Archive for September, 2013

Grab a book, any book. Open, read, and write!

September 21, 2013

It’s International Book Week. The rules: Grab the closest book to you, turn to page 52. What is the 5th sentence?

“That was the one sure truth.”

Writing Prompts:

1. Allow this sentence you discovered as the first sentence in your scene, story, poem, or essay you write today. Care to share in the comment section?

2. Use this sentence as the last sentence in your scene, story, poem, or essay you write.

3. Let this sentence become inspiration for any piece of art work.

4. Play a game with a group of friends. Use your sentence to tell the first sentence of a story. Turn to the next person who begins the next sentence with the first letter of your last word. (If you use mine as an example, the person would begin with a word starting with “t.”) Go around the group until you reach a satisfying conclusion. Each person tells the story one sentence at a time.

The title of the book I reached for without looking? Carson McCuller’s The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

This writing idea I took from Facebook, although it wasn’t a writing idea on this site. . . just a fun game to play!

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Writing, Reading, and Publishing Cycles

September 19, 2013

Have you ever noticed life is made up of cycles? I’m not talking about the seasons of the year, but of good-things-happen-to-you and bad-things-happen-to-you cycles. This past week the universe presented me with a good cycle.

I met an editor regarding a project I’ve worked on for the past couple of years. He made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. No contract yet, so I’m not announcing anything specific but it feels right. Two days later an editor called from a literary magazine letting me know my short essay will run in their December issue.

Yesterday I discovered I will become a grand-aunt. Now the only better news would be if the grand-niece or grand-nephew could convince her/his parents to move to Northern California so I can bond and babysit. Then it would be a FABULOUS cycle, indeed. But I’m getting greedy, aren’t I?

Do you ever notice your writing may endure cycles, too? There are some days, weeks and even months when creative ideas and words just fly onto the screen or page. Then. There. Are. Others. It’s. Like. Pulling. Gum. Out. Of. A. Toddler’s. Hair.

I even have reading cycles. During high school and college, when reading for school was all I could handle, skimming a no-brain magazine was all I could handle. As a teacher I read books my students would love, and would sneak in an adult book or two on a weekend.

Now I read a little bit of everything. Children’s. Adult. Fiction. Nonfiction. But in the latest few week cycle, I haven’t read anything impressive. However, a few books have been gifted to me that look enticing. My new reading cycle is promising.

Writing Prompts:

1. Write about a past or present cycle in your life. How have you dealt with it?

2. List ways you handle the negative cycles and turn them into positives.

3. Write a poem, essay or short story using the word cycle to inspire you.

Stories and Art by Students Under Age 12

September 17, 2013

Fridge Flash–Fiction and Art by Kids

SmokeLong Quarterly is excited to announce a new series called Fridge Flash—flash fiction written and illustrated by kids. We are continuously struck by the wonderful spirit and imagination of children’s art and writing, and wanted to celebrate that by pulling those creations off the refrigerator and publishing them here.

Guidelines

Stories, art or a combination of such must have been conceived of and written by someone under the age of 12. However, we would ask that an adult over the age of 18 please submit this work to us with permission to publish it online.
If the piece is a story, whenever possible we would like to see a photograph of the writing itself (scrawls, misspellings, colors and all). Where necessary, the parent or guardian can also provide a “translation” for us!
Please send all attachments as .jpg files.
Please include a short bio and photo of the child (if you prefer us not to use the child’s full name or photo, that’s fine, too—just let us know).
Stories we select will be published here on SmokeLong Quarterly‘s blog.

Submit here:
https://smokelong.submittable.com/submit/23156

Poetry and Essay Contests for Kids

September 7, 2013

Who can enter?
Students in grades K-12 in the United States and Canada

Why should a student enter?
Thousands in cash and prizes awarded to students and teachers in each contest.

Student awards

Top Ten winners in each grade division (K-3; 4-6; 7-9; 10-12 for poetry, 3-6; 7-9; 10-12 for essay) will receive a $25 check, special recognition in the book, and a free copy of the anthology that is created from the contest.

Teacher awards
Teachers with 5 or more students who returned proofsheets for publication will receive a free copy of the anthology that includes their student writers.

Three poetry contests a year with the following deadlines.
Spring contest: entries must be postmarked by April 10, 2014.
Summer contest: entries must be postmarked by August 19, 2014.
Fall contest: entries must be postmarked by December 5, 2013.

