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Young Writers Project challenges students to write for publication

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Posted on August 25, 2014 |
By Addison Independent



VERMONT — The Young Writers Project is gearing up for another year of encouraging young people to write by soliciting work and publishing it online and in newspapers around the state, including the Addison Independent.

YWP is an independent nonprofit that engages students to write, helps them improve and connects them with authentic audiences. It also reaches different audiences through a new digital magazine, The Voice, and partner web sites, vpr.net, vtdigger.org and cowbird.com.

Teachers and students in grade 3-12 are encouraged to participate in Young Writers Project by submitting best work done in class or outside of school, and by responding to weekly prompts. A team of YWP staff and mentors helps writers revise their work for publication.

For the first week of this school year’s YWP, the organization is asking students to submit their best writing from the summer in any genre. It is due Sept. 5.

How to post work on youngwritersproject.org:  Start an account, log in, click “Write” to create a blog, fill in the title and body of the work and give it a genre tag. For publication, click “Submitting for Publication?” and complete the information boxes. Finally, click “Save.”

PROMPTS FOR FALL SEMESTER 2014

Week 1.

General writing. Your best writing from the summer in any genre. Due Sept. 5

Week 2.

Treasure. What is something you should throw away but can’t? Why can’t you? How did you get the object? Alternates: Sports. Describe a moment in your favorite sport that you’ll always remember. You could be a player or spectator; or Ode. Write an ode to the Segway and/or its rider. Due Sept. 12

Week 3.

Objects. Write about a relationship that develops between two inanimate objects (e.g., books on a shelf, apps on a phone, park bench and trash bin). Alternates: Aliens. Curious aliens visit Vermont. What is the first thing they do? What do they demand? or Photo 1. Due Sept. 19.

Photo 1 Credit: Erin Bundock, Champlain Valley Union High School

Week 4.

Haunted. Your dog takes off down the street and bolts through the open door of a creepy, abandoned house. What happens? Alternate: Image. Shoot a photo and write about it. Make sure to attach the photo to your blog; or Photo 2. Due Sept. 26

Photo 2 Credit: Jeff Schultz, Essex High School

Week 5.

Complicated. Your life is complicated, and some days, there’s just one mess after another. Describe one of those days in detail – it can be funny or tragic. Alternates: Leaf. Write from the point of view of one leaf on a large, colorful maple tree; or General writing. Your best piece in any genre. Due Oct. 3

Week 6.

Room. You have a chance to redesign your room from scratch with no limits. What do you do? Alternates: Lie. Use the sentence, “You don’t have to lie; I know it was you,” in a poem or story; or Photo 3. Due Oct. 10

Photo 3 Credit: Chelsea Somerset, Essex High School

Week 7.

Angel. For the first time you meet your guardian angel. Write a short story developing your guardian’s character and his or her relationship with you. Alternates: Snapchat. “This is no time to Snapchat!” Use this sentence in your story, poem or play. What has just happened or is about to happen?; or General writing. Your best piece in any genre. Due Oct. 17

Week 8.

Letter. Write a letter to your mother, father, a grandparent or favorite teacher to say thanks – for something special they do, or for everything. Provide a specific story to show why the person is so great. Alternates: Habit. Think about a bad habit you might have and create a character with a similar bad habit. Write about why the character won’t easily give up the habit; or Photo 4. Due Oct. 24

Photo 4 Credit: Casey Mulrow, Essex High School

Week 9.

Winter Tales. Tell a story about your experience of winter in short descriptive poetry or prose. No clichés, please. The best will be selected for presentation by the Vermont Stage Company at its annual Winter Tales production at FlynnSpace in Burlington in December. Alternate: Lyrics. Find a line from a favorite song that inspires you/ excites you/ makes you feel good, and use it to sprout a poem, song or story. Due Oct. 31

Week 10.

Door. You’re walking along when you spot a large blue door in the wall of a building that you pass every day – and you’re sure the door wasn’t there yesterday. Open it! Where does it lead? Alternates: Season. Write about your happiest memory of a holiday season; or Mythical. Invent a mythical creature and tell us all about it. What does it look like? What does it do all day? Good or bad temper? Is it a fan of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Due Nov. 7

Week 11.

