Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 24, 2013

No fee – 10K Prize – Hi/Lo Writing Contest – Story Share

tracycambellharvesttime

Thought I would start off this coming Thanksgiving week with this fall illustration by Tracy Campbell. She was featured on Illustrator Saturday on May 18, 2013. Tracy is a published artist who sells whimsical works of art and greeting cards and writes for children, tweens, and teens.  Her website is www.tracycampbell.net. If you have an Thanksgiving illustration I could use this week, I have one spot available.

Publish a story. Win a prize. Help beginning readers.

logoMore than 20% of our nation’s teens and adults read below a fifth grade level. Help us create more accessible and age-appropriate stories for over forty million readers.

Story Share aims to inspire a love for reading by generating compelling high-interest, low-literacy stories.

Be one of 11 writers who receive a cash prize of up to $10K.

Mystery. Action. Romance. Leave readers on the edge of their seats.

It takes extra care to write a high-interest story at the third to fourth grade reading level. Remember, these readers are interested in the same subjects you are, they just need more support accessing the content.

Rest assured, we have faith you can do it. With a little bit of your time and talent, you can help us increase the number of high-interest/low literacy stories for teen and adult beginning readers to enjoy free online. Here are a few topics we suggest:

  • Character-based and centered around moral dilemma or conflict
  • A series consists of two or more stories following same character or central theme.
  • Mythology
  • Mystery/Suspense: true crime or unsolved mysteries
  • Ghost Stories
  • Fantasy (with a twist)
  • Action/adventure
  • Current events/celebrities
  • Urban or inner city
  • Romance
  • Humor
  • Survival Stories
  • Key moments in American history
  • Historical Fiction – based on real people or events
  • Relationship-based (high school drama, young adults)
  • Music and Hip Hop
  • Sports

DEADLINE: December 7, 2013 11:50PM EST

Before you write your story, read what our professional educators say.

Readability

Reading Level: the goal is to generate content at a third – fourth grade reading level (RL). Don’t confuse reading level with interest level. The reader is still 13 +. These guidelines will help you create a story/text that approximates RL 3-4.

  • Format: Stories could range anywhere from 30 to 100 pages, with up to 30 sentences per page. Write short and well-spaced chapters: less than 12 pages each; 10-15 chapters total. Leave ample space and avoid long, unbroken paragraphs.
  • Vocabulary: Use familiar words and repetitive vocabulary to help with comprehension. Reinforce the meaning of words with repetition and associated images. Context Clues: Support the meaning of more complex words with the surrounding text. Help readers deduce their meaning by providing subtle definitions or examples within sentences. For example: “the soup tasted horrid. I wanted to spit it out”
  • Sentence Structure: Write sentences that are concise, concrete, and straightforward. Shorter is better (no more than 12 words per sentence). Divide longer sentences into shorter ones. Replace commas with periods. Keep it simple. Avoid idioms or misleading phrases. Replace expressions & clichés with direct language.For example: “She decided to bite the bullet and she picked up the phone” → “She took a deep breath. She picked up the phone.”

Tips for Writers

  • Overall, ideas to keep in mind: Write short chapters and develop memorable characters. Create content that is relatable, age-appropriate, and culturally relevant for teens / young adults. Use sophisticated themes and complex ideas, but straightforward language.
  • Topics / Genres: Choose a topic that is relevant and engaging to teens and young adults.
  • Title: Create a catchy title that will draw in teen and young adult readers
  • Characters:  Feature a main character who is relatable to the reader audience. Make sure they are at least as old as intended reader (13 +). Characters should encounter situations that are familiar and easy to relate to for teens and young adults. Challenges, settings, and themes should be similar to those in readers’ own life. Intriguing characters are developed through their actions, choices, and words. Create characters who make decisions that develop the plot. Give readers someone to root for. Distinguish your characters with something unique and memorable.
  • Series:  A series allows the reader to build background knowledge, familiarize with characters, and become comfortable with language and structure, making subsequent stories easier to access. To write a series, create three stories linked together by character & plot or theme and topic. Keep the format and structure consistent.
  • Plot: Feature a strong central conflict or dilemma, which is relatable and compelling for teens / young adults. Involve tough choices, without easily solutions. Write a story sequence that is easy to follow, but also engaging. Make sure there is a clear beginning, middle, and end. For non-fiction: have texts revolve around a unifying central theme.
  • Dialogue: Use dialogue when it’s natural, and advances the story’s plot. Strong dialogue differentiates characters and adds richness to the story. Make it concise. Avoid unnecessary words. Clearly assign dialogue when it appears.
  • Detail and Description: Use powerful images & targeted details to create vivid descriptions. Avoid long lists of detail.
  • Images:  Pictures and illustrations aid comprehension, but can also add elements to the story that are not rendered through text. For two excellent examples of this, see Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney, and The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Use images that will appeal to a teen/young adult audience: compelling, “cool” graphics or photographs.

