The 777 Challenge: an excerpt from “hail the pumpkin king”


Find novel bits + bobs on my mood board for “hail the pumpkin king”!

A few days ago, I was tagged by the spectacularly talented Christina Im (I’m not even kidding, check out her publishing credits and literary ‘zine-running work; little did you know she’s actually way cooler than all of us) to do the 777 Challenge.

The challenge: share 7 lines from page 7 of your manuscript + tag 7 bloggers.

Let us first pause to acknowledge the fact that I was so confused about how to interpret the whole “seven lines” thing (seven lines as they appear formatted on the page or seven sentences or dialogue lines or what? Ladies and gentlemen, I present—my brain) that I finally gave up and decided to share seven sentences from the 7th page of my current work-in-progress “hail the pumpkin king.”

This is an excerpt from a scene in which the protagonist Winifred Cole begins to have premonitions of disasters to come:

the dreams started the year before my parents died.

i was nine years old when i woke one night screaming. Grandmother hovered in the doorway as i tearfully tried to explain to my mother that there was a fire, with angry red flames that licked the sky and turned the clouds to ash. Mama just cradled me to her, wrapping me tight in my quilt, saying that it was only a dream and there was nothing to fear. all the while, Grandmother stood watching, her expression grave and sad as i’d never seen before.

six months later i had the dream again, but this time i didn’t scream—instead i woke outside, mid-stride, to find i had been running through our pumpkin patch in my sleep. shocked, i tripped over a long vine and landed in the remains of a rotting gourd while over my head, an ivory moon shone bright and full, washing everything in its milky glow.

I nominate…

Aubrey Cann || Danielle Shipley || Mac Ford || Pseudonymous || Reagan Dyer
Susan Francino + Tyler-Rose Counts

**Let me know in the comments if you post a response on your blog!


Samantha Chaffin

What do you think of the excerpt I shared? If I didn’t tag you but you want to do the 777 Challenge, post a 7-line/sentence snippet from your current WIP in the comments OR share the link to your response! I would love to read it.


21 thoughts on “The 777 Challenge: an excerpt from “hail the pumpkin king”

  1. Christina says:

    Aww, thank you so much for the kind words! ❤ And ohh my goodness, that excerpt is GORGEOUS and thoroughly chilling. I've always loved your style and, to the surprise of literally no one, I continue to love it. Super interesting that you're writing in mostly lowercase—is that a deliberate stylistic choice?

    Anyway, thanks for doing the tag! I hope you had fun with it, and best of luck with HtPK!

    • samchaffin says:

      Thank YOU for tagging me! 🙂 And I’m so glad you liked the excerpt! This novel has been pretty different for me in that I haven’t really shared it with anyone, but all of my friends know it’s happening because I keep talking ABOUT it. O.o Psyching me out, man. So it would be accurate to say I’m more relieved that it doesn’t totally suck than anything else. Haha

      And yes, a stylistic choice for this first draft anyway. It’s been hard to train myself to forgo grammar. 😉 But something about this story has always felt a little weird and nontraditional for me, so I wanted the style to reflect it.

      • samchaffin says:

        Girl, when I’m getting ready to send out to beta readers, you will be top o’ the list! 🙂 I am so happy you liked the excerpt! Like I said above, I got insanely nervous right before it went live, so to have all of you flooding me with your kind comments is pretty much mind-blowing. Thank you. ❤

  2. Reagan says:

    This is MARVELOUS! And thank you for tagging me, my dear.
    I will post a response sometime this week…. *wracks brain to figure out which seven lines to do, do I split them up/lump them together…?*

    Anyway, I cannot wait to read more of this novel. I simply cannot. It is wonderful and your writing is beautiful.

    • samchaffin says:

      Aahhh! Thank you so much, and YAY I’m so excited you’re going to do the challenge! Can’t wait to see what you decide to post – though I’m afraid I have no answers for you regarding your brain-wracking. If I go back to wondering if I did this challenge correctly, I’m going to drive myself crazy. I CAN’T GO BACK.

  3. Topaz says:

    Oh my goodness, you have such an incredible sense of atmosphere – this was thoroughly chilling (and what an interesting stylistic choice to write in lower case! Funnily enough, I don’t think I’ve ever seen long-form prose written in solely lower case, so this is such a unique twist). Lovely work. I adore your writing, honestly. ❤

  4. jarofsomething says:

    Yay, we finally get a sneak peek of “Hail the Pumpkin King”! I love it (it’s so chilling and mysterious and exciting and I really, really want to read more), and I’m definitely gonna do this challenge soon.

  5. dtkitay says:

    This is awesome! I’m so excited to see what comes before and after. I like the choice to write in lowercase. It lends it a certain innocence and another layer intrigue.

Leave a reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s