Monday 23 September 2019


The WEP team would like to emphasize once again what a treasure trove of excellent writing the August RED WHEELBARROW prompt was. Picking three out of so many is always difficult, but this time at least we were all unanimous that the outright winner was Kalpanaa. Judge Nick Wilford said:

"An intriguing story that works, I think, because of the questions it raises - sometimes it's good to leave the reader guessing. A hint of the supernatural and a portrait of a strained family dynamic that allows us to empathize with Kelly."

If you haven't already, please visit the previous post to read all about the winners and other news.

It is our pleasure to share with you a guest post from Kalpanaa. As well as winning the critique prize from Chrys Fey, Kalpanaa writes a guest post for WEP and the IWSG newsletter which will be out soon.

Here's Kalpanaa's post:


Are you a writer first and a _______ second? With the blank representing whatever career or money earning occupation you fill your days with that keeps you from your writing but pays your bills?

Some of us don’t have the luxury to just write, others don’t want to be dictated to about what to write, which means that like me, you’re a writer/teacher or a writer/something else. It isn’t exactly an ideal solution because teaching is a job that needs horrible amounts of keeping of records. Since I wrote the story for the Red Wheelbarrow WEP prompt, I've written a couple of blog posts but the bulk of my writing has been lesson plans, lesson reflections, emails and WhatsApp messages.

I consoled myself with these lines from the  book we are reading for the IWSG Book Club. It’s Betsy Lerner’s The Forest for the Trees: An editor’s advice to writers. Betsy writes, “I believe there is still enormous value in a piece of writing that goes no farther than the one person for whom it was intended, that no combination of written words is more eloquent than those exchanged between lovers and friends, or along the pale blue lines of private diaries, where people take communion with themselves.’

Those lines took the edge off my not-writing-anguish.  I’m striving to change my circumstances so that I have more time to write things other than lesson plans.  But my WIP weeps copious tears at this sop – that all writing (even lesson reflections) is writing. There is an urgency to my figuring out my life so that I can work remotely and not at a desk for eight hours. So that I can live, for most of the month, in my cottage in the Himalayas.

That cottage is not a distant dream but a five-and-a-half-hour train journey to a station called Kathgodam where butterflies are the size of small birds, fluttering from blossom to blossom with the bluest sky as a backdrop and the scent of fresh air wafting down the green hills.

writer first

Winding up the hills to the writing cottage

After another hour  up a  winding around many disorienting hills, over bridges spanning exuberant aquamarine rivers hurtling over rocks, a couple of spring-fed lakes with forests on their shores we stop at a market town. I buy eggs, fruit, vegetables and wine before we drive up the last twenty minutes leaving behind the lakes, the hill houses and the paragliding stations.

The garden is asleep under the sun, a new rose has opened her petals. Ingredients are put into the bread-maker, a cup of tea is brewed and I plant myself on the porch with my laptop. Distractions are gentle, the song of a starling, a moonrise, an eventful sky, a bunch of visiting monkeys snacking on blossoms. They don’t count as distractions but as opportunities to stop and stare, to think about what I’ve written and to inspire me to get back to work so that I can reach my word count before wine o’clock. Can’t allow myself that glass of red otherwise.

View from the porch

Writing at the cottage is my plan for the future. In the meantime I sneak in a couple of paragraphs here and there like someone having an affair with writing. I can’t wait for the day when I’m married to my novel.

How do you write? Are you married to your writing or having an affair with it?

Check out ideas from the WEP 2019 Challenges Page for the next prompt. It doesn't have to be horror. October is always our most popular month and we'll have special prizes!!

Also please check out Denise's guest post at the IWSG website. She's talking about, you guessed it, WRITING TO PROMPTS.


Tuesday 10 September 2019

#WEP/IWSG WINNERS' POST - RED WHEELBARROW - Who won the Chrys Fey critique prize this month?

Hello all!

Denise here! 

Welcome to the report of the AUGUST 2019 WEP/IWSG combined challenge. Just a quick reminder-for each WEP Challenge, The Insecure Writer's Support Group Facebook page will have a post available where you can add the link for your entry. This is a great way to get more eyes on your work and to interact with more people!

