Show Don't Tell is a writing rule that can be hard to
grasp, but the lyrics in David Nail's country hit "Red
Light" are a perfect example. If Nail told us that he was
devastated by a break up that came out of nowhere, we likely
wouldn't think much of it. We've all been there or know
someone who has. This song gives us specifics: time of day,
day of the week, weather conditions. Sounds boring, huh? But
it's not, because everything goes through the filter of his
emotions. He's not telling. He's showing us by sharing how
he felt about those specifics. Never heard the song? Have
a listen. Then take a personal situation of your own and
try your hand at showing instead of telling.
Don'tuse clichés. If you're feeling like a fish out of water,
spending what feels like an eternity sweating bullets trying
to put the right words down on paper- have I lost you yet?
Clichés are a surefire way to lose readers - and fast. In
George Strait's "The Breath You Take" the chorus "it's not
the breaths you take but the moments that take your breath
away" grates on my nerves and I turn the radio station before
he even gets through the first verse. If you've seen it on a
T-shirt, coffee mug, or throw pillow, you not only shouldn't
find it in a song, but you shouldn't use it in your writing
either. Look for clichés in your own writing and weed them
out before the final edit.
Everystory needs conflict. Tracy Chapman's hit "Fast Car" is
about eloping to start a new life and escape from problems at
home. It's a powerful song and it's packed with conflict: one
absent parent, one alcoholic, out-of-work parent, the burden of
quitting school to care for that parent - and that's only the
first half of the song. If she can fit all of that, plus her
plan to escape and her dreams of a better life, into a four
and a half minute song, then we can surely work conflict into
Takeus on a journey. It doesn't have to be a literal journey,
but something has to happen. Readers expect to see a change,
either in the main character or in their situation. Give us a
beginning, middle, and end. Okay, songs sometimes tell stories
and other times they just go round and round with catchy rhythm
and lyrics. That's okay in a song. Not in a story. In Taylor
Swift's "Mine" we get a complete story. Girl meets boy -
beginning. Girl and boy build a relationship while girl
struggles with trust issues originating from an unstable family
life - middle. Boy gains understanding of girl; they work
together to build a trusting relationship- end. You may feel
like you're better at beginnings than endings, or vice versa,
but that doesn't mean you can cheat your reader. Work through
it and give your reader a complete story.
BIO--Ruth Schiffmann enjoys music almost as much as she enjoys
writing. Her favorite feature on her ipod is the rewind
button. When she gets stuck on one song long enough, it
usually ends up providing the inspiration for a future story
or article. To read more of her work, visit www.RuthSchiffmann.com.
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.
HUMMINGBIRD CHILDREN'S STORY CONTEST http://www.hummingbird-guide.com/kids-hummingbird-writing-contest.html
The Hummingbird Guide is hosting a Children's Story Contest
about hummingbirds. The ages are 6 to 12 and the submission
deadline is May 31, 2011. The prizes are Hummingbird Feeder
Kits and special recognition on our website. Minimum of 300
words for submission. Submit original work written by you.
Winners will be selected based on visitor comments (favorites).
Submissions deadline is May 31, 2011. Winners announced June
COYOTE'S HOWL FOR YOUNG WRITERS http://howl.openbookspress.com/
NO ENTRY FEE
Students aged 9 to 14. Various genres and topics, up to 1,000
words. First deadline August 14, 2011. Enter online. Contest
winners receive an autographed copy of "Gift of the Desert Dog",
the first book in The Borderlands Trilogy, and a personal letter
of congratulations from author Robert Hunton. All qualified
entries will be posted on website. Teachers see website to
submit class work. Students and adults can rate entries to
help in the evaluation process. Final winners chosen by
BYE BYE, BARBIE: REAL GIRLS TALK LIFE, STUFF, AND EVERYTHING
IN BETWEEN ANTHOLOGY CALL FOR CONTRIBUTORS http://www.sylviamdesantis.com/submissiondetails.html
Bye Bye, Barbie: Real Girls Talk Life, Stuff, and Everything In
Between is an anthology of short essays in need of young women
willing to share their upbeat, honest, controversial, possibly
unpopular, sometimes confusing thoughts on life, school, getting
by, and staying ok with yourself through it all. This is more
than a writing assignment...this is a challenge to look honestly
at your own life and help other girls wade through their own
impossible situations. All contributors receive a free copy of
the anthology. Deadline August 31, 2011.
TEEN CREATIVE WRITING CLASSES http://www.writingclasses.com/CourseDescriptionPages/Teen.php/ClassTypeCode/T
Parents planning summer activities for their teens should
consider a Gotham teen writing course. Gotham teen workshops
foster creativity and self-expression in a supportive
environment. There are no grades, no exams, no wrong answers--
just creative writing. Teen Creative Writing is offered Online
and in New York City. The NYC classes begin in July and August.
