A famous quotation, often repeated, says there is no good
writing, only good rewriting. That means all writers--kids
and grownups--need to edit what they write.
Some people look at a blank sheet of paper and just write.
Others work from an outline. But regardless of how you start
or handle the creative part, meaning getting those initial
words down on paper, you'll need to go back after you're
finished and revise. Having a good final product requires
scrutinizing that first draft.
Sometimes, especially when getting the first version done has
been slow or hard, you may feel so happy to be finished that
you can't stand to look at your work again. When that happens,
take a short break. Do something that doesn't involve reading
or writing and then come back to your work later. You'll be
glad you did because rewriting can often be the difference between
an okay paper or story and a standout.
When you're revising, look for some of these common problems.
Use this checklist, and your writing will read better and sound
=> Do you use the same word more than once?
Avoid repeating words unless absolutely necessary or done on
purpose for effect. You may need to repeat terms that are
important to the essay or story, but watch for repeated
adjectives (good, interesting) or transitional phrases (then, also).
=> Do you have any sentences containing the phrase "There is"
or "It was"?
The verb "to be" will bore your readers, especially when it can
be replaced by a strong and active verb. An example would be
"There is a boy walking down the road" (boring) versus "A boy
walks down the road" (more active and interesting).
=> Are any of your sentences too passive?
Minimize use of the passive voice. For instance, replace "The
sky is filled with stars" with "Stars filled the sky."
=> Are you relying on adverbs?
Use adverbs only when necessary. Replace them with more
interesting verbs whenever possible. Instead of "walking proudly,"
have your character "strut."
=> Are your sentences lively and specific?
Use the five senses. Write so your reader will experience whatever
you are describing. Show readers how something felt, sounded,
tasted, smelled, or looked.
=> Are you using clichés?
If you are using a metaphor or simile--a comparison between two
dissimilar things that are the same in a certain way--is it one
that's too common or that you've heard many times before? Make
your comparisons fresh and unexpected, and your writing will be
=> Are your beginning and ending satisfying?
You have to draw your reader in with an intriguing question,
fact, or situation. Then end in a way that makes him happy
to have read your writing. The reader needs either a resolution
to the setup you gave him at the beginning, or an unexpected
twist or consideration to continue pondering.
Freelancer Laura Aldir-Hernandez serves as moderator of Kids Stuff,
the children's writers' group of the Peace River Center for Writers
at Edison State College in Punta Gorda, Florida. She holds degrees
from Georgetown and Penn and is active with the Florida chapter of
SCBWI. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Always keep writing.
We cover elementary to college teens. Each week we
carry 12 or so opportunities for all ages. Read each
market closely. Some cover a wide range and others
address a very small age group. Always read the directions!
We need guest articles. Have you considered writing a
guest article for WritingKid? Are you a student, a parent,
a teacher? All are eligible. Just make sure the topic
touches upon writing and runs no more than 500-550 words.
Those under 16 receive the book of their choice. Those
over 16 receive $10-$20, depending on the quality of the
piece, the amount of editing required and the obvious
amount of research. Send any submissions to email@example.com and label it SUBMISSION TO
The essay contest is open to all students grades 4-12. Grades
4-8 must submit a minimum 250-word essay. Grades 9-12 must submit
a minimum 500-word essay. First prize is a $500 savings bond
and second prize a $250 savings bond. Both prizes will be awarded
for each age bracket. All entries must be postmarked by May 5,
2010 and sent to:
Flag Day Observance 2010
PO Box 55
Waubeka, WI 53021
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,
to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could
not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die,
discover that I had not lived.
Use the questions online to help spark your thinking or discover
possible angles you might take in your essay. Essays should be
no longer than 500 words and should be submitted using the
online form by March 31, 2010. Any student enrolled in a public
or private school or college in the United States or another
country may participate. Home school students are also welcome.
Students must be age 13 years or older at the time of submission.
A panel of reviewers selected by the Walden Woods Project will
judge entries and pick one winner each from two age categories:
13-16 yrs and 17-21 yrs. Winning essays will be featured on
the World Wide Walden website along with a profile and picture
of the student. Winning students will also receive a special
certificate from The Walden Woods Project acknowledging their
achievement and a special autographed copy of Walden.
LIGONIER VALLEY WRITERS CONTEST FOR KIDS http://www.LVWonline.org
To help out, Ligonier Valley Writers is extending the deadline for
its nineteenth annual Student Poetry Contest for kids in grades 4
through 12. The deadline for submitting poems is now March 31, 2010.
Cash prizes will be awarded at all grade levels in different forms
of poetry. Students, teachers, and parents can get entry forms and
helpful hints on how to write a poem by visiting www.LVWonline.org .
The awards ceremony for the winners of the Student Poetry Contest
will take place on Saturday, May 1, at Barnes & Noble (1099 E.
