Posts Tagged ‘California Writers Club Mt. Diablo Branch Young Writers Contest’

Question about California Writers Club Mt. Diablo/Young Writers Contest

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Hi, I am wondering about next year’s contest: are we allowed to resubmit entries that we have already entered in last year’s competition? Even winning entries? When will the submissions for next year’s contest start? Thanks!

AlexandraHi Alexandra

Great question! Thank you for writing. A winning entry from last year would not win the following year. It would be disqualified. I’m sorry. (Yes, we do save the the winning entries.)

For the best chance at winning, you should begin a new piece, but if you really like an idea from a non-winning story/poem/essay last year, start fresh! Don’t even LOOK at your old draft. Hopefully, you are now a different, stronger writer and will write something so fun and terrific, it will surprise you and the judges! We can’t wait to read the entries!

You may submit as soon as the new guidelines are posted. I’m hoping this will be soon. I do know there will be a new award for humor writing. I will post the guidelines here as soon as I get the “A-Okay” to do so. Hope you’ll join our writing workshop at the Walnut Creek Library on Feb. 1, 2014. Ask your teacher for extra credit if you attend!

In the meantime, keep writing!

San Francisco Bay Area Free Writing Portfolio Workshop for Eighth Grade Students!

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Nov 23,2013, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM @
Creative Writing classroom on the SOTA Campus (555 Portola Drive) San Francisco School of the Arts
If you’re in eighth grade and want to assemble a strong portfolio of creative writing that highlights your unique voice, this workshop is for you. 826 Valencia is teaming up with SOTA’s Creative Writing department to offer a class that will help you refine a portfolio that you can use for applying to SOTA or other schools or summer programs. The deadline for the SOTA application is December 6, so this class arrives just in time to offer you feedback on your work, answer your questions about the application process, and help you get through any writer’s block or feeling stuck.

Two current SOTA seniors, Giorgia Peckman and Frances Saux, and Writer-in-Residence Maia Ipp will lead the class with 826 Valencia’s Molly Parent and a crew of SOTA 10th-12th graders. To learn more about SOTA’s Creative Writing department, including the application process, check out

What to bring to the workshop: a portfolio of your writing that you’d like to share and receive feedback about; if you plan to apply to SOTA for Creative Writing, this would include 3 short stories; 10 poems; and a 5-10 page one-act play. Bring as many pieces of writing as you have ready for feedback (in any draft stage)! We don’t expect you to arrive with a complete portfolio.

Taught By: Maia Ipp, Giorgia Peckman and Frances Saux

One-on-One Portfolio Help with Creative Writing Students & Staff Tuesday, November 19 or Thursday, November 21@ 826 Valencia St.
Free, but registration is required
November 19 and November 21, from 6 pm to 8 pm both nights

What to bring: One or two pieces of writing for your portfolio on which you’d like feedback. You can bring them as hard copies, on a thumb drive, or in an email to yourself.

Parents, students, or teachers: For more information, please contact Maia Ipp at [email protected] or Molly Parent at [email protected]

Heads up, Contra Costa Middle School Students!

Next year’s California Young Writers Contest will have a new category. We have received a grant to include a special prize for humor! Sharpen your pencils and start practicing now! And note the free writing workshop where you can ask questions, receive hand-printed guidelines, and interact with other young writers will be Feb. 1, 2014 9-Noon at the downtown Walnut Creek Library. Teachers, why not give your students extra credit for their attendance?

California Writers Club Young Writers Contest

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

California Writers Club Mt. Diablo Branch, Contra Costa County


Honoring a New Generation of California Writers

See  for contest information


Name________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Home Address_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Number & Street City Zip Home Phone___________________________________

E-mail Address __________________________________________________


Grade_______________________ First and Last Name of your English (Creative Writing)


Manuscript Title_________________________________________________________________________________________________


(please check one):

_____ Short Story (up to 5 pages typed, double-spaced)

 _____ Poem (up to 30 lines, can be single or double-spaced)

 _____ Personal Narrative/Essay (up to 3 pages, typed, double-spaced)

Mail submissions to: Young Writers Contest, California Writers Club, PO Box 606, Alamo, CA 94507

DON’T MISS OUT: Only entries that follow the guidelines EXACTLY will be considered!