Alone. What do you love to do when you have time by yourself? Alternates: Pluto. NASA writes an apology letter to Pluto for demoting it from planet status. Who receives the letter and what’s the reaction? or Dream. Write about a dream that keeps recurring. What does it mean? Or write about the strangest dream you’ve ever had. Due Nov. 14

Week 12.

Reporter. You are a new reporter, excited to be assigned to your first big story, but everything seems to conspire against you (e.g., traffic jams, torrential rain, wrong information, police barricades, people who refuse to be interviewed.) Somehow you manage to get the story, make the deadline and win the editor’s approval. What’s the story and how do you pull it off? Alternates: Seconds. Describe something that happened in mere seconds, something big or small; or Famous. You find out someone you know is famous. Describe the person, and why s/he is famous. How does this affect you? Due Nov. 21

Week 13.

Snails. Did you know snails can swallow you whole? Or that the Loch Ness Monster and Lake Champlain’s Champ are cousins? Tell a ridiculous whopper but be persuasive enough that someone just might believe you. Alternates: Proposal. Write about a wedding proposal that goes terribly wrong; or Photo 5.  Due Nov. 28

Photo 5 Credit: Harris & Ewing, 1922, Library of Congress

Week 14.

Invention. You’ve just invented the next big thing! Pitch it to the head of the most influential company you know. What is it and what does it do? Alternates: 15, 10, 5. Create a short dialogue of three characters. The first can only speak 15 words, the second 10, and the third just five words; or Author. Write in the style of your favorite author or poet. Include the writer’s name and a favorite quote if you like. Due Dec. 5

Week 15.

100 Miles. You get lost and end up walking 100 miles through thick, bug-infested woods. When it’s finally over, you can’t believe what’s waiting for you in a clearing at the edge of the forest … Alternates: Online. Somehow you’ve fallen into the Web page you’ve been browsing. Where are you? What’s happening? Due Dec. 12

Week 16.

Sorry. Write a story or poem that incorporates the sentence, “I’m sorry … I’m so sorry.” Alternate: Cyborg. Write a story about a cyborg (part human, part machine). How did it become that way? How does it use its powers? Can it integrate into the world of humans or the world of machines or is it always an outsider? Due Dec. 19

Week 17.

Statue. You’re walking through an empty park and pass a statue. To your surprise, the statue strikes up a conversation with you. Tell the story of the statue and what it says. Alternates: Dark. Are you scared of the dark? Why?; or Houston. You are an astronaut. Describe a moment floating in space. Due Jan. 9

Week 18.

Love. Write the sappiest, sweetest love story you can think of. Go overboard. Exaggerate and inflate! Alternates: Philosopher. Take a fleeting thought and wax philosophic about it (e.g., what if we’re really controlled by the tides?); News. Read today’s headlines from your favorite news source. Which one catches your eye – the most uplifting one or the most disturbing? Read the story and write a short opinion piece or letter to the editor about it. Due Jan. 16

Week 19.

Time. You have somehow been transported back in time and are inhabiting the mind of someone else. Write about the internal conversation. Alternates: Queasy. Put your character in a situation that makes her/him queasy. What is the situation and how can the character get away from it?; or Button. Pressing buttons (in elevators, hotel rooms, airplanes) can be irresistible and usually harmless – but this time, when you press a button, something very strange happens. Tell the story. Due Jan. 23

Week 20.

Detective. Write a detective story about a librarian who finds a mysterious package at her front door. Alternates: Penny. Tell the life story of a penny since it was minted to the time you received it as change; or Photo 6. Due Jan. 30

Photo 6 Credit: Kevin Huang, Burlington High School

 

YWP is supported by this newspaper and foundations, businesses and individuals who recognize the power and value of writing. Financial contributions can be made online at youngwritersproject.org/support, or via mail to YWP, 12 North St., Suite 8, Burlington, VT 05401.

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