One-Word-Prompt Writing Challenges – Two Quick, Easy Ways to Stretch Your Imagination

What can you do with a one-word-prompt? Esther Chilton has two great suggestions – a limerick or a five-word story.

Writing & Photo Challenge Host Interviews #4

I’m thrilled to introduce Esther Chilton, as the hostess of a couple of fun writing challenges. 

Who doesn’t love a limerick? They make us smile and so I thought with lockdown, and all the worries surrounding that, we needed something to cheer us up.

Some of you might also know her as one of Carrot Ranch’s Rodeo Judges. 

She’s also a prize-winning author as well as a superb editor and tutor. If you need editorial services, she comes highly recommended, and trust me, if you’re an author, you need editorial services. So, with no further ado, I proudly present Esther Chilton.

I’d like to firstly thank Marsha for having me on her blog. I haven’t ever been interviewed about any of the challenges I run so I’m very excited! 😊

Esther Chilton

Q. What prompted you to begin to host a writing challenge? 

When I first started a blog, it was for my students at The Writers Bureau. I wanted to offer a few extras in addition to the writing course, such as writing tips, publication news and writing examples. Gradually, I started to post all sorts of different writing related posts, from some of my short stories, to funny typos you see on signs or in newspapers, to unusual words and their meanings. 

I can’t quite remember how the first challenge came about. It may have been a comment left on my blog about one of my short stories, so it got me thinking about holding a short story competition. I did a couple of those, before deciding upon some shorter, weekly challenges. I currently have a Five-Word Challenge on a Thursday, where I give a word prompt and the challenge is to write a story in five words, using that word somewhere in the story. 

The limerick challenge is a more recent one. Who doesn’t love a limerick? They make us smile and so I thought with lockdown, and all the worries surrounding that, we needed something to cheer us up and so that sparked my limerick challenge, which takes place on a Monday. Again, I provide a word prompt, but it’s not a requirement to use the word, unlike my Thursday challenge.   

Esther Chilton

I find that the shorter ones attract the most responses – people are busy and so have time to write a Five-Word Story or Limerick, rather than a lengthier challenge.

Q. How long have you been doing this?

On Esther’s blog.

I’ve been blogging since 2013 and started my first challenge the following year. 

Esther Chilton

Q. How much time does it take? Is it all-consuming so that you don’t blog about anything else? 

The two challenges I currently run don’t take too long. I love reading all the responses and then coming up with a fresh challenge for the next week. Some of the challenges I’ve run in the past, especially for longer stories, take up a lot of time and I found I was struggling to have time to blog about anything else. With the current two, I still have time for other blog posts, featuring guest writers, book reviews and all sorts! 

Esther Chilton

Q. How did you determine the genre of writing for the challenge? Do you have more than one?

I’ve had all sorts of challenges. Some have taken up a lot of time, as I mentioned, while with others, I’ve sometimes found that fewer people take up the challenge and so I try something new. I find that the shorter ones attract the most responses – people are busy and so have time to write a Five-Word Story or Limerick, rather than a lengthier challenge. At the moment, I’ll stick with these two challenges. I love them! But I’m sure they’ll change at some point in the future.

Esther Chilton

Q. What steps do you take to get your challenge ready? 

I prepare my blog post challenges by adding in everyone’s responses from the previous week and then I’ll set a new challenge. This sometimes takes a while – I try and think of a good word that will spark ideas and entice people into participating. I can always tell when I haven’t come up with such a good prompt as I get fewer responses – so I always try and come back with a good word for the following week!  

Esther Chilton

If you’re tempted to give a challenge a go, then go for it!

Q. How did you attract people to participate? / How do people usually find out about your challenge?

As my blog has been going for a few years now, I have my regular followers who participate. They will often share the challenge on their blog or on social media, so I sometimes get new participants that way. Some people stumble on the challenge by accident and then they’re hooked! Many of my participants are my students, while others are authors, fellow bloggers and people from all walks of life!

Esther Chilton

Q. Is your challenge like a club where you put a widget on your website or embed something on your post?

No. It’s just an ordinary blog post at the moment.

Esther Chilton

Q. Do you have help reading all the entries? 

No. I read them all myself. As my challenges are short, it’s manageable. When I’ve held challenges that have a longer word count, it’s been more difficult, but those challenges have tended to be held over a longer period to make it easier for me to read them all. 

Esther Chilton

Q. What do you do with the entries – like do you ever publish anthologies, award widget certificates?

For the current challenges, I just publish the responses on my blog the following week. But for the longer challenges I’ve held, I’ve offered prizes such as an Amazon voucher or book.

Esther Chilton

Q. What else would you like to tell my readers?

If you’re tempted to give a challenge a go, then go for it! And if you’d like to have a go at any one of my challenges, or to read others’ responses, you’ll find them on: https://esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com

Esther Chilton

Biography

Esther has regularly written for writing magazines such as Writers’ Forum and Writing Magazine. She has also had her work featured in a diverse range of magazines and newspapers, including The Guardian, Best of British, Your Cat, Prima, My Weekly and The People’s Friend, to name a few. 

Winner of Writing Magazine, Writers’ News, The Global Short Story and several other writing competitions and awards, Esther has also judged writing competitions. 

For over ten years, Esther has been a tutor for The Writers Bureau and after requests from students, she put together a collection of her stories – The Siege. Esther’s latest book of short stories, A Walk In the Woods is out now.   

Esther has been working on her first non-fiction book to help writers get published – Publication Guaranteed (Well, Almost!). It’s the first in her A Helping Hand For Writers series and is available as an e-book. A paperback will follow shortly. 

In addition to tutoring, Esther works as a freelance copyeditor offering an editing, guidance and advice service for authors and writers. She has edited novels, non-fiction books, articles and short stories. You can find out more about it here: https://esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com/editing-proofreading-and-advice-service/

If you’d like Esther’s help, or would like to know more about what she can do for you, please get in touch: estherchilton@gmail.com

Links: 

Website

Blog

Twitter

LinkedIn

To buy Publication Guaranteed (Well, Almost!):

Amazon UK

Amazon US

For The Siege:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

For A Walk in the Woods:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Posts in the Challenge Series

Author: Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, author, blogger and retired teacher/consultant - Promoting Hobby Blogging

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