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  CONTEST GUIDELINES:

1. Contest open to 6th, 7th and 8th grade students who live in or attend school in Contra Costa County.

2. Submit 2 copies of your manuscript. Do not include artwork or a cover. Your manuscript must be typed or computer generated at 12 point, double-spaced. No staples. Paper clips only.

3. Put your name in the upper left-hand corner of each page. Number each page. Put manuscript title on the first page.

4. Multiple entries are welcome. Each entry must be accompanied by a separate application form (above) or 3×5 card noting: name; home address; home phone; school; grade; e-mail address; teacher; manuscript title; and category.

5. Deadline: Manuscripts must be postmarked by April 1, 2011. Winners will be announced when judging is complete.


_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ PRIZES: Winning short stories and poems from each grade level will receive $100 for first prize, $50 for second prize and $25 for third prize. The Betty Tenney Essay Award of $100 will be given to the best personal narrative/essay in each grade. Second and third place prizes may be awarded in this category at the judges’ discretion. Prizes will be presented to winners on May 21, 2011, at a lunch banquet. A published author will speak. Parents are welcome. TEACHERS: We are striving to encourage individual creativity and expression. Do not send entire class assignments. Teachers of winning students will be invited to attend the May 21 banquet.

California Writers Club Young Writers Contest

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

This week everyone who entered the contest should receive something from the California Writers Club.  All the letters and honorable mentions have been mailed.  The students who have placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd will receive their honorable mentions (if they received any in addition to their main award) at the banquet.

If you don’t get anything in the mail this week from us, it means that your address was misread and typed incorrectly.  Some of your printing is less desirable than your creative writing talent.

I called one child’s home and discovered the father printed his child’s form. 

“Do you happen to be an engineer?” I asked him. 

“Yes, why?” he asked.

I sighed.  “Because my husband is an engineer and no one can read his printing either.” 

So if the letter comes back to us in our  California Writers Club box, then I’ll call or email you to learn the correct address. 

But otherwise, you should hear this week.

Congratulations Past Winners of the California Writers Club Young Writers Contest!

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Former winning students of the California Writers Club Young Writers Contest and their teachers were interviewed for an article in, a new online local publication of Northern California.

California Writers Club Young Writers Workshop Photo in Contra Costa Times

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Check your Contra Costa Times this week, for Jacquie Oliverius has an article and about our California Writers Club Young Writers Contest with a picture of our workshop attendees in the Thursday, March 11 Pleasant Hill-Martinez Record, which is inside the Contra Costa Times.

Jacquie just told me that the Concord Workshop’s photo ran in the School Scene in the Concord Transcript a few weeks ago.

Editing Your Short Story

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

With our California Young Writers Contest underway, many Contra Costa County middle school students are busy writing poems, short stories and personal narratives and essays.    

YES!  (Shouted with fist in the air.  <g>)

One question that comes up a lot is if a student can submit five pages of a story that goes on longer.   Can they end their story with “To Be Continued?”

No.  Why?  Because as a judge for this category, we would like to see if the student can write a beginning, middle and end within five pages.  

However, if the student has written a longer piece, this is great too!  It means this student has the stamina to write more!   There is an annual Scholastic Novel Contest for Kids  (this year’s contest is ending and next year’s guidelines aren’t up yet) that might be appropriate for this story.  So encourage the longer works too.  But just not for our contest.

Students can create a different short story for us, or edit their longer piece. 

How to edit? 

 “Pitch” the story in two sentences.  What is this story REALLY about?  What is the character’s goal?  Does she/he achieve it? 

It’s difficult, isn’t it?  After much thinking, the student can write down the brief “pitch” of what the story is about.

Next, the student goes through the story, paragraph by paragraph.  Does each scene relate to the pitch?  Does every sentence  show character and plot?  Is any of it unnecessary?  Can any of it be cut?

