Hi Everyone, and WELCOME to The Writing Fairy website. I'm Dorothea Helms, freelance writer, poet, book author, fiction dabbler, writing instructor, keynote speaker, humorist, wife, mother and slave to my English Bulldog, Margaret. My website is undergoing a facelift, boob lift, liposuction, weight loss program ... wait a minute - those are things I need personally. Sheesh. But my website IS in transition after being neglected for a LONG time. My goal is to inspire writers; my method humour (or humor in the U.S.). Enjoy!

Coaxing closet writers to emerge and make their magic known!

Archive for 'Humour-Writing Contest'

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED – it was tough to narrow it down to 10, and even tougher for the final judges to choose the winners, as all the entries were excellent.


First-round: Lois Gordon, Rich Helms
Final: Ruth Walker, Tim Bete


Carol Burnside
J. Graham Ducker
Lorraine Gordon
Bette Hodgins
Pauline Johnson
Kathleen Martin
Annette McLeod
Jacquelyn O’Brien
Suzanne Robinson


FIRST PLACE : Kathleen Martin

Bite the bullet hard
Get your teeth into its shell
I can’t. They’re soaking

SECOND PLACE: Pauline Johnson

Teenage angst appears
She wants to be different
Just like all her peers

THIRD PLACE: Carol Burnside

I promised her that
I would never repeat this
so you can’t either


If I discover
where I am supposed to be,
I’ll probably move.

Stay tuned for the next Writing Fairy contest.

OK folks – we held the first-round judging at my home last evening, and there was a whole lot of giggling going on as I read the entries out loud. In fact, I heard some chuckles, guffaws and even belly laughs.

Each senryu poem was printed onto a separate piece of paper with a number only, so the judging was blind. The words – and syllables – had to stand on their own.

It was a tough job, but we narrowed down the list to 10 senryu entries.

The finalists are, in alphabetical order by last name:

Carol Burnside
J. Graham Ducker
Lorraine Gordon
Bette Hodgins
Pauline Johnson
Kathleen Martin
Annette McLeod
Jacquelyn O’Brien
Suzanne Robinson


YUP – Someone has TWO entries in the top 10! That’s the way the senryu crumbles.

The top 10 entries are winging their way to our final judges.


The Writing Fairy

The Writing Fairy® Senryu, or Humorous Haiku, Contest
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: 11:59 p.m. EST, Monday, September 15, 2008

For my third Writing Fairy Humour-Writing Contest, I’m exploringe something a little different. THIS TIME, your challenge is to write a senryu – the Japanese term for a humorous poem that is similar to haiku, but rather than being focused on nature, showcases human nature – often involving irony or satire.

Write a poem of 17 syllables in total, formatted in three lines:
5 syllables
7 syllables
5 syllables

Here are some senryu examples:

Seventeen seems long
Until you try to enter
Then it is too short

Fairies light and lithe
Populate my dreams at night
Where the hell’s Tom Cruise?

Children are so cute
Make our memories complete
Do they ever leave?

Words come quick and fun
Crossword puzzle lures me in
Takes over my life

Writing is my thing
Keeps me busy day and night
Sheesh, my right hand hurts

The nature of haiku is nature.
The nature of senryu is human nature.
This is NOT haiku or senryu


The opportunity to become an award-winning, published poet
The opportunity to win cash prizes
$100 First Place, $50 Second Place, $25 Third Place

Click for complete Rules and Regulations

Ruth E. Walker
Ruth E. Walker is a poet, writer, playwright, and editor. A writer and editor for the provincial government, she teaches creative writing in workshops, retreats, and community programs, and maintains a freelance editing and writing service.

Ruth especially enjoys working with new and developing writers of all ages. Since 2002, she has facilitated an ongoing writers’ workshop for the Oshawa Senior Citizen’s Centre. In 2007, Ruth was named one of four artists in residence to the Durham District School Board. She is working on pilot project with Durham Alternative Secondary School (DASS) funded by the Ontario Arts Council. An ArtsSmarts participant in 2006/07, Ruth worked with two Grade 11/12 English classes at DASS on a collaborative art and poetry project. Inside Out Minds was published spring 2007, anthologizing students’ poetry and artwork, and was selected for display at the National ArtsSmarts Exhibition in P.E.I..

