Young Writers Project Issues Prompts for Winter and Spring

  • "Collage," by Mya Dusablon, is a prompt for the Young Writers Project. (YWP Photo Library)

  • "Recurring," a photograph by Harlie Johnson, is a prompt for the Young Writers Project. (YWP Photo Library)

  • "Crowd," a photograph by Grace Safford, is one of the winter/spring prompts for the Young Writers Project. (YWP Photo Library)

  • "Treetop," a photograph by Kevin Huang, is among the Young Writers Project prompts for the winter and spring. (YWP Photo Library)

  • "City," a photograph by Kevin Huang, is one of the winter/spring prompts for the Young Writers Project. (YWP Photo Library)

Monday, January 08, 2018

Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages students from anywhere to write, helps them improve and connects them with authentic audiences. YWP publishes students’ work through newspapers, YWP’s website, youngwritersproject.org, and a monthly digital magazine, The Voice, among other media. A team of editors, mentors and student leaders choose the best each week for publication in the Valley News — including submissions to these weekly challenges from youngwritersproject.org.

How to Submit: Students from elementary, middle and high schools are encouraged to submit their best writing, photos, audio and video from inside or outside school for publication and/or presentation. For information on how to sign up for an account, submit work, and get published, go to youngwritersproject.org/publication.

YWP is supported by this newspaper and foundations, businesses and individuals who recognize the power and value of writing. Contact Executive Director Geoffrey Gevalt at ggevalt@youngwritersproject.org or 802-324-9537, or Publications Coordinator Susan Reid at sreid@youngwritersproject.org or 802-324-9538.

Writing Challenges Winter/Spring 2018

18. Snowman: Make a snowman and take a photo of it. The most creative snowman-builder will receive YWP chocolate! Or, Slam: What gets you really angry? What makes your blood boil? Write a slam poem about it. Record yourself performing it, and post the audio and the writing. Due Jan. 19.

19. Photo 5 — Collage: Create a collage like this one of you or a friend doing an activity involving your hands, such as knitting, drawing, playing catch, etc. Or, Ancestor: Who is one of your most interesting relatives? Famous or infamous? Well-known or unknown? Go digging for a good family story. Due Jan. 26.

20. Morning: Start your story with the line, “It was a beautiful morning and nothing was wrong.” Or, Loss: Write about what it’s like to lose a longtime friend. How does it happen? Where do you go from here? Real or imagined. No names, please! Due Feb. 2.

21. Forest: Write a poem using a forest as a metaphor for either confusion or indecision. Or, Valentine: Write a Valentine's Day poem to a pet. Let the little critter know how much they mean to you. Post a picture of the pet with your poem. Or, Love: Write a love poem without mentioning the word “love.” Due Feb. 9.

22. Photo 6 — Recurring: A character keeps seeing this image in their dreams. Why? Does this place exist somewhere? Does it have special meaning to this character? Does your character have to go find it? What happens? Or, Puns: Make a list of words that could be turned into puns (words with several meanings or words that sound similar but have different meanings.) For instance, ‘olive’ becomes ‘all of,’ or ‘I love.’ Have fun with it. Put your best puns together in a poem. Or, Footprints: You see a set of mysterious footprints leading from the woods behind your house and down your street. You follow them. What happens? Due Feb. 16.

23. Photo 7 — Crowd: How do you stand out from the crowd? Write from the perspective of the red-headed pin in this photo. Or, History: Research historical events that happened on your birthday, or in your birth year. Write from the perspective of someone who experienced the event. Due Feb. 23.

24. Say: Say what you have always wanted to say to that one person. No names, please! Or, Haiku: Find a poem you like on the YWP site. Click SPROUT and write a haiku based on the poem you just read. (A haiku has three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables, often capturing an image, feeling or moment.) Due March 2.

25. Realize: Finish this phrase, “In that moment, I realized …,” and start or end a story or poem with it. Or, Dog: You find a lost dog. Write about the journey you take to get it back to its home. What are your thoughts as you get to know the dog? Does your relationship with the dog change as you travel together? What happens? Due March 9.

26. Sure: Begin a story or poem with the phrase, “One thing I know for sure …” Or, Key: Write from the point of view of a key in a sweaty palm. Due March 16.

27. Sound4 — Surprise: You walk downstairs to make breakfast only to discover the animal in the recording (in this challenge on the YWP website) standing in the middle of your kitchen. Write about the chaos that ensues. Or, Nothing: End a story with the line, “They had nothing to say to each other…” Due March 23.

28. Photo 8 — Treetop: Write from the perspective of a character sitting on top of this tree. What can the character see? Include something — maybe a friend, a pet, or even a responsibility — waiting at the bottom. Or, Brick: You’re walking along the side of a brick building when you see a loose brick. You tug at it, and a note flutters to the ground. What does it say? Due March 30.

29. Rain: Write a rhyming poem about being stuck in the rain, and a surprising discovery you make. Or, Food: Write an appreciation of your favorite food. An ode to eggplant? Due April 6.

30. Photo 9 — City: Write from the perspective of a tiny speck of light in the big city. Or, Kindness: What is the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you? Due April 13.

31. Earth: The Earth needs your help. Climate change is real. Write an urgent message to your fellow humans that will get their attention. Be specific about how to take immediate action. Write, and you’ll be entered into a drawing for YWP chocolate! Or, Contrast: Write the internal dialogue of a character who is constantly flipping between being filled with hope, and being filled with despair. Due April 20.

32. Yellow: Take pictures of things that are the color yellow. Make a slideshow. Write an accompanying poem or commentary on the photos. Or, One: Write a serious conversation between two characters. Just write the dialogue, nothing else. Now, delete everything one person said so that only one side of the conversation remains. Due April 27.

33. Last: Write a poem or a story that begins with the line, “This is your last chance.” Or, Writing: Record the sound of yourself writing. Post the piece you were writing, and your audio clip, to YWP; Or, Green Up. Vermonters! Participate in Green Up Day. Write about the most interesting object you find, the best conversation you have or the observations you make as you helpclean up the state. Due May 4.