Nilanjana takes charge of the October challenge which is usually our most exciting month with very exciting prizes. If there's any way you feel you can help Nila with comment counting or blurb writing, put your hand up please!!

As October is our special month where things run amok in a good way, there will be special prizes on offer. This time there are prizes for all three winners. I'll leave it to Nila to tell you about it in the October 1st put-your-thinking-caps-on post.


Starting this month, the RED WHEELBARROW winner will receive a critique from editor, Chrys Fey - see details in the sidebar. And in every challenge till at least the end of 2020, different editors will offer varied critique prizes.

In addition to the critique prize, the winner each month will write a Guest Post here at WEP and a short post in the IWSG newsletter.

Judging winners is still done by the WEP team who read, re-read then often re-re-read entries before passing a shortlist onto a professional editor/judge. Nick Wilford has firmed his commitment as judge for WEP into the foreseeable future.

So sorry if you missed out this month due to the introduction of the 3-day only sign up. Remember the 3-day sign up will continue in October and beyond.

Commenting was fraught this month. Some of the problem was 'Not secure' websites. It's a simple matter to secure a blogger website (instructions in the comments on the last WEP post) but not so simple if you're a self-hosted Word Press site by what I hear. Any advice without paying money?

Let's get to why you landed here today. Who won August???

RED WHEELBARROW inspired so many variations on the theme.  Some very creative souls wrote from the POV of the wheelbarrow.  The team agreed the quality was extremely high, which made it difficult to compile a SHORTLIST and even more difficult for our judge, Nick Wilford, to narrow the list down to 3 winners. 
Thank you all for taking the time to post to the challenge. And thank you to those who read most/all entries and encouraged fellow participants! 
Thanks to our gifted admin, Nilanjana Bose, ably assisted by WEP participant Bernadette Braganza, here is a quick blurb for each entry.


Roland Clarke
 – A wedding, a film shoot, a deceptively young-looking old Uncle holding out a glass of ruby red…has the bride Mina bitten off more than she can chew?

Kalpana – Kelly comes home with an out-of-sync wheelbarrow, but she isn’t wanted, her mother has laid out the welcome mat for her sister instead. Magical realism and family dynamics combine in a captivating flash.

Rebecca M Douglass – Ilya hauls loads in the summer heat and dust, and longs for winter when she and the patch of land she works can come alive.

Sally – Kevin and Laura find an old wheelbarrow and make it into a quirky feature in their new garden. But will their families approve? And does it really matter, since Laura wins a prize for it?

Anstice Brown – Little Tommy is questioned by a spaceman, but he’s keeping mum. Not saying a word about what he saw his mother doing with a red wheelbarrow or what drove her to it.

Susan Rouchard – Francis goes everywhere on her trike, but will she be able to take it to school? Cute flash capturing the innocence, the challenges and the excitement of childhood.

Christopher Scott – a dark and rather disturbing tale of disease and failed science, a plague of apocalyptic proportions, and a lone man’s struggle to do the right thing. Is this how the world will end?

Cindi Summerlin – Suspicion and fear of the unknown leads to blind panic and a spectacular twist in the ending that is truly unexpected.

Cyndi Pride – A maiden entry and  a poignant poetry piece themed on death, loss, renewal, memories and fresh starts.

Hilary Melton-Butcher – A delightful trip down memory lane with a game of Monopoly and a small red wheelbarrow, as a family finds closure after their elders are gone.

Dolorah – Gwenda the troll baby listens to a bedtime story and dreams of Green Apple Fairy Jam..

L.G. Keltner - Nonfiction - The author reminisces of childhood memories that a rusting wheelbarrow brings out.

Denise Covey - Flash Fiction - A visit to enchanting Paris and the place of her mother's birth leads the protagonist home.

Beth Camp - Poetry - A present-day take of Frida Kahlo shopping in an 7-11 store.

Olga Godim - Flash Fiction - Continuing with the happenings at Dinara's pet shop in Rendezvous, a hunt for an Aelurian dragon is on.

Jenny Pearson - Flash Fiction - A wheelbarrow's journey: from abandonment to being the centre of attraction in a couple's garden.

J Lenni Dorner - Poetry - A look at a wheelbarrow's role in carrying the dead.