Selected publications include: Contemporary Verse 2, River King Poetry Supplement (US), Rain Dog (UK) Canadian Children’s Literature, Canadian Architecture and Design, Canadian Living, The Toronto Sun, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, Oshawa/Whitby This Week; online at UBC’s Terry and Creative Science Journal, Words on Paper, and Regina Weese; several poetry and fiction anthologies; and one-act plays produced at Whitby Courthouse Theatre and StoneCircle Theatre, Ajax.

Ruth won the 1996 Canadian Living Short Story prize; the 1998 & 2005 Dan Sullivan Memorial Poetry Contest; 1999 semi-finalist Chapters-Robertson Davies Competition; 2001 winner Ghost Story Contest, Trent University Writers and Readers Fair; 2003 2nd place Larry Turner Award for Non-fiction; 2007 two entries tied for 2nd place in The Writers’ Circle of Durham Region Short Story Contest.

A founding editor for LICHEN Arts & Letters Preview, Ruth is a past president of The Writers’ Circle of Durham Region and helped to found Words in Whitby, an annual reading series. Married and the mother of four, Ruth writes and lives in Whitby, Ontario.

Tim Bete
Tim Bete (pronounced “beet”) is a former newspaper columnist and author of two books, In The Beginning…There Were No Diapers (2005, Sorin Books) and Guide to Pirate Parenting (2007, Cold Tree Press).

Tim’s parenting advice has been published in dozens of newspapers, magazines and Web sites, including The Christian Science Monitor, Atlanta Parent, Big Apple Parent, Northwest Family, FathersWorld.com and ParentingHumor.com.

He is married with four children and has 19 combined years as a dad — 133 in dog years — which makes him an expert at answering the questions, “Are we there yet?” “Why?” and “What’s that smell?”

Formerly the editor of Early Childhood News magazine, Tim has written advertising copy for General Mills, IBM, Rayovac and Worldbook. He is currently the director of the University of Dayton’s Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop.

Tim’s hobbies include pushing his luck, skating on thin ice and fishing his kids’ toys out of the toilet.

The Writing Fairy® Senryu, or Humorous Haiku, Contest

  1. This contest is open to writers 18 years of age and older.
  2. Prizes (in Canadian funds) will be awarded as follows:
    First Place: $100.00
    Second Place: $50.00
    Third Place: $25.00
  3. Entries (in English only) must be your original, unpublished writing that has not been submitted elsewhere for publication or to any other writing competitions simultaneously.
  4. Send your entries in the body of an email to fairy@thewritingfairy.com
  5. Entries MUST adhere to the rules of THREE LINES: FIVE syllables on the first line, SEVEN syllables on the second line, FIVE syllables on the third line.
  6. The deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m. EST, Monday, September 15, 2008.
  7. Entrants must agree that if they win, they will permit non-exclusive rights to publish their winning entries on The Writing Fairy website at www.thewritingfairy.com.
  8. The entry fee PER POEM is $5 Canadian, or send THREE SENRYU POEMS FOR $10, to be paid in one of two ways:
    • PayPal
    • via Canadian Money Order or cheque
    • via International Money Order payable in Canadian Funds

    Make cheque/money order out to “THE WRITING FAIRY”
    Mail to:

    Dorothea Helms, S10895 Sideroad 17 RR #1, Sunderland, ON L0C 1H0

    REMEMBER – send $5.00 for EACH POEM, or send THREE POEMS for $10.00.

  9. First-round judges will narrow the entries to 10 Finalists, which will be sent to the Final Judges.
  10. Winners will be contacted by phone and mail. Their names will be officially announced on Saturday, October 11, 2008 on The Writing Fairy website.
  11. KEEP A COPY OF YOUR ENTRY! NONE OF THE ENTRIES WILL BE RETURNED. Once judging is over and the winners announced, entries will be destroyed. Decisions of the judges are final.


In my previous contest, which required people to record their submissions, the maximum time limit was 3 minutes. We received many entries that were 10 and 11 minutes long. Needless to say, they were eliminated.

REMEMBER – FOR THIS CONTEST, it’s writing only and the length is EXACTLY 17 syllables in total: 5 syllables in the first line, 7 syllables in the second line, 5 syllables in the third line.

If you don’t know what a syllable is, look it up.