Poetry rules:
1. Poems must be the original work of the student
2. Poems can be on any appropriate topic (no pro-violence, drugs, etc)
3. Poems must be in English
4. Poems must not be over 21 lines of text

Three essay contests a year with the following deadlines.
Spring contest: entries must be postmarked by February 18, 2014
Summer contest: entries must be postmarked by July 15, 2014
Fall contest: entries must be postmarked by October 15, 2013

Essay Rules:
1. Students must be in school (public, private or home school) in the United States or Canada.
2. Students can enter on their own or have a parent or teacher make their entry.
3. All entries must be in English and be the original work of the student.
4. Students can be in grades 3-12 for the essay contest.
5. Students can write on any appropriate subject (No pro-violence, pro drugs, etc)
6. Essays must not be over 250 words (or 300 total words counting articles such as “a, an, the, etc”).
7. Essays must be non-fiction (no short stories or essays written as if you are a historical figure.)

POETRY CONTEST
Winners share thousands in cash and prizes. In addition to the winning entries, other entries of high merit are accepted to be published in our hard-bound anthology. With the publication being regionally based, students are competing against their peers in both age and location. Within the guidelines of accepting less than 50% of the poems and essays that are entered in each contest, the contest is selective so that it is an honor to be accepted, yet not so exclusive that it is discouraging to enter. Unlike many other organizations who sponsor writing contests, there is no entry fee and no required purchase in order to become published. We take pride in the fact that our staff is comprised of teachers, professors and writers. We have three poetry contests a year.

DEADLINES:
Fall: April 10, 2014
August 19, 2014
December 5, 2013

AWARDS Students: For each contest deadline, the top ten entries in each grade division (K-3; 4-6; 7-9; 10-12 for poetry) will receive a $25 check, special recognition in the book, and a free copy of the anthology that is created from the contest.

Teachers: Teachers with 5 or more students who give permission for publication will receive a free copy of the anthology that includes their student writers. Teachers also can qualify to apply for one of 50 $250 grants we award each year.

ESSAY CONTEST Winners share thousands in cash and prizes. In addition to the winning entries, other entries of high merit are accepted to be published in our hard-bound anthology. With the publication being regionally based, students are competing against their peers in both age and location. Within the guidelines of accepting less than 50% of the poems and essays that are entered in each contest, the contest is selective so that it is an honor to be accepted, yet not so exclusive that it is discouraging to enter. Unlike many other organizations who sponsor writing contests, there is no entry fee and no required purchase in order to become published. We take pride in the fact that our staff is comprised of teachers, professors and writers. We have three essay contests a year.

DEADLINES:
Fall: February 18, 2014
July 15, 2014
October 15, 2013


AWARDS
Students: For each contest deadline, the top ten entries in each grade division (3-6; 7-9; 10-12 for essay) will receive a $25 check, special recognition in the book, and a free copy of the anthology that is created from the contest.

Teachers: Teachers with 5 or more students who give permission for publication will receive a free copy of the anthology that includes their student writers. Teachers also can qualify to apply for one of fifty $250 grants we award each year.

ESSAY CONTEST Winners share thousands in cash and prizes. In addition to the winning entries, other entries of high merit are accepted to be published in our hard-bound anthology. With the publication being regionally based, students are competing against their peers in both age and location. Within the guidelines of accepting less than 50% of the poems and essays that are entered in each contest, the contest is selective so that it is an honor to be accepted, yet not so exclusive that it is discouraging to enter. Unlike many other organizations who sponsor writing contests, there is no entry fee and no required purchase in order to become published. We take pride in the fact that our staff is comprised of teachers, professors and writers. We have three essay contests a year.

DEADLINES:
Fall: February 18, 2014
July 15, 2014
October 15, 2013

AWARDS Students: For each contest deadline, the top ten entries in each grade division (3-6; 7-9; 10-12 for essay) will receive a $25 check, special recognition in the book, and a free copy of the anthology that is created from the contest.

Teachers: Teachers with 5 or more students who give permission for publication will receive a free copy of the anthology that includes their student writers. Teachers also can qualify to apply for one of fifty $250 grants we award each year.

For more information visit Creative Communication’s website:
http://www.poeticpower.com/contest.php