Online Teen classes begin in June, July, and August and last
for six weeks. Lean more online or call 1-877-974-8377.
THE BIG DIG SCHOLARSHIP http://www.antiquetrader.tv/studentscholarship.php
One $3,000 award. Deadline June 1, 2011. Must be currently in
grade 12 and planning on entering college in 2011 or be in
your first or second year of college. In 200 years, one of
your relatives is going to be digging in your backyard. They
will find something you buried in 2011, and it is going to
put any financial worries they have to rest. Your job is to
decide what to bury. Your goal is to find something that
will have immense value in the future. The item must be
currently sold in a story today and cost under $500. The
essay must be between 500 and 1,000 words. Be sure to answer
all of the following questions in your essay:
1. What is the item you will bury?
2. Where could you purchase the item today?
3. How much does the item cost?
4. What made you choose this item?
5. Why do you believe that the item will have immense value
200 years from now?
YOUTH WRITER-IN-RESIDENCE - SEATTLE, WA http://www.hugohouse.org/content/youth-writer-residence
The youth writers-in-residence are one of the highlights of
our residency programming. These residencies provide teens
with opportunities to focus on the development of their own
writing and to expand their leadership and core competency
skills. The youth writers-in-residence are responsible for
facilitating youth outreach, integrating youth throughout
Hugo House programs, mentoring peers and running Stage Fright,
our monthly open-mic event for teens.
This residency is open to high-school students in grades
10-12 with a passion for writing and a talent for mentoring
their peers. Residencies run from October through June.
POETRY ON THE LAKE COMPETITION http://www.poetryonthelake.org/page2.php
postal entries postmarked March/April : £5 (7) per poem.
postal entries postmarked May : £6 (8)
email entries : add £1 or 2 per poem
Under 18s: two poems FREE
Deadline May 15, 2011. Suggested theme is "Stone." Overall
winner: Silver Wyvern and 400. Please note: the overall
winner will be chosen from the winners of all three categories
(not just from the Open category as in previous years).
Two prizes of 200 each to winners of other two categories.
Three runners-up prizes (one in each category) of 100 each.
Categories: Open (max 60 lines)-Formal (max.40)-Short (max 10).
ROYAL ECONOMIC SOCIETY ESSAY COMPETITION 2011 http://tutor2u.net/blog/index.php/economics/comments/royal-economic-society-essay-competition-2011-is-launched/
The first prize will be £1,000 together with an engraved trophy.
The deadline for submitting essays will be Monday May 16, 2011
at 2400 hours. For 2010 nearly two hundred schools and colleges
from across the UK and beyond submitted entries from their
students and there were 600 essays entered. We are hoping that
the 2011 competition will prove equally popular. The maximum
word count for entries is 2,000 words (excluding references
including bibliography and footnote). Here are the selected
1. Is the rise of China good for America and Europe?
2. Has recent government policy towards banks reduced the
chance of another big financial crisis - or increased it?
3. Would a 'fat tax' be an effective policy to counter obesity?
4. "An NHS free at point of access is unsustainable in the
21st century and an alternative funding model is needed."
5. Should governments go for growth or for happiness?
FIRST PRIZE: $3,000
5 SECOND PRIZES: $1,000
5 THIRD PRIZES: $300
25 FINALISTS: $50
75 SEMIFINALISTS: $25
Select ONE of the following three topics:
The Communist war hero and much feared Party member Andrei Taganov
is completely dedicated to the Party's cause. Why then does he
lose respect for the Party -- and why does he fall in love with
Although the USSR has collapsed, many people still argue what
was argued throughout much of the 20th century: communism is a
noble theory that men unfortunately fail to live up to in
practice. By reference to the story and specific events of We
the Living, explain why you think the novel's author would accept
or reject this argument.
What does Kira Argounova mean when she says that communism
forbids "life to those still living"?
GEORGE WATT 2011 ESSAY CONTEST http://www.afterschoolafrica.com/2010/11/george-watt-2011-essay-contest-spanish.html
Topic: Spanish Civil War History and Education
Deadline: July 1, 2011. George Watt Awards opens its 2011
essay contest for Graduate and undergraduate students from
the United States and other parts of the world to submit an
essay or thesis chapter about any aspect of the Spanish Civil
War, the global political or cultural struggles against fascism
in 1920s and 1930s, or the lifetime histories and contributions
of the Americans who fought in support of the Spanish Republic
from 1936 to 1938. Two prizes of $500 each will be awarded in
the undergraduate and the graduate category that is a
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.