Posts filed under ‘Contests’

We’re Moving!





WriteLikeCRAZY is packing up and moving to a new home!  

Because my goal is to focus on writing and teaching fiction, I decided to merge my two blogs into one powerhouse of information and inspiration!  

What will change:   

  • WriteLikeCRAZY blog will still be here so you can find archived prompts, tips and links like before
  • Writers Inspired will be home to how-to tips on the craft of writing and submitting your fiction work, for both young adult and adult writers
  • Writers Inspired will occasionally host published authors through interviews or guest posts on the writing, organizing and publishing processes, plus awesome Book Giveaways!!
  • Writers Inspired will also offer games, exercises and prompts for young adult writers (and their teachers!!) to use
  • Writers Inspired will be like an online writers group where you can read and share helpful topics, like:  unique ways to find ideas, dealing with procrastination, the latest in writing contests and new markets, tools and resources for fiction writers, tips on tracking submissions and all aspects of the fiction writing craft.
  • Writers Inspired will have one page for young writers with links, prompts and advice PLUS one page for teachers with lesson plan ideas, games to energize the class and notes on what I’ve learned as a Creative Writing Teacher
  • Writers Inspired will also have a list of events for young writers and teachers in the DuPage County (IL) area

What you need to do:  

  • Go to Writers Inspired
  • Click “Follow”
  • Be surprised by the updates you get in your email inbox or Google Reader every time a new post appears
  • Leave lots of comments! This new blog is for you – the readers-and I want to provide content that you’re interested in reading: )
  • Send your friends and teachers!

So, thank you to my current and future followers! Now, let’s get on the ROAD!!!  


April 15, 2010 at 10:55 am 1 comment

Student Writing Contest and Scholarship

Amazing opportunity for young writers!  Can’t you just taste the salty sea air already?  Good luck!

The Black Dog Tall Ships & Merlyn’s Pen Writing Contest

Start Date   March 10, 2010End Date   May 1, 2010Eligibility   Writers ages 12 to 17
“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sails’ shaking,

And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.


I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied. . . . ”  from

“Sea Fever,” by John Masefield


Has something in nature ever called to you? Has your soul been tugged by something not quite seen, only felt? Have you seen a place in nature that you’ve never forgotten? Have you been outside in a storm or shower and felt, yes, I belong here. Writers, artists and adventurers share a sensitivity to nature’s claim on us. In their art and exploration, they are attuned to a hidden, even incomprehensible connection to the natural world.

For the young poet John Masefield, whose phrase “down to the seas” is never far from a sailor’s mind when he or she has been too long on land, it was the ocean that tugged at his soul, called out to him. For others, it might be the sky that beckons, or the mountains, a desert, or a grove. Or the tug could come from a simple tree, a creek, a pond, a garden, a country path, an arrangement of stones. This contest asks: What in nature calls, or has called out, to you?


Writers 12 to 17 years old as of July 11, 2010, are eligible. Poetry, personal narratives (nonfiction), and creative nonfiction are welcome.

The winner earns a full scholarship, plus a travel stipend of up to $400* to attend The Black Dog Tall ShipsKids Cruise–Writers’ Week,” the writing & sailing adventure for teens this July in Martha’s Vineyard. 


Go to, and on the home page click Submit Your Writing Here, or click “You Write,” then “Submit Your Writing.” Writers may submit up to three poems or two personal narratives during the contest period. (If you enter poetry and prose, send no more than two poems and one narrative.)

Click here for inspiration! See how some teen authors have written about nature and the sea.

March 22, 2010 at 12:02 am

Author Bonnie Hearn Hill (& book giveaway!)

Bonnie Hearn Hill

Today, we have a special treat! Author, Bonnie Hearn Hill offers tips for young writers in her guest post: “Six Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started Out.”

Bonnie will be popping in to answer your questions! PLUS – by leaving a comment or question today (March 16) you have a chance to win the first book in her new Star Crossed Teen series: Aries Rising.  ALSO!!! Scroll to the bottom for instructions on entering to win an iPod Touch.  Yep, we’re all about the prizes today. Cha-ching!

Wanna Win this Book??

Winner of Aries Rising will be announced tomorrow (Wed., 3/17)

Six Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started Out

By: Bonnie Hearn Hill

1. There’s a reader out there. Writing isn’t about you, the writer. It’s about the character’s relationship with the reader. If you want to write a journal, that’s fine. You might even steal pieces of it for your “real” writing. But they are not one and the same. (Another thing I wish I’d learned is not to use orphan quotes the way I just did around the word, real.)

