#50PreciousWords 2018 Writing Challenge is OPEN!!



Today is the day, dear friends! Ready! Set! Go! The #50PreciousWords 2018 Writing Challenge is now OPEN!


For those of you who have not participated before, let me give you a bit of back story. March 2nd is the birthday of the incredible Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. For the last two years, I’ve hosted a little contest based on Bennet Cerf’s challenge to Seuss to write a children’s book using only 50 words. And the classic Green Eggs and Ham was born. It’s true that the story has over 700 words…but only 50 unique words.

In 2016, I thought it would be fun to try to write a story for kids with ONLY 50 words. With a beginning, a middle, and an end. I wondered if I could do it. And then I opened the challenge to everyone. Much to my surprise and amazement, there were 128 entries! And last year, there were 253 entries. And I hope we have a great turnout again this year because I am passionate about helping others follow their dream of writing for children.

In 2012 I had a dream. I wanted to write picture books. And I wanted to be traditionally published. And one of the most important things I did was to participate in writing challenges like Susanna Hill’s contests. Why was that important? Because it got me writing. It got me revising. It got me submitting. Hmmm….writing/revising/submitting. I believe that if we do those three things enough times, our writing improves and agents and editors get a chance to see our work. And as much as I am thrilled with my own success, nothing makes me happier than to hear about the success of others in our kidlit community.

So, please sharpen your pencils. Fire up your computers. And share your #50PreciousWords with us.


  1. Write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, using only 50 words…they can all be different words, or you can use some of them over and over…just as long as the total word count of the story is 50 or less.
  2. It can be prose, rhyme, free verse, silly or serious…whatever works for you.
  3. Title is not included in the word count.
  4. No illustration notes please.
  5. Please post your story in the comment section below. If you have your own blog and want to post your story there also, please do. And let us know your post link.  I ask for the link so that people will visit each other and find new friends in the kid lit community. Please make sure you put your name in the post. If you have any trouble at all posting the story, please email me and I will be happy to do it for you: viviankirkfield@gmail.com.
  6. Deadline for posting the story in the comments is Tuesday, March 6, at 11:59pm.
  7. Winners will be announced in a special blog post on Sunday, March 11.
  8. Winners? Of course, there will be winners…and prizes, too!
  • A critique from my beloved agent, Essie White (some of you may remember that the winner of the first year’s contest chose Essie’s critique as her prize…and she subsequently signed with Storm Literary Agency and THAT story, plus a sequel to it, will be published next year!



  • Your choice of ONE of the following from author, mentor, and founder of Sub Six FB group, Alayne Kay Christian: Picture Book critique or Chapter book critique (first three chapters), or Complimentary Art of Arc course.


  • Picture Book manuscript critique from author Lori Degman.


  • Your choice of either a picture book manuscript critique from author Karen Valenti or a seat in her Master Course on Picture Book Writing.


head shot


  • Picture Book manuscript critique from author Katey Howes.

KathrynHeadshots-40 (2)

Julie Abery


  • A piece of original signed art and a copy of LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL plus a silver seal necklace from author/illustrator Patricia Keeler.

Lizzie and Lou Seal cover

  • Rest & Relaxation package with two picture books and a surprise from author Maria Marshall.

maria marshall 2

  • A signed copy of CAT IN THE CITY from author/illustrator Jill Weber.

cat in the city

  • $15 credit in her TeachersPayTeachers store from Barbara Leyne(GradeOnederful)


A big thank you to all of our amazing prize donors! Much appreciation to illustrator Vicky Fang whose awesome logo graces our challenge! And a grateful thank you to my dear friends and critique buddies, Maria Marshall and Julie Abery who will be helping me read and comment.

Last year there were over 2000 comments – ALL OF THEM POSITIVE AND ENCOURAGING!  I am so proud to be a part of this amazing kidlit community. Our news stations and politicians should definitely take a lesson from this kidlit community.

And before I leave you to post your stories and comment on those you have a chance to read, I thought it would only be fair if I posted my sample of a 50-word story which hopefully has a beginning, a middle, and an end.


It was Sun’s birthday.

Moon gathered paper, paint,

glitter and glue to make a card.

But Wind blew.

Glitter and glue covered the stars.

“Now I have no gift for Sun,” cried Moon.

“Twinkling stars are the best present of all,” said Sun.

And Moon glowed all night long.

The End

Remember, if you have any questions or concerns, please email me: viviankirkfield@gmail.com.

I am so looking forward to reading all of your precious words!


1,892 thoughts on “#50PreciousWords 2018 Writing Challenge is OPEN!!

  1. Sheepish

    There’s a sheep in my bed,
    Right next to my head!’

    Go to sleep! It can’t be a sheep!’

    I’ll move over a bit,
    So the sheep can fit.’

    Turn off the light! Goodnight!’


    There’s no sheep on my bed!
    Just my sweater instead…….’

    50 words


    • I had a longer version but I wasn’t sure if repeated words counted in the final word count so I decided to err on the side of caution and enter the short version. 🙂



    “Baby Kala, it’s your first big snow!”
    But Cousin Mishi’s sled is WAY too big. Uh oh.
    “Try this pot?”
    Maybe not.
    “The puppy’s dish?”
    I wish…
    “My old orange frisbee!”
    Oops. Whoopsie!
    “Maybe just on your bum.”
    Hmmm. Umm…
    “Never mind,” Mishi sighs,
    Hugs Baby Kala close. They SLIDE!


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