Soon summer will be a “figment” of our imaginations (Heather and Amy)

“The beginning of a book – the first chapter, really – is a revelation to me.  I can’t outline anything else, or even really think about what comes next in the story, until that first part is there on the page.  And I go back to the beginning, again and again.  I know all the rereading just extends the writing process, but I can’t help myself:  It helps me stay grounded, and to clarify the story I want to tell.” ~ YA Author Courtney Sheinmel

We recently learned of a short story writing contest hosted on the webpage and sponsored by the National Writing Project and author Courtney Sheinmel. Participants were asked to write a story of 750 words or less, using the provided story starter:

“I wish spoken words were things that could be erased, forgotten.  But now I knew, and we could never go back.”

One of the tenets of the National Writing Project is that teachers need to write so that their teaching of writing is based on experience. It helps to demystify writing for students when they see us working through the process ourselves. That’s why we keep a blog and share our writing with our students.

We believe that writing is a social act. When we heard about the contest, we liked the idea of posting our stories online. It would be interesting, too, to see what characters, plots and settings other writers would develop from the same beginning sentences.

Readers can “heart” their favorite stories. The ten stories with the most hearts will be finalists in the contest, with Courtney Sheinmel choosing the winner. The prize is a tote bag, some funky pens, a moleskin notebook and knowing that Courtney liked your story. We didn’t enter for the prizes; we wanted to continue exercising our “writing muscles” over summer vacation and to have some new pieces to share with our students in the fall.

Here are our stories:


Just like herHeather’s:

Also, for teen writers, there is a new contest where you can write a 1,000 word story to win a trip to New York City to spend a day at Simon and Schuster’s office to shadow an editor, and the chance to meet YA author Lisa McMann.

This is the story prompt:

“I twisted my hair into a ponytail, tucking it under my cap and lowering the brim. Then I took a final look around the room full of strangers, wondering which of them would help me escape, and which would try to kill me.”

The contest started July 15 and ends September 15. We hope we have inspired you to write this summer! Please share your stories with us; we’d love to read them.

Click on this link for the details:

This entry was posted in Creative Writing, Teaching, Writing Project and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Soon summer will be a “figment” of our imaginations (Heather and Amy)

  1. Linda Baie says:

    I haven’t read your stories yet, but will later today. Thank you for the motivation and the inspiration. I’ll send links on to students, too. I really believe it’s important for teachers to write with their students, a ‘we’re all in this together’ approach is ever powerful for the classroom. Thanks for believing!

  2. Deb Day says:

    Thanks for the link. I’ll be posting this contest on my blog and web site so hopefully, students will find this over the rest of the summer. I’ll be reading your stories later!

  3. Linda Baie says:

    So, I did read. Both stories are wonderful, touch me because I teach those kids, with those issues sometimes. You must, too! I loved the way the characters were set from the beginnings, and made note of two lines I thought especially good: “Our next life is a car window away.” and “But he can never get every splinter.” There certainly were more. Thanks again for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s