 Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, Lauri. 🙂


  10. Man, what fun rhymes!

    And I could go for a little Christmas in July right about now!


    • Thanks for the kind words.:) When my kids were little we used to scoop up containers of newly fallen snow and put them in the freezer. In the middle of hot July and August, we would take them out and have a snowball fight…what fun!


  11. Snow. Now that could well be 4th July in Ireland, it is not unheard for us to have hailstones! Nice angle.


    • We get that in Colorado…and if I go up to the summit of Pikes Peak, it will often be snowing in July.:) We are at 6000 feet here in Colorado Springs, but the Peak is over 14,000…for every 5000 feet gain in altitude, you lose 5 degrees. Glad you liked the story.:)


  12. Great story, Vivian! Very vivid and fun. Marylin


  13. Snow would be a huge surprise on the 4th of July!


    • So true…unless you are up on Pikes Peak.:) The first summer we lived in Colorado Springs, we took a drive up to the summit. It was 70 degrees…but at the top, it was 30…with freezing blowing snow.:) Thanks for stopping by, Kathy.:)


      • We had the same experience on Pikes Peak. Brrrr . . .

        And what a FUN poem, Vivian. Especially liked “Gollywhomper Square” and all the great amusement rides. And I never saw that avalanche coming. 😀


  14. WOW!!! Nice story! But you’re saying we all copy monsters? Hmm… I have to ponder this…


  15. What a wonderful, fun, original story, Vivian! I love it! Love the name Gollywhomper Square 🙂 And all those rides… and the squabbling monsters… and the surprise snow… Great job! 🙂


  16. What an entertaining and fun story. As everyone else said, very original. Loved the Monster theme and was surprised by the snow.


    • A winter wonderland in July…I think many would enjoy that when the heat and humidity are off the charts.:) Thanks for the kind words, Pat.:)  I guess even monsters like to have fun!


  17. What a delightfully unexpected twist to a traditional summer celebration! Great job, Vivian!

    Donna L Martin


    • Glad you liked it, Donna…I love Susanna’s contests…they help me stretch.:)
      By the way, I absolutely loved your interview with agent Jodell Sadler…I promise to be more regular about visiting your blog…it is an amazing resource for writers.:)


  18. This is wonderful, Vivian! Absolutely delightful and fun. Great story!


  19. Inventive and fun story–all while managing a rollicking rhyme! And now I absolutely want to go to Gollywhomper Square! 😉


  20. Ooh, this is so creative- love the rhyming and Gollywhomper (who wouldn’t smile when saying that? :)) An avalanche in July sounds better than a dip in the pool.

    I’ve read so many wonderful stories, I have no idea how Susanna is going to choose the finalists.


    • Thanks, Janna! Kids love it as well…I read it to my 4-year old grandson when I was out in NH last week…he had a lot of fun with it and kept asking me to read about the Monster Fair.:)


  21. Hey Vivian. Man. The word choice in this is absolutely wonderful. Super job and loved your rhyme. This is genius really. A new take on monster stories. 🙂


  22. That’s quite a feat to combine two holidays, a mystery and monsters in the same story. . .with rhyme no less! Well done, Vivian!



  23. Sooo cute – Vivian. I love the poem!!


  24. Just had a look at the rides too – yikes! I’m too squeamish for the likes of those these days! But I wouldn’t mind visiting Gollywhomper Square! Would be COOL to illustrate! The rhyming adds such perfect rhythm for this!


  25. Love the rhythm and rhyme in this fun romp. Thanks for sharing.


  26. Nice entry, Vivan! You did a great job on the rhyme and monsters always add to the fun :•)


    • Coming from you, Penny (aka the master of rollicking rhythm and rhyme contest entries), those are very kind words. Glad you liked it…Susanna always provides a great writing prompt with her holiday contests.:)


  27. Your entry is so original. I love everything from the monster rides to the sizzling rumble. Beautiful rhyme!


    • Joanne…thanks for stopping by and making my day with your lovely comment! And I love your description…sizzling rumble…I think i will use that in a story…has such a great sound and creates a fantastic image in my mind.:)


  1. Pingback: Monday Writing Magic: What Makes a Great Picture Book Story? | Picture Books Help Kids Soar

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