Elephant's Child - Poetry - A wheelbarrow's view of the seasonal happenings throughout the year and how they affect it (& vice versa).

Pat Garcia - Flash Fiction - An endearing take on how a wheelbarrow can cause a change in a person's life.

Pat Hatt - Flash Fiction - A lonely person. A high school. A stadium and a wheelbarrow. All together, they lead to disaster.

Jamie - Flash Fiction - A fun piece of how two people with special powers save a little girl's life.

The Real Cie - Limericks - A vampire pursues his love for gardening and cooking, ultimately leading to friendship and true love.

Jemi Fraser - Flash Fiction - A tale of a woman's love for gardening, her husband's views of it and a sinister ending.

Dixie Jo Jarchow - Nonfiction - A look back at the memories of the author's parents and how a wheelbarrow & peach tree signify that justice has been served.

Bernadette Braganza - Flash Fiction - A wheelbarrow becomes the getaway vehicle in a robbery heist.

Nilanjana Bose - Non-fiction - The author takes a stroll through multiple memory lanes as she reminisces all the places she's lived as a child.

SHORTLIST - we had a ridiculously long shortlist due to the stellar quality of the entries, but after some discussion we managed to whittle it down and send this list to Nick. A reminder - if you don't comment on any/many posts you're not eligible for a prize.
If you've since finished reading all entries, please leave a comment. We'd love to know.

Rebecca Douglass 
Anstice Brown 
Cindi Summertin 
Beth Camp 
Pat Garcia 

If you didn't make our shortlist, it doesn't mean your entry went unnoticed. Every entry is given consideration and more than one read-through, but in the end, there are entries that make the cut, often because they have something innovative about them.


We're thrilled to announce the winners for the WEP/IWSG collaboration for the RED WHEELBARROW Challenge. 

So (((drum roll)))


Congratulations Kalpanaa!

Nick said: 

"An intriguing story that works, I think, because of the questions it raises - sometimes it's good to leave the reader guessing. A hint of the supernatural and a portrait of a strained family dynamic that allows us to empathize with Kelly."

Kalpana, please link the badge to your story and post it on your blog!



Congratulations Cindi!

Nick said: 

"A tragic tale with a gut-wrenching twist, but I mainly liked this because, again, it leaves the reader to ponder more about the true nature of what has happened. A fear of anything that is 'different' leading family members to turn on each other, quite a poignant and insightful motif."
Cindi, thank you for entering the WEP contest for the first time. Please link the badge to your story and post it on your blog!



goes to:

Congratulations Pat!

Nick said: 

"A sweet story that acts as an antidote to the more grisly themes. Offers a bit of hope amid the gloom!"

Pat, please link the badge to your story and post it on your blog!


Thanks to all of you who took the time to read through all of the entries and comment even though commenting was difficult on some sites. Perhaps the figures are skewed because of this. I counted so many times my eyes were popping out of my head. Forgive me if you believe you should be in the list. 

Monday, September 1st NY time - the cut off for counting comments. At that time, here are those who qualified for this award. We thank you for your dedicated efforts. It means the world to us to see you supporting your fellow writers!
Here are our top contenders! 

Five people (not counting the admin) commented on every or virtually every post.

Jenny Pearson
Elephants Child
Jemi Fraser
 Roland Clarke

All of these individuals are deserving, but alas, only one can receive the award!

The random pick winner using the Random Name Generator is Jenny Pearson! A stellar effort for your first time at WEP. Jenny, please accept the badge on behalf of all the great commenters and display it on your blog! 

Check out ideas from the WEP 2019 Challenges Page for the next prompt - or not. Go with your own idea!

I'm intrigued. Are you?

Thank you all!

We'd love if you'd Tweet this post or share to Facebook or your favorite social media site.

#WEPFF Red Wheelbarrow winners announced. @DeniseCCovey @theIWSG

Come congratulate our first place winner. #WEPFF Red Wheelbarrow Challenge @DeniseCCovey @theIWSG

The #WEPFF writers had some wonderful entries! @DeniseCCovey @theIWSG

When you give the #WEPFF challenge a go, you just never know! @DeniseCCovey @theIWSG #flashfiction