The Creative Writing Contest for Youth presented by the Sassafras Literary Exchange is underway now. It will close at the end of the school day on Friday, April 1st. The contest is open to any middle or high school student residing in Pickens County. That includes those in public schools, alternative educational units and home schoolers.
There are three categories in which students may enter; fiction, non-fiction and poetry. High school and middle school entrants are judged separately. A student may only have one entry per category. There is a limit of 1500 words maximum on fiction and non-fiction entries. Poetry should be reasonably limited in length.
It is preferred that entries be double-space typed although legibly hand written entries will be accepted. Since almost all students, both high school and middle school, use computers for their compositions these days; a couple of suggestions follow. Sassafras is working with English teachers to see if an E-mail address might be set up so that entries are recorded electronically. This is not in place of, but in addition to paper entries. Another option would be for the entrant to save to disc from a word processing program, their work and submit the disc along with the paper entry.
A hard and fast rule for entries is that the students name must not appear on the entry. Entry blanks will be available at the English departments of the various schools. Forms will also be on hand at the county's library. These forms should have the category (such as middle school poetry) showing. The student's name, teacher and grade should folded in such a manner that it cannot be read. This form should then be stapled to the entry.
One added note is that fanciful fonts and computer-generated graphics detract from the entry and should not be used. This is, after all, a writing contest. It's all about the words and the way they are put together. Do they tell a story or evoke an emotion?
Although the contest doesn't end till April 1st, that is not as for away as you might think. We at Sassafras hope that many of you middle and high school students accept this challenge. Good luck to you.