June 2018 Challenge: Where’s Your Wonderland?

Even the best of us fall through portals every now and then—Alice tumbled down the rabbit hole, the Pevensie children got lost in the wardrobe, and Harry and the gang tripped through too many magical gateways to count.

This month, we want you to invent the kookiest, zaniest, most rabbit-hole-y wonderland you can imagine! You must create a new world from your imagination—don’t use worlds or names that have been created by other authors.

Describe how you got there. Did you crawl through the cupboard under the stairs? Was the school janitor’s closet as mysterious as it always seemed? No journey starts until you’ve walked through the door. 

There’s certainly an art to creating a new world within our own world, so we’ve put together a how-to guide for you to brush up on the common rules and suggestions for this type of world-building.

Normally this guide is only available to members, but during the month of June everyone gets free access to the guide so that you can use it to help with your challenge entry.

Now that you’ve crossed the threshold into the unknown, what do you see? Are you trapped in a land of wicked faeries? Is it just like our world but the ground is made of slippery banana peels? Do the unicorns tell bad knock-knock jokes? The exciting thing about portals is that anything can be on the other side, so let your imagination run wild.

For this challenge, we’re not requiring you to craft a complete story. We just want you to set the stage, open the door, and show us a new world in a single opening chapter of less than 1000 words. Your single chapter longform should: 

  1. Describe the setting (what does it look like?)
  2. Introduce some characters (who lives there?)
  3. Explain the rules of the world (what’s it like?)

Who knows? Maybe later on you’ll turn your world into the next Narnia. We encourage you to be as creative as possible—give yourself some time to let your ideas build and create a doorway to a whole new world! You have until June 23rd to complete the challenge. Put your writer’s cap on and don’t forget to have fun! We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Do the Challenge


1. Theme of the month: Where’s Your Wonderland? – Your challenge this month is to write a SINGLE CHAPTER LONGFORM in less than 1000 words about a portal into another world. Describe the setting (what does it look like?), introduce some characters (who lives there?), and explain the rules of the world (what’s it like?). Do not use a world or characters from an existing book or movie.

Read this guide first to learn more about this type of world-building. Remember, all stories submitted to the challenge must follow our community guidelines.

2. Choose your artwork – Browse our library of images to find the artwork or artist that inspires you, or search for a specific theme (like “mystery“). Select the LONGFORM format.

3. Submit – When you have finished your book, select “June Challenge” on the details page before you publish publicly. Choose the option for Single Chapter Longform. You may only submit one entry to the challenge, so make it great!

4. Eligibility – Any Storybird member with a Regular account can participate in our writing challenges. Students are not eligible. Paid membership is not required but it will allow you receive beautiful printable certificates for each challenge.

5. Moderation – Paid membership ensures your work is reviewed within 1-2 days. Otherwise, your work will be reviewed on a first-come, first serve basis and can take up to several weeks to be visible in the public library. We try to accelerate Challenge entries because of the short timeframe, but there are no guarantees. You may redeem Crowns for Express Moderation.

6. Due date – To be eligible to be featured, your book must be submitted to moderation on or before June 23, 2018. Selected entries will be featured on the Storybird blog on July 1.

Do the Challenge 

Please note: You must have a Regular account to enter the challenge—Student accounts are not eligible. Books must be published from Regular accounts to appear in the public library and to be featured on our blog. Books published from Student accounts are only visible to members of their class and do not appear in the public library.

Badge artwork by Kelley McMorris, Featured art by Nidhi

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