Archive for the ‘Essay’ Category

How One Girl Promotes Change Through Writing – You Can Too!

December 21, 2013

Thanks to Rich Freedman of the (Vallejo) Times-Herald, word has spread about a youngster who channeled her anger into writing.

Diagnosed with leukemia this past year, ten-year-old Monica Romo wrote an essay detailing how “Wonder Woman” (Monica!) would rid Vallejo, in Northern California, of hate and evil. In her City Hall appearance, 125 people shared her hope. Receiving a Solano Hero’s Certificate, Monika received a Solano Hero’s Certificate.

Congratulations, Monika!

Writing Prompts:

1. Use your passionate feelings about an issue to inspire art or writing. How will you choose to express yourself? Which cause incites your emotions?

2. Pretend you are a superhero. Write a graphic novel or comic strip expressing your passion for change.

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Teens Get Published Now!

December 10, 2013

One Teen Story is a literary magazine for young adult readers of every age. Each issue will feature one amazing short story about the teen experience.

Contest submission will be accepted from May 1st to June 30th, 2014.

One Teen Story will consider original, unpublished fiction written by teens ages 14 – 19. We are interested in great fiction of any genre — literary, fantasy, sci-fi, love stories and horror. What’s in a great short story? Interesting characters, a unique voice, and of course, a beginning, middle and end.

The winning story will be published in the May 2014 issue
. Contest winners will receive $500, 25 copies of the magazine featuring their work, and a 28″ X 20″ poster of the cover featuring their story. The winner will also have an opportunity to edit his/her story for publication with a One Teen Story editor.

*To enter, you must be between the ages of 15 and 19 as of May 31, 2013.

Short stories should be between 1500 – 4000 words and be the writer’s own original, unpublished work.

Previously published stories and stories forthcoming at other publications cannot be considered.

No entry form or fee is required.

Only one submission per person.

One Teen Story reserves the right to publish the story in the form we choose. A parent must sign a consent form for One Teen Story to publish the names of the winner and honorable mentions on our website.

You must submit through our online Submission Manager.

Questions? Visit oneteenstory.com for more information.

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YARN
is an award-winning literary journal that publishes outstanding original short fiction, poetry and essays for Young Adult readers, written by writers you know and love, as well as fresh new voices . . . including teens!

YARN is of particular interest to and for young adult readers, 14 years and up. We have no restrictions for authors (fogies over the age of 18 write YA too) and no genre restrictions. (if you’ve got a story set in 2060, bring it on!) We only ask that the writing you submit be original and publishable, with some literary merit. (In other words, if you’ve written a slasher thriller with lots of smooching and slaying, we recommend sending it to Hollywood and not to us.) Send us only your very best.

Submit online to the email address appropriate to your genre. For information on how to do this, visit yareview.net/

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And finally, for your holiday entertainment, this video promoting books and bookstores by Arthur A. Levine, an editor at Scholastic:

Dogs In Mourning: Writing About Animals We Love

November 19, 2013

My friend S and her husband X were owned by two adorable Westies, Dolly and Duncan, buddies and comrades in squeaky toys, chew bones, running races in the park and protecting their home. Romping after squirrels, cuddling on the couch and greeting guests with snuggles and kisses, the two were inseparable.

A month ago, twelve-year-old Duncan fell ill with pancreatitis and never recovered. Losing him was a terrible blow to S and X, but even worse on poor Dolly. Instead of her usual zip and zing, Dolly mopes around the house, ignoring outside critters, her sad eyes staring out the window, far into the distance. Is she remembering happier times with her friend, Dunc? How long is mourning for pups? Should they take her to a doggy shrink?

The other day they did take her next door for some r & r to play with her two vivacious pooch friends. The morning after, S answered the phone. The dog’s owner called to describe one of her dogs’ behaviors once Dolly left.

His eyes and tail drooped; he hunched over, refusing his treats. Instead he crawled straight into his dog bed. Placing his head on his paws, an aura of sadness encircled him. No amount of love or comfort helped.

We shouldn’t assume our superiority over all species.

