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2021 #FallWritingFrenzy

Have you ever looked at a photograph and thought to yourself, “there’s a story there”?

Have you ever re-played your version of that story over and over in your head?

Have you ever put that story ‘pen-to-paper’?

Have you ever taken that creatively crafted written story and whittled it down to 200 words or less?

Well, welcome to the 2021 “Fall Writing Frenzy” challenge hosted by our uber-talented facilitators, Kaitlyn Sanchez and Lydia Lukidis. This year’s challenge offers writers a choice of 13 photographs to use as the catalyst/muse to create a KIDLIT story (from PB to YA) in 200 words or less. More detail about the challenge on Lydia’s blog,

I chose the image below to create my submission. I am confident that this short piece will act as a launching pad that pushes the story into the MG genre.

Please drop a comment – I would love to hear what you think.

Halloween - Credit: Danielle Rae

Wordcount: 200



Chris Garcia-Halenar


Finn jumped.

He thought he was alone.

Silence - except for the thumping of his heart.

He turned -

no one.

“Over here.”

A boy walked from the bushes.

The boy stared, “didn’t mean to scare you.”

“I didn’t see you. Your house around here?”

“Yep. That’s my mailbox next to yours.”

“Cool, we’re neighbors. My dads and I just moved here so we haven’t met a lot of people.”

Finn was excited about the possibility of a new friend, “you play soccer?”

The boy paused, “yeah. I used to.”

“Wanna play sometime?”

The boy’s stare grew more intense. “Yeah…maybe.”

In the distance Finn’s dad called him for lunch.

“You hungry?” he asked the boy.

The boy stared beyond Finn’s shoulder. Finn turned expecting someone behind him.

“Maybe another time. I gotta go,” the boy disappeared back into the bushes.

“You get the mail?” Papa asked.

“Yeah – and I met our neighbor.”

His dads froze.

Finn sensed their fear, “his mailbox is the one next to ours.”

Papa lost color, “That house burned to the ground 12 years ago. No one survived.”

Outside, a soccer ball rolled into the yard unnoticed.

He waited in the bushes -

for another chance.

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