The Royal Academy of Bards

is proud to present

The Bard Challenge #24: Good Things Come In BIG Packages and SMALL Ones Too

The Rools


After the last challenge I asked Bards what kind of challenges they preferred. The overwhelming answers were that they wanted to return to classic X&G (and Amazons…OZ loves Amazons) and they really weren't fond of the ‘required word list' type challenge.

Okay…I listened…sorta. <.g.>

There are actually two categories of challenges this time.

Category 1: Write a classic X&G story…

which invents (at least) ONE of the following Solstice traditions. How you introduce or invent the tradition is entirely up to you…you can base your story around it or merely mention it as part of your story…your choice. (Including Amazons gets you OZ's undying love and gratitude…okay, that was a bit over the top…how about 5 bonus points <.g.>)


•  Secret Senticles (Santa)

•  Mistletoe

•  Decorating A Tree

•  Solstice Greeting Cards

•  Singing Carols

•  Wrapping Presents

•  Door Wreaths

•  Yule Logs

•  Candy Canes

•  Ringing Bells

The catch…it must be more than 1000 words.



Category 2: Write an any character/fandom story (other than X&G) which is based on ONE of the following prompt words:


•  Ribbon

•  Jolly

•  Snow

•  Candle

•  Elf

•  Sleigh

•  Pine Cone

•  Star

•  Holly

•  Reindeer

The catch…it must be less than 250 words.

Now ya got it…BIG packages and SMALL packages.

There will be ONE Best Story and ONE Honorable Mention Winner chosen by the readers in each category.


ROOOL #1a: ALL entries for Category 1 must contain more than 1000 words. How many more than 1000 is up to you. <.g.> I will be using MSWord to verify the minimum word count. It must also contain (at least) ONE of the traditions mentioned. There are no bonuses for using more than one tradition, however feel free to do so if your story warrants it.

ROOOL #1b: ALL entries for Category 2 must contain no more than 250 words. I will be using MSWord to verify the word count. My count is the official count. It must use ONE of the prompts listed above.

ROOOL #1c: You may enter ONE story in Category 1. Please indicate the tradition selected.

ROOOL #1d: You may enter up to 10 stories in Category 2. One each per prompt. Please indicate the prompt selected.

ROOOL #1e: Titles and disclaimers do not count for or against your word count.

ROOOL #2: You may enter stories in both categories.

ROOOL #3a: All competing entries will be posted anonymously. However, please put all identifying info on your entry (bard name/email for feedback). We will remove it prior to posting and return it after the voting period.

ROOOL #3b: If you choose to participate but not compete in either voting category, your entry/entries will be posted with your identification on it. Since it is not anonymous, you are allowed to include any characters that belong to you (from previous posted stories). Please indicate, clearly on your entry/entries whether or not you are competing.

ROOOL #4: Please send your entries in MSWord or equivalent. Rtf is preferred. Please let our Munchkins do the coding. It keeps them out of trouble and off the streets.

ROOOL #5a: If you are competing, please do not reveal your participation to anyone who has the potential for being a voter…the only exception being…

ROOOL #5b: You may use a beta reader, but please keep the number of beta readers to a reasonable limit…anything more than three will be considered a violation of…

ROOOL #5c: Posting any of your entries on any other sites or lists (private or public) before the end of the contest is a BIG NO NO.

We ask those entrants who are only participating but not competing to also voluntarily obey this roool for the duration of the contest. Once the contest is over and the winners are announced, feel free to post EVERYWHERE,

ROOOL #6: There is no number six.

ROOOL #7: Please do not stuff the ballot box or lobby for votes...we at the Academy have gotten very good at identifying this behavior. We won't publicly embarrass you but we will quietly eliminate you from the contest.

The Academy folks are everywhere and know everything…we will find out.


The "Roools Committee": aka the Munchkins and I, reserve the final say on everything and anything concerning this challenge.

It's our sandbox. <.snicker.>

DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES IS December 18th…Send entries to:

I will acknowledge receipt of it within 24 hours, if I do not…please send it again to or contact me at

2 Winners and 2 Honorable Mentions will get a gift certificate from their choice of one of several popular online retailers and a Munchkin designed personalized framed tile commemorating their win.


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