2. To avoid the nasty little habit of using myself as my main character just because it’s “easier.” It’s not. Readers want protagonists who are 1. proactive and 2. sympathetic. Create a character who is larger than life, someone far different from yourself. When you do this, who you are and what you believe will become clear on the page.

3. Don’t preach. Yeah, I know it’s tempting, but it doesn’t work.  Readers read for four reasons: to be informed, to be instructed, to be entertained or to be inspired. The more of these tasks you accomplish, the more readers you will touch.

4. Guard your feelings. Not everyone will support your writing. Some will want to steal your time or be overly critical of your creation. Think of yourself as playing strip poker in world full of people who are dressed. Share only with those you trust, and don’t listen to anyone who tries to destroy your dreams.

5. Focus. I wish I’d learned this far earlier. Writing that succeeds is focused. Writing that falls short is not.  In nonfiction, I ask myself: Who is my reader, and what do I want to tell this person? In fiction, I ask: Whose story is this, and what does this person want?

6. You don’t have to write what you know. Have you ever ridden in a spaceship or tried to escape a monster? That doesn’t mean you can’t write about a character who does. Unzip your skin, step into your character’s skin and just imagine.

Write your passion. That is the only true rule.

The Star Crossed Series

Aries Rising, March 2010

Taurus Eyes, Summer 2010

Gemini Night, Fall  2010

Wanna Win this Book??

31 Days of Aries

Your chance to free books–and maybe an iPod Touch

The Aries Rising Blog Tour & Book Giveaway continues through March 31. Destinations will be posted daily, and a free copy of Aries Rising will be given away at each one. At the conclusion of the tour, a drawing will be held for an iPod Touch. No purchase is necessary. You can enter as often as you wish, and you can qualify in three ways. 1. Be an Aries. Just send your birth date (month and day) to 2. Write a review and post it anywhere. Send the link to the same address. (More work, I know, and I appreciate all of you who have taken the time to spread the word about my astro series). 3. Post a fan badge on your Facebook page and send the link to above address.

Bonnie Hearn Hill worked as a newspaper editor for 22 years, a job that, along with her natural nosiness, increased her interest in contemporary culture. Prior to her new Star Crossed series from Running Press/Perseus Books, she wrote six thrillers for MIRA Books, as well as numerous short stories, nonfiction books and articles.

An interest in astrology along with her close friendship with Cosmo Magazine Astrologer Hazel Dixon-Cooper inspired the Star Crossed series: Aries Rising, Taurus Eyes, and Gemini Night.

A national conference speaker, Bonnie founded The Tuesdays, a bonded and successful writing workshop in Fresno, California, and she also teaches an occasional online class. On Fridays she meets with her private critique group (humorous astrology author Hazel Dixon-Cooper, prescriptive nonfiction writer Dennis C. Lewis, mystery novelist Sheree Petree, and musician/thriller novelist Christopher Allen Poe). What happens in those groups ranges from spontaneous applause to “getting filleted,” as Bonnie’s students and colleagues call it.

March 16, 2010 at 12:01 am 8 comments



Would your school or library like a visit from Katherine Paterson, the new National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature?

The newly named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for 2010-2011 is Katherine Paterson, author of such critically acclaimed and popular classics as “The Bridge to Terabithia” and “Jacob Have I Loved.”

Paterson’s theme for her ambassadorship is “Read for Your Life,” and she will be carrying that message with her during her travels as National Ambassador.

Tell us what kind of event you would develop if Katherine Paterson were to visit. Also, tell us how you would promote the event and to whom. Describe the event and its promotion in detail in no more than 250 words.

The Center for the Book, the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader — the CBC foundation — sponsors of the National Ambassador program, will choose one winner. It could be you!

E-mail your entry no later than midnight EDT on March 15 in a Word document attachment to

No more than one entry from each institution, please.

March 9, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Another young writer to inspire you

Can you imagine being awarded the “best writer in the state”?

Well, this 7th grader received that honor. Kayla Staten wrote a poem  about Maya Angelou:    (You can read the whole story here.)

Maya Angelou

My, my Maya,

You sure have come a long way

From being the insecure little girl

You were back in the day.

A spirit so pretty

Like a cover on a magazine,

She’s altogether

A fluent poetry writing machine.

Bright as a flame

Her wisdom shines.

