Fall Writing Frenzy 2022

It’s contest time again!

I haven’t written much this year, but if there’s one contest that’s going to dig in its claws and drag me back from a writing slump kicking and screaming, it’s Fall Writing Frenzy. 😄 🍁 👻 🎃

This contest is special. Two years ago, in 2020, it was this contest that brought my critique group together and we’re still going strong today. One year ago, in 2021, I was selected as one of the winners in this contest.

I’ll be honest—I didn’t think I would enter this year. It took awhile for any inspiration to strike. But I had a tiny seed of an idea and I couldn’t completely abandon it. Of course, I had to make things difficult and write my entry in limerick (I wrote last year’s entry in haiku)…why do I do this to myself? 😅 It was a challenge, but I kept opening my laptop and tinkering little by little until, lo and behold, I had a finished story.

So, for this year’s contest, we had to choose one of 14 images provided and write a story about it in 200 words or less. Read more about Fall Writing Frenzy and see the complete rules here.

Here is the image I chose, and my story is below. I hope you enjoy it. 🦴 (One caveat—this story is a nod to the struggling writer, so if you’re not a writer, you may not appreciate it as much. 😉)


By Jessica Hinrichs
198 words
Here lies old Mister Jones,
a mysterious sight of unknowns.
But how did he get here?
A corpse on the frontier,
reduced to a bathtub of bones.

I asked all his friends ‘bout his story,
expecting to learn something gory.
Instead, what I found
knocked my boots off the ground.
He’d been destined for fortune and glory!

It turns out that Jones liked to write.
His future had looked rather bright.
But he didn’t know
getting published is slooow
or that waiting would be such a plight.

His debut had been long awaited.
At first, he was feeling elated.
But all of the waiting
was highly frustrating
and left him depressed and deflated.

So he set up his tub in a nook,
intending to read a good book.
He’d just settled in,
was about to begin,
and then death slithered in like a crook.

In his youth, he was dignified.
Now he’s haggard and hollow-eyed.
He’d been waiting so long,
(and this part feels wrong)
he just keeled over, dried up, and died.

The publishing rigamarole
had swooped in and stolen his soul.
And now he’s deceased.
Mister Jones, rest in peace.
Writing had been a worthy goal.


Fall Writing Frenzy 2021

It’s contest time again!

This particular contest holds a special place in my heart because this is the contest that brought my critique group together ONE YEAR AGO! Last year, we dubbed ourselves The Frenzy Friends in honor of the Fall Writing Frenzy contest that brought us together, and the name has stuck.

It’s hard to believe we’ve been together for a year already, but on the other hand, these special ladies have become great friends and I feel like I’ve known them forever. 🥰

So, for the Fall Writing Frenzy contest, we were given some fall pics to choose from as our writing prompts. Our stories can’t go over 200 words. But, other than that, there aren’t many rules. We can write funny, spooky, scary, dark—basically, whatever we think about when we look at the picture.

Read more about the Fall Writing Frenzy contest here.

I usually write picture books. But, for my contest entry this year, I went for a darker mood piece that definitely has a more middle-grade vibe. And then I decided, what the heck, I’ll make it interesting and write it in haiku.🤓

Here is the pic I chose, and my story is below. Enjoy! 🍁


A Haiku

By Jessica Hinrichs

196 words

I was ten years old
the day Miss Annabelle died.
She was my neighbor.

My very best friend.
Closest thing I’d ever had
to a grandparent.

She made the best tea
this side of Mississippi.
Tea and biscuits, both.

When Mama told me,
my heart felt like it shattered.
Grief-stricken, I cried.

A deluge of tears.
I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t speak.
Pain unparalleled.

A few days later,
we walked to the funeral,
somber and solemn.

Leaves crunched beneath us.
An earthy scent lingered, like
ashes to ashes.

The white church stood out
against the vibrant backdrop
of orange, gold, yellow.

How beautiful, and
how odd to notice beauty
in the midst of grief.

And those bells. Those bells.
The ethereal chiming. 
Still now, it haunts me.

A sorrowful song,
bidding eternal peace, and
a final goodbye.

I’ve tried to forget.
But, when I hear church bells, or
see the autumn leaves,

I can’t help but think
of that fateful day she left.
I miss my sweet friend.

But, Miss Annabelle
has been gone for two years now.
Two heartbreaking years.

So, why? I ask, why?
Why is she sitting on my
front porch swing right now?