Writing Prompts:
1. Have you ever seen an animal express emotion? How? Communicate with another animal? How have you connected with another species? Write a personal narrative about your experiences.
2. Write a poem or short story with an animal as a major focus.
3. Create a piece of art or shoot photos with animal communication as a theme.

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

Best Quotes from Children’s Books

July 19, 2013

What is your favorite quote from a children’s book you have loved?

A few of my favorites:

“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?” asked Piglet.
“Even longer,” Pooh answered.
– A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

“But dying’s part of the wheel, right there next to being born. You can’t pick out the pieces you like and leave the rest. Being part of the whole thing, that’s the blessing.”
– Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

“It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.”
– E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.”
– L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Writing Prompts:

1. What is your favorite quote from a children’s book? Use it to inspire a short story, poem or essay.

2. List your fifteen favorite children’s books. Do any of them inspire memories of your childhood? Write about them.

3. Choose one children’s book that has meant something important to you. Why is it special?

Here are some other great quotes from children’s books:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/briangalindo/15-wonderful-quotes-about-life-from-childrens-books

Rumor vs. Fact and a Bit of Irony

June 19, 2013

Last night my friend, H and I took BART into San Francisco to hear an author and political commentator discuss his new book.  Every seat was filled.  Two hundred people?  It was great to see many people do continue to read and think, and care enough to show up.  H and I agreed we could have stayed all night listening to this well-thought man discuss history and politics, not just media babble. 

 When it was question and answer time, he talked about the importance of getting facts correct.  How refreshing!  I’m reminded of why I don’t like watching television news much anymore, since these days rumors and name-calling are often reported before information is verified.  Who gets a story first is more important than who gets a story right.

 Afterwards, we walked city streets to a restaurant.  On Market Street, the light our way, another couple and my friend began to walk.  But a red truck made a right turn into their path . . . and kept on coming. For a moment – – everyone paused.  But no, upon checking, we did have the right away, so even I stepped off the curb, but the red truck continued. I threw out a protective hand in front of H, who would be first in the truck’s path. 

 Finally, the man at the steering wheel stopped.  Guess he didn’t want her as a hood ornament.  The man next to me laughed as we cross the street. 

“What?” I asked him. 

“Did you see his bumper sticker?” he said.

I shook my head no.

“I brake for bikes. Share the road!” he said. 

Then we all smiled at the irony. 

Guess the driver didn’t mean pedestrians.

Writing Prompts:

1.  As you watch television, note when there is news (facts which can be verified) and rumors and opinions.   If a person resorts to name-calling, look beyond the labels and seek what is behind it.  Is the person in front of the camera an entertainer or a reporter?  What is the person’s credentials?  Reputation?  Can you check the facts?  Write a piece where you need to use research.  Back up your story or article with facts.  Make sure you keep your references.

2.  Look for bits of irony and general humor in your daily life.  Jot it down when you find it.  Even sad moments can have a bit of comedy in them. How else do we survive tragedy?  Write a personal narrative, poem or story where you can include a bit of both. 

3.  Watch a movie and identify the moments of humor and sadness and how close they come together.  How much facts are in the show?  Opinions?

4.  Attend an author talk.  What does the author do well?  Remember this when it’s time for you to do your book presentation!

May 17, 2013

Recently a friend’s husband drove her to a meeting and returned home after fifteen minutes.  Switching on music,  he headed to the bedroom and stopped abruptly.  Their back window had been smashed; dresser drawers were strewn open, their contents spilling out.  Most of his wife’s jewelry was missing, except for a few pieces the burglars had dropped on the floor in their hasty retreat.

“I think he got home in the middle of it,” she said.  She was relieved they left her most valued sentimental necklace behind. 

Then there was the time my son was four and the floor beneath our feet began rolling.    “Earthquake!  Run!”  I yelled as I scooped up our terrier.  We flew past the swinging  light fixture and didn’t stop until we reached the middle of the cul-de-sac. 