Prizes: ONE (1) BEGINNING LEVEL GRAND PRIZES: A $10,000 check.

ONE (1) BEGINNING LEVEL FIRST PRIZE:  A $5,000 check.

ONE (1) INTERMEDIATE LEVEL GRAND PRIZE:  A $7,500 check.

ONE (1) INTERMEDIATE LEVEL FIRST PRIZE:  A $4,500 check.

ONE (1) BEST COLLECTION OR SERIES PRIZE: A $5,000 check.

ONE (1) BEST CHARACTER-BASED STORY PRIZE: A $3,000 check.

ONE (1) BEST USE OF IMAGES OR ILLUSTRATIONS PRIZE: A $3,000 check.

ONE (1) PEOPLES CHOICE TEACHER/EDUCATOR PRIZE: A $5,000 check.

ONE (1) PEOPLES CHOICE PARENT PRIZE: A $3,000 check.

ONE (1) PEOPLES CHOICE AUTHOR/CREATIVE PRIZE: A $2,000 check.

ONE (1) PEOPLES CHOICE STUDENT PRIZE: A $2,000 check.

How to Enter: There are two ways to enter the contest:

Enter the Contest by Submitting a story for the Beginner Reading Level category: During the Contest Period, visit www.storysharecontest.com and follow the links and instructions to complete and submit the registration form, including a valid home address and specify if you are entering the Contest as a Teacher/Educator, Student, Author/Creative Writer, or Parent (herein referred to as your “Classification”).  Then, follow the links and instructions to visit the Tar Heel Reader website at http://tarheelreader.org/ and use this website to create one (1) story that is targeted toward beginning readers (the “Submission”) in order to receive one (1) Contest entry. By uploading your Submission, you agree that it conforms to the Submission Guidelines and Content Restrictions as defined below in Section 5c and that Sponsor, may disqualify you from the Contest if it believes, in its sole discretion, that your Submission fails to conform to these Guidelines and Restrictions.  By uploading your Submission, you understand that Tar Heel Reader is a copyright-free environment, you relinquish all rights to all materials created or uploaded to the site, and you comply with any applicable rules and terms on the Tar Heel Reader website.

Enter the Contest by Submitting a story to the Intermediate Reading Level category: During the Contest Period, visit www.storysharecontest.com and follow the links and instructions to complete and submit the registration form, including a valid home address and specify your Classification. Then, follow the links and instructions to visit The New Reader Writer at www.hokustory.com and create one (1) story that is targeted toward intermediate readers (the “Submission”) in order to receive one (1) Contest entry.

Eligibility: Story Share Contest (the “Contest”) is open only to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia who are at least eighteen (18) years old at the time of entry.

Below are examples of stories for a third – fourth grade reading level. Learn how to write a story at the third – fourth grade reading level.

See how pictures enhance these sample stories: Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney and  The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.

I have included the most important information, but if you are interested in this contest, you really do need to read every page. Here is the link: http://www.storysharecontest.com/

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. I think this is such a positive, worthwhile effort and applaud Story Share to do something like this, and with such regard for the value of works of writing 🙂

    Like

  2. This sounds like a great contest.
    And thank you, Kathy, for posting my art again! 🙂

    Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Categories

%d bloggers like this: