Nutshell Narratives – 2019-02

Countdown to entry deadline


The deadline for entering this contest has passed.  Stay tuned for updates, including short lists and winners …

Congratulations to everyone who entered this contest. There were many unforgettable, brilliant stories entered.  You writers are incredibly talented, endlessly imaginative, and very prolific! 

Our first Nutshell Narratives contest was a resounding success!  Writers from various parts of the world entered sixty-six short stories inspired by the flower prompts in the first contest.  You can learn about the winners and read all the shortlisted stories here:

Previous Contest

Now it’s time to launch a new group of prompts for you creative writers out there!

We invite  you to create a short short story – 350 words or less – that fits the “nutshell narrative” of any prompt on this page.  Use your imagination, and see what stories you see in these few words!

Deadline: Wednesday, May 15, 2019  5 pm ET.  Please read the guidelines below before entering!

Our judge for this contest is Dr. Regina Higgins from Lexington, Kentucky.  Regina is a writer, editor and masterful storyteller.  We are honored to have her as a member of the ZenGarden club, and delighted that she has agreed to read all the new stories in our Early Spring Nutshell Narrative contest and pick a short list and winners.

Guidelines for entering:

  • Pick one of the four prompts, and write a short story about it in 350 words or less. 
  • All entries must be family-friendly
  • You must be a Member to enter – Membership is free and easy!  Free Registration
  • Write your story, then fill out the entry form in the link below
  • You may enter as many times as you like, but each entry requires a separate entry form
  • Accepting entries until Wednesday May 15, 2019 5 pm ET
  • Check this page for contest updates

Contest judges and prizes:

  • Each entry will be previewed by a ZenGarden reader. Entries will be disqualified if they a) are not related to the prompt b) contain excessive spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors or c) if they contain any element that is not family-friendly. 
  • All reviewed entries that qualify will be sent to the contest judge, who will determine all winners
  • A winner will be chosen for each flower prompt
  • A grand prize winner will be chosen from among the four winners
  • Grand prize – $50.00 plus free life-time subscription to and permanent publication on the site
  • The other three winners – free life-time subscription to and permanent publication on the site

Here are the four prompts for our newest contest. Pick your favorite and start imagining!
The current number of entries is posted above each prompt.

“Tulips“: 59

Heading one way,
Then turning around to see
Bright red tulips.


“Shamrocks“: 41

He strides in, whistling,
Carrying shamrocks in bloom –
Something is coming!


“Orchid“: 54

Orchid corsage
Tossed aside, gathering dust –
Another Spring.


“Bluet“: 42

Delicate strength,
Brightening the world around you –
Tiny bluet.


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