Monday, April 2, 2012

Illustratration Story Prompt - Results

by The Management

Congrats to our Story Prompt contestants! The Pen and Inkers and illustrator, Catherine Lee, had a very difficult time deciding on which text they liked the best. There was much hair pulling, hand wringing and latte chugging as we selected our favorites for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. We are publishing them all here so all our readers can enjoy them too.

Now for the goodies: As 1st place winner, Mary Esparza walks away with Hilde’s famous chocolate chip cookies. Lesser mortals have killed for these.

Lora Mitchell in 2nd place is the lucky recipient of The Pen and Ink Blog t-shirt. Didn’t you just know we have our own?

In 3rd place, the talented Tanja (no last name given), will also make off with a The Pen and Ink Blog bookmark and pen.

We will send out emails to notify each of the winners personally, but if you see this and want to send us an address on where to send the swag, then please do so. Thanks!

1) Mary Esparza-Vela
A young sparrow headed for shelter one afternoon. A heavy storm was brewing and the dark clouds were ready to burst. He flapped his wings wildly and tried to maintain his balance. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, three unusual creatures appeared before his eyes. They had huge, round bodies and no eyes. As they glided by, their tails swished back and forth. The sparrow warned them about the storm but the strange beasts never said a word. They simply chose to ignore him. The little bird watched them scurry into the clouds and then they fizzled out. “Too bad,” he said. “I did try to warn them.”
2) Lora Mitchell
An array of colored balloons are bundled together waiting to be hung in the hay barn for Susie's birthday party. During the hustle and bustle of preparations, a brisk northern breeze loosens three balloons from its cluster and, as if delighted to be free, two of them sail away to play tag in the sky. The third balloon, a blue one, wavers to and fro on its own; its tail trailing behind in a lazy manner. When the breeze calms down, it floats to a powder landing and settles in the rafters near a haystack where newly-hatched Hummingbird chicks lay warm in their cozy nest of freshly-stacked grass and dry, golden hay. During the happy festivities, mother Hummingbird keeps close watch and circles the rafters to protect her brood. Frightened by the children's laughter and noisy squeals, she carries her sightless chicks one-by-one to a safe hollow in a nearby willow tree. In haste, she loses count and accidentally leaves the smallest behind. When Little Chick opens his bleary eyes, the first thing he sees is the stray blue balloon resting softly beside him and chirps out with glee, "Mama."
3) Nicole Popel
“I’m flying to the moon,” chirped Tweet as he sped past several lazy balloons floating in the afternoon sky. He could just imagine the headlines on the Bird Watcher Gazette: Astrobird Makes Space History! Small Sparrow does Moon Walk! Soon he would be shaking his wing with VIPs everywhere. Then, crash! Tweet got dizzy and began tumbling in the air.

4) Teri Fox
Clouds. You can't see them when you're in them.
Was there ever a song, 'Let's go fly a cloud?' Well, there is one now. It's delightful up here. I won't ever come down. Look. A baloon. And another and another. Ah, this is fun but I'm getting hungry and forgot my lunch. Will you bring me lunch? No? Can I come back on my cloud if I come down? Why not? Who wrote these rules? Let's change them so we can keep flying our clouds. Mmmm, that pizza smells good. Just one big bite. Think of it. Yum. I don't want to leave, but . . . Well, it's been nice flying with you. Bye.
5) Tanja
It was soon after he heard the Flight of the Bumblebee that Chickadee decided to experiment. After all, his type of hummingbird was smaller than a bumblebee, and he’d read somewhere that according to the laws of aerodynamics, the bee was not supposed to fly, and yet it did. Why, someone had even written a book about it. All his brethren and sisteren had hied off, out of the nest, days before. Yet he was afraid. They called him chicken, but he insisted that he was a hummingbird, like them… In the event, he waited until he felt the Empty Nest Syndrome… mother and father were off searching for grubs, siblings off to play in the Great Beyond, and then – he flew!
6) Kim
Planning a garden party is a lot of work. I had just stepped back inside my burrow to gather the tablecloths and streamers when I heard Sheila Sparrow calling "Gretel Groundhog, your balloooooons!" As I turned to look out the window, I saw Sheila and some balloons being whisked away by a powerful burst of wind. I'll never finish in time now!
7) Farida Mizra
“Invasion! Aliens!” called out the bee-watch-bird guarding the skies.
Three balloons were floating up.
Flocks and flocks of birds flew in immediately to drive away the invaders.
“Free at last! Free at last!” two of the balloons laughed as they bounced and waved upwards.
The third balloon was quiet as it trailed behind.
The birds looked curiously at the balloons.


  1. Well done to all the entrants and winners - great stories!

  2. It's fun to read the great variety of stories inspired by the prompt picture.
    Congratulations to all who participated and especially to the winners.

  3. I love to see where writers will go with the same prompt. Great job, everyone, and congrats to Mary!

    Topsy Turvy Land

  4. Congrats to all the winners! This was fun to read.

  5. Nice work on these imaginitve story snippets. Isn't amazing how a simple visual can spark the imagination?

  6. Whenever I need to spark my imagination, I stare at the sidewalk.
    Concrete Hugger


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