We waited until birds chirped and squirrels chattered once again. After returning to discover overturned file cabinets, right where my son had been playing, I explained what could occur during an earthquake.  Later we discovered the extent of the Loma Prieta once we got back our electricity.  “Gee,” said Tofer, considering our house could have been demolished.  “I should have grabbed Herbie.”  (His favorite stuffed animal, which wasn’t an animal at all, but a car.)

During the disastrous Oakland fire of 1991, my friend’s sister and her family were evacuated.  She ran past her dresser, noticing a coffee mug, her jewelry box, and a photo album.  They didn’t stop running until they got to the base of their hill. That’s when she discovered she held the coffee mug in her hand. 

Writing Prompts:

1.   What was the first object that held important emotional meaning for you? Why?  How did you value it? Describe the item and show how you placed it in esteem. 

2.  Did your family have any treasured family heirlooms?  Write an essay about one’s significance.

3.  You have only a minute to grab one item to save from your home. What do you take and why? Describe it using your senses and emotions.

4.  In the writing project you are working on now, write about a meaningful object for your main character, a minor character, and even the antagonist.  Give background for each.  Why do they hold significant relevance?  Can any of them be a larger symbol?

This Dog Shows Character!

March 12, 2013
Who did this?  The answer is obvious by the reaction of the characters involved.  
 
http://www.maniacworld.com/which-is-the-guilty-dog.html
 
Writing Prompt:
1.  Using a character’s facial expression, action, thoughts and/or dialogue, show guilt or innocence in a story or poem.
2.  Choose a character you know in your life.  Show this person or animal’s character through action, details, and/or dialogue in a personal narrative. 
3.  Write a poem showing character.  Author Jane Yolen defines poetry as “compressed emotion.”  Take out any words that aren’t absolutely necessary.

The Sun Magazine

December 5, 2012

The Sun

I picked up a copy of this magazine and didn’t put it down until I had finished the entire copy.  Have you read it?  Short stories, essays, interviews, poetry and letters all written with depth, humor, and insight.  They don’t want opinion pieces or academia.  The best thing is they purchase one-time rights, which means you can sell them something you may have sold before. 

One section is devoted to Readers Write, which asks “readers to address subjects on which they’re the only authorities.  Topics are intentionally broad in order to give room for expression.” 

 Upcoming Topics

Breaking the Rules       January 1      Deadline             

Bullies                                    February 1            

In The Dark                        March 1                                        

Honesty                                April 1                                              

Trying Again                     May 1                                                 

Writing Prompts: 

  1. Choose one of the topics above and write a personal experience piece on this theme. 
  2. Choose one of the topics above and write a short story.
  3. Choose one of the topics and write a poem. 

www.thesunmagazine.org

 

 

August 24, 2012

This morning I learned a young acquaintance of ours ended his life this week.  Stunned, I stood in silence, images of the man and our dealings with him reeling through my thoughts like a movie.

Cheerful.  Giving.  Resourceful.   Three descriptions that come to mind when I think of him. 

As my neighbor  and I walked our morning trail, she said, “Don’t people realize the blues pass?”

“But depression isn’t just feeling down,” I said.  “It’s more all-encompassing.  I know because my uncle suffered it all of his life.”

Memories of his battle  floated to the present.  I knew he took pills which gave him side effects that weren’t pleasant.  So he got off the pills and would be all right for a while until he slid into the depths of misery again.

“And what about his mother?  Didn’t he think of her?  She had to find him,” said my neighbor of the young man’s suicide.

I nodded.  “But he wasn’t thinking about her, he was so inside his own pain and grief.” 

It’s another one of those what if stories.  What if you could have stopped him in time?  What if you hadn’t left? 

Modern medicine has come so far . . .  and yet it hasn’t. 

Writing Prompts:

1.  Writing can be cathartic.  Is there a memory you have been suppressing?  Writing about an emotional pain may bring relief.  Try it and see if it can help you.

2.  Write a poem, song, essay or story in honor of someone you know who has faced a battle – – either emotional or physical.  What do you admire about this person?  Why?

3.  Create a piece of art expressing a mood you are in right now.  You choose the form and style.