Pittsburgh St., Greensburg) at 4:00 p.m. Thirty cash awards will
be handed out (first, second, and third prizes in each of nine
categories, plus McGough Awards for the three best poems overall).
Many students will read their winning poems. They will also receive
a booklet of all the winning poems.
1) College Student Artist - Selected College Student Artists will
receive support for travel, hotel, and per diem, and a $500 honorarium.
2) High School Student Artist - The winner of the U.S. Department
of Indian Education's National Art Contest will receive an
invitation to participate as the NMAI High School Student Artist.
Selected artists will participate in this two-part program, first,
with a visit to Washington, D.C., to conduct research in the
collections of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI)
and other local museum institutions; participate in interviews
with Collections and Education staff; conduct lunch-time
presentations for NMAI staff and the museum public; and visit
area galleries. Selected artists will receive assistance to make
appointments for training and museum research visits. While in
Washington, D.C., artists will also be provided professional
training services that may include grant writing, web portfolio,
marketing and career strategies, and business and leadership
development. Deadline April 5, 2010.
ORANGE COUNTY CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE SCHOLARSHIPS http://www.occwf.org/scholarships.html
We realize these are difficult financial times and while we
cannot offer a full scholarship to everyone who applies, we
do have a limited number of 50% scholarships to offer to full-
time university students. Conference price for high-school
students is $25. Proof of status is required at registration.
Conference is May 1, 2010. Location Fullerton, California.
NEGATIVE POPULATION GROWTH CONTEST http://www.npg.org/2010scholarship1-19-10.html
Create a Print Advertisement appropriate for a magazine or
newspaper. Ads must be at least 100 words but not more than
200 words. Your ad should persuade the general public to
support programs that are designed to slow, halt and eventually
reverse population growth. Deadline April 23, 2010. The NPG
Scholarship Committee will select six (6) winning ads. Ads
will be judged on quality of writing, originality, and evidence
of critical thinking. Applicant must be a U.S. Citizen or legal
permanent resident. Applicant must be a senior in high school
or a college freshman, sophomore or junior in an undergraduate
program. Six Prizes ranging from $1,000 to $500.
ESSAY CONTEST - COMPASSION AND THE IMPRISONED CHILD http://www.oakseedessaycontest.com/guidelines/2010guidelines/
NO ENTRY FEE
To be eligible to submit an essay, students must meet the age
requirements as of May 1, 2010. You may submit only ONE essay.
17 & under : 5,000 characters or less (approx. 1,000 words in length).
18-22 : 7,500 characters or less (approx. 1,500 words in length).
$1,000 will be awarded to the author of the best essay in each
of the two age categories. Second place essays will receive $500
award and Honorable mention will receive $250 award. The winners
will be notified in June 2010 and the select winning essays posted
on the Internet at http://essay.oakseed.org . Through this topic,
students are invited to explore the issues facing children in
prison and to offer innovative ideas to help these children.
Submission period runs from February 1, 2010 (2:01 p.m. EST), to
February 1, 2011 (2:00 p.m. EST). The submission manager will
remain open to all submissions until May 1, 2010, when it will
close to allow the editors time to review submitted work before
the end of the school year. The manager will reopen on October
1, 2010. Eligibility only writers in 8th, 9th, 10th, or 11th grade
(or the equivalent) in the fall of 2010 will be eligible. The
editors will always welcome submissions to the magazine from
writers in the 12th grade; however, these works cannot be
considered for The Bishop Prizes. Questions about the Prizes
should be directed to Allan Reeder, Head of Publications, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WRITE AND SAIL WITH TEEN WRITERS & MERLYN'S PEN EDITORS http://www.merlynspen.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/39543
Teen Writers Invited Aboard the Black Dog Tall Ships
"Kids Cruise" in New England this July! Sailing date is July
11-17, 2010. Email email@example.com for more info (subject
heading "Writer's Week"). The wonderful folks at Black Dog Tall
Ships have invited Merlyn's Pen editors and special teen writers
12 to 17 to come aboard for a week-long celebration of writing,
literature, sailing, and the sea. Writers get to "rough it" for
a week, have fun, help sail a tall ship, work on their writing
with Merlyn's Pen editors, share their stories, swim, and explore
the coves of Buzzard's Bay and Martha's Vineyard. Here's a
chance to experience life aboard a tall ship in the spirit of
literary greats from Melville to Hemingway.
STUDENT SHORT STORIES http://shortstories.student.com/
Welcome to short stories at the Student Center! This brand new
addition to the Student Center may be our best! With short
stories, you can write, edit, update, rate, review, and rank
your own personal stories. In addition, you can search, browse,
and bookmark your favorite stories that you find.
Contact WritingKid (the Business Stuff)
FundsforWriters/Writing Kid make no warranty as to the
accuracy of the contests, awards, etc. but we do try to
check them out in advance to the best of our ability.