Sometimes we writers like to create dialogue that doesn’t go anywhere.  If it doesn’t have tension, show conflict, or move the story on, we can remove it.  Sometimes we writers tell too much.  Too much narration bogs down a story. 

With the help of computers, editing/revising can become addictive!  Trust adult writers.  Many of us have trouble letting our stories out into the world, and we revise so much other writers must tell us to stop!

But often, young writers find it difficult to cut anything in their drafts and only think a second draft is for correcting spelling and punctuation.  Wrong. 

The second draft is where the fun begins!   This is where we can add scenes or take them away.  Add details and senses.  Add thoughts and reactions of your main character. 

Then the writer reads the story out loud with a pencil in hand.  Does it flow right?   The ear will hear it. 

The first time it might be hard, but then it gets to be so much fun you can’t stop.  Next thing you know, you’ve finished your story and you’ve discovered you really like writing after all. 

We can’t wait to read the entries.  Keep writing!  And remember, you can send multiple entries in multiple categories, in the same envelope or at different times.  Just make sure the post mark makes the deadline. 

And follow the guidelines.  Good luck!

Writing Workshops . . . Now Write!

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Attendance at the Young Writer Workshops were at an all-time high this year, with 33 students participating at the Concord Library’s event on January 30, and 52 middle schoolers creating short stories and personal narratives at Ygnacio Valley Library’s Workshop. 

Students came from all over Contra Costa County and even places such as San Jose, Saratoga, Manteca, Berkeley and Oakland.  Although any middle school student may come to the free workshops, only those who live in or attend schools in Contra Costa County may submit their poems, short stories and personal narratives/essays to the Young Writers Contest.  (Deadline, April 12)

Students wrote, shared their wonderful writing, asked questions about writing technique, how to become writers both now and later in their careers, and discovered tips about writing and the life of a writer.  

As to the contests, manuscripts are beginning to come in now.   We’re looking forward to reading them! 

Writing Ideas for you:


Write in the point of view of an object.  Personify this thing, giving it thoughts and feelings.  Remember, poems do not have to rhyme. 

Personal Narrative

Write about a moment where you experienced emotion.  It could be your first crush, a time you did something wrong and were caught, or a scary experience you had as a little child.  Write about this event, using sensory details.  Next, think about who you were when this happened to you.  Why did this memory stick with you?  Write about why you think this impacted you so deeply, and how it could have changed you for the better. 

Short Story 

Here’s the beginning of the story.  Finish it. 

Flames licked at the door.  “Quick! This way!” he yelled, coughing and ducking low to avoid the smoke.   Someone started this fire, I thought.  But who? 

Contra Costa Middle School Students – Enter Our Contest! $$

Monday, January 18th, 2010

It’s a rainy day here in Northern California.  Kids have the day off of school.  What to do?  Take out a sheet of paper or write on your computer.  Try your hand at a poem, a story, or a personal story about YOU.    Then enter it in our Young Writers Contest.  (Guidelines at lower right) 

Let’s talk about the poetry category in today’s blog.  

What should I write about? 

What do you like to do?  How do you like to spend your time?  Do you play an instrument?  Enjoy a sport?  Spend time with friends? Shop till you drop?  Turn your passion into print.  Contrary to popular belief, poems do not have to rhyme.  

Print out the poetry tips, also at the right, to help you when you’re working on the second or third draft of  your poem. 

What are you trying to say about your subject?  Be specific.  If you are writing about how you love your car, make sure we know the car so well we can see it and know how it feels to ride in it.  If it’s about your dog, make sure we know her intimately through your choice of words. 

And speaking of words, Cut any and all unnecessary ones.  After all, a poem isn’t just prose put in poetry form.  Every word in a poem must be there for a reason.  If not, cut it out.  (Each line doesn’t even have to be a complete sentence.)

Read your poem out loud.  Does it sound right?  If your poem has a natural “rhythm,” congratulations!  You did your job!