Thursday, December 12, 2013

Susanna Leonard Hill's 350-word holiday story challenge

     Story ideas are always popping into my head. I try to write them down, but sometimes the slips of paper get lost, put through the washer, buried under the papers on the embarrassment I call my desk. You get the idea.
     Still, I was surprised to realize that I hadn't written down a single idea that would fit the requirements for Susanna Hill's holiday story contest--a story under 350 words featuring a holiday mishap.
     When I saw down to brainstorm, I ended up with multiple ideas. Way too many ideas. Maybe this is the result of the creative juices generated during the month of November in Tara Lazar's PiBoIdMo? The problem was choosing which idea to run with.
     I hope you enjoy the story below. I'll be second guessing myself (maybe it should have been the
extremely short funny one about the mixed up deliveries!) It's all good. I know it got me in the holiday spirit! If you were expecting a Perfect Picture Book Friday post, Susanna has put that on hold until the New Year. Hope to see you then!


Joe's Merry Techmas   by Wendy Greenley 

      Joe dodged the busy workers. Sweeping up scraps of paper and ribbon wasn’t very exciting, but he was just a first-year elf in Santa’s workshop. With luck, someday he might be part of Santa’s toy-making team.
     “Ho, ho, ho!” Santa strode to his new computer control center. He had posted the gift list and wanted to make sure the elves checked it twice before they wrapped and labeled each present.
     By lunchtime on Christmas Eve the sleigh was halfway packed—ahead of schedule for once!
     Then with one clap of thunder-snow—Santa’s computer screen went blank. 

     No one knew which of the remaining gifts went to which child.
     “We can guess,” one elf suggested.
     “Ho, ho, whoa!” said Santa. “They’re all great gifts. But an easel won’t do if you want a catcher’s mitt.”
     “We still have their letters,” another elf pointed to the overflowing mail bags. 

     "Ho, ho, too slow!” There’s no time to read them again,” said Santa. “We need the list.”
     Santa called repairman after repairman. No one was at work on Christmas Eve.
     The toy-making elves tried to restart the computer. The screen flickered—then went blank again.
     “Can we postpone Christmas?” one elf asked.
     “Ho, Ho, NO!” said Santa. “Help me find a solution!”
     “Maybe I can help,” Joe piped up.
     “How could a first year-elf help?” the oldest elf asked.
     Joe shrugged. “The computer system went haywire while Rudolph and I were playing Candy Cane Crunch. I fooled around with it, and got it to work again.”
     “Ho, ho, give it a go!” said Santa.
     Joe’s fingers flew over the keys. The screen flickered again, and again—and finally came back on.
     “If I was you, I’d print a copy of that list,” said Joe.
     And so they did. Then they finished all the wrapping, labeling and packing.
     Christmas was back on schedule.
     “If I teach you about the computer, would you teach me toy-making?” said Joe.
     “Deal!” everyone chorused.
     “Ho, ho, ho, three cheers for Joe! Welcome to the team!” Santa shouted as he headed skyward.

THE END (343 words!)


     Everyone's stories for the contest will be linked to Susanna's blog (or posted in the comments). I haven't read any of them yet, but I'm sure I'll find some gems to enjoy!

34 comments:

  1. Wendy, I love your poet Santa! This was also an excellent reminder to back up files and print a hard copy of the most important documents. ;)

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  2. Wendy, what a great story! Very clever and original! Lots of luck to you! :)

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    1. Thanks, Elaine. I appreciate that.

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  3. I love this Wendy, esp. the lines from Santa. Very clever!

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    1. Thank you, Carrie! Santa is so much fun to write about.

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  4. Sometimes it's the newbee who saves the day!

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  5. Think that's true for writers, too, Juliana?!

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  6. Very creative, Wendy. Glad Joe got his promotion. :-)

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  7. Ho Ho It's a GO! I chuckled at Santa's Ho Ho's! Glad Joe was at work that day!

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    1. Christmas is all about the miracles, Stacy. :)

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  8. So original and fun, Wendy! Santa's entered the computer age!

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    1. Thanks, Deborah. He pretends to be low-tech, but I don't know how he does it otherwise!

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    1. He seems like a man of few words, so it seemed to fit. :)

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  10. Fun story, Wendy! I love the "ho ho whoa!" "ho ho no!" "ho ho too slow!" :) And how great that Joe knew how to fix the computer because he and Rudolph had been playing Candy Cane Crunch :) It's true - it's always the youngsters who know how to deal with new-fangled technology :) And I'm glad Joe was able to help put and get a boost toward his goal of toy-making as a result! Thanks so much for joining in the holiday contest fun!

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    1. Thank YOU, Susanna, for holding the contest and inspiring so many great stories!

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  11. Candy Cane Crunch...that is so funny! I can just imagine them sitting around playing. Cute entry, Wendy!

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    1. Thanks, Penny. I hope candy canes are acceptable reindeer food!

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  12. Very nice, Wendy. I love how the underdog saves the day :) And I loved the variations on Ho, Ho, Ho!

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    1. I appreciate the kind words, Laura! :)

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  13. I like your upgrading of Santa's workshop and it is always the young ones who are tech savvy. good job with the Ho Ho and story.

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    1. This is true in my home "workshop" for sure!

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  14. Cool! I like the story a lot! I love the Candy Cane Crunch. :)

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    1. We both had tech-y stories, Erik! Great minds. . . .

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  15. Joe is one wise elf and very practical: “If I was you, I’d print a copy of that list.” So much fun!

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    1. I think he's the kind of practical I wish I was. :)

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  16. This is so adorable! I just love your story. The candy cane crunch has so much kid appeal. The rhyme is fun and I love your ending. Thanks for entering so we could all read your fabulous story!

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    1. Thanks so much, Robyn! There are SO many great stories, I appreciate your words on mine.

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  17. Love this, Wendy! It's the first I've seen with a technology focus. We are, after all, in the 21st century. ��

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    1. I kick and scream sometimes but there's no way around it. (and most tech is for the better!)

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