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Student Creative Story Contest Tips

We like stories. All kinds of stories, fantasy, romance, sci-fi, etc. It doesn't matter what kind of story you write, write it well. Make it interesting. Make sure it has a beginning, middle and and end. (Beginning: introduce your character and present a problem. Middle: the character tries to solve the problem and fails. End: the character finally solves the problem in some way....doesn't have to be a happy ending.)

We're going to see hundreds of these stories. What will we look for? Well, we're looking for clever, original ideas, things we didn't see coming, but are not weird just to be weird. And no, they don't have to be weird at all. Write your story in a way that makes it stand out to us, something memorable we'll notice out of all the other stories.

Write your story first, without worrying about word counts or even grammar. Get the idea down first. Then put it away for a day. When you come back to it, you'll see it more clearly. Giving it a day will help you take off the writer's hat and put on the editor's hat.

Since you'll be writing in another language, it's best to stick to vocabulary and grammar you know how to use. Sure, add in a new word or two, but you should feel comfortable with the words you're using. Remember, you're not allowed to use a translator to translate it for you. It really is obvious when you do and your story will be disqualified if you use one. Put it in your own words as best you can using as much of the language as you know. It's less about how much of the language you know and more about the creativity of your story.

Read your story aloud. Sometimes hearing it will point out something that doesn't sound right. It can also help you catch the little mistakes that your mind skips over when it reads silently.

Although your teacher can't help you on your story, your friends can give you feedback. Find students in your class who can help you polish your story.

Check your spelling. Check whether your verbs go with the subjects. Check whether your adjectives go with the nouns they are describing. Check your word order. While this isn't a grammar test, you want to use the best grammar you can so we don't miss what your story is saying. If we have two stories that we like equally well, we'll choose the one with the better grammar. Give yourself the best shot by polishing your story as much as you can.

Don't forget a title! The title doesn't count in the maximum word count, but you need to have one. Not only will it help us out when we're looking at so many stories, but it should be something that makes us want to read the story.

The ending can make or break a story. Give it a good ending, okay? It's the last thing in our minds about your story and it will be what helps us decide whether yours makes it to the top 10 or not. Spend some time thinking about how to end it.

Remember, if your story is 301 words (according to MS Word 2010), you'll be disqualified so be careful about the word count!

Good luck to you! Do your best and maybe you'll be one of the winners!

Now registering for the Spanish February 2013 Contest!

Registration deadline is:
Noon Eastern Time
February 28, 2013

Contest begins:
Noon Eastern Time

February 1, 2013




If we receive more than 300 stories, the cash prizes will double!


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