Courage in her words

You’re sure to find.

Millions of awards won-

Poetry is just her thing;

No iron fist could ever keep her quiet;

This caged bird was born to sing.

Cocoa colored skin-

She wished it was lighter.

Little did she know

It made her a fighter.

Boom! Her words explode

Off the page

Inspiring generations

No matter the age.

Though her childhood was hard

And tough at times,

She learned to cope with it

Throughout her poetry lines.

“Ain’t I a woman?”

That’s what she asked.

She refused to hide

Behind a mask.

When she writes,

The pen sings a song

And causes the paper

To sing along.

She stands for realism and strength;

She has paid her dues.

She reminds us all that

All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes.

She loved to write but also dance.

And she did it well

Whenever she got a chance.

Maya is loved by everyone-

By no one disliked,

And through her stories

She has no problem sharing her plight.

Since she’s basically lived

On her own,

She’s taught herself

Well and grown.

When you glance her way

You see a pretty poetic dame-

Author of the book

Gather Together in My Name.

From the back woods to Hollywood

This poet has come

To bring hope to many

And happiness to some.


Kayla Staten

November 17, 2009 at 12:57 am

Market Monday

Another Market for young writers {courtesy of Hartford Courant,}

Connecticut Young Writers Competition Seeking Entries in Prose and Poetry

School Stuff
Submitted by Bernard Kavaler on 2009-10-23.


Teenage writers of prose and poetry from across Connecticut are being encouraged to submit original entries to an annual literary competition which awards winning entrants with cash prizes and the possibility of having their work published in the literary journal CT Review.

The literary awards competition, for youngsters ages 13 to 18, is a project of the Connecticut State University System and the Connecticut Young Writers Trust. The awards competition is specifically designed to encourage young writers and poets throughout Connecticut.

During this academic year, two young writers from each of Connecticut’s eight counties will win cash awards for either prose or poetry. Entries must be nominated by a teacher in a public or private school, and postmarked on or before February 1, 2010. Home school entries are also accepted.

Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, and Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, will receive the initial entries and host county award ceremonies in April 2010.

Last year, more than 580 entries were received the third-largest number in the competition’s history.

From the select group of county winners, a distinguished panel of judges will select the state’s top poet and writer to be announced at a special awards ceremony next spring. (Last year, the ceremony was held at the Mark Twain House & Museum.) The two winners will each earn an opportunity to be published in CT Review, the literary journal of the Connecticut State University System.

For more information, including entry forms, visit

November 9, 2009 at 12:02 am

Market Monday!

Time for another market Monday. This one is a contest with a word count and date deadline – and restricted to FL residents:

Enter the Times-Union’s annual holiday short story contest

It’s the 30th anniversary of the T-U’s annual writing competition.

Dust off your writing skills: The deadline is approaching for the Times-Union’s 30th annual Holiday Short Story Contest.

Two years ago, we started the story and you had to finish it. Last year, we gave a list of a dozen words that had to be included in your stories.

This time around, we’re leaving it a little more open. Your story can be happy, sad, uplifting, depressing or just plain weird, as long as you can do it in 1,000 words or less.

But there is one restriction: Since this is the 30th anniversary of the contest, all stories this year must be set either 30 years in the past or 30 years in the future.

There are separate contests for students and adults. For the young writers’ competition, each elementary, middle school and high school in the Northeast Florida/Southeast Georgia Times-Union readership area may select one story per grade level to enter in the competition. Schools that send in more than one story per grade level will be disqualified. Homeschooled students are eligible. Judges will select three “best-in-show” stories to be printed in the T-U. The top student author will receive $100. Runners-up will each receive $50.

Adult writers should submit entries directly to the T-U. Winners will receive the following: first place, $300; second place, $200; and third place, $100.

Stories in adult and young writers categories should be no longer than 1,000 words, and should be typed. Work must be original, and it must be fiction, not a memoir, recollection or personal essay.

Each manuscript should include the writer’s name, address and telephone number. Student entries should identify the school, the student’s grade, age and teacher’s name.

Deadline is 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20.

To submit manuscripts, go to, where you can copy and paste your story into the online form. All stories submitted online will be posted on Stories can also be mailed to Holiday Short Story Contest, The Florida Times-Union, P.O. Box 1949, Jacksonville, FL 32231. Please submit online or by mail, but not both.

November 2, 2009 at 12:02 am

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Young Writers Program: NANOWRIMO

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