What's up with you?

What are you doing on your summer vacation?

Are you polishing your poetry for the Young Writers of Canada competition that closes in October?

Are you writing a review or a short fiction piece to submit to the awesome Rookie website?

Are you planning a novel for NaNoWriMo in November?  

Are you writing short fiction for the prestigious Vancouver Writers’ Fest?

Whatever you are doing, I hope you are having fun and making many unforgettable memories!



7th Annual Junior Authors Short Story Competition

Laura Thomas Communications is hosting another short story competition for young writers. Here are some of the details:

  • Opens February 1, 2014
  • Deadline June 30, 2014
  • Finalists Announced September 20, 2014
  • Winners Announced Live October 18, 2014 at the Junior Authors Writers Conference in Vancouver, Canada
  • Please read the rules and follow them carefully. If there is a tie for a prize, the winner will be the writer who did a better job following the rules.
  • Contest closes at midnight on June 30, 2014 (Pacific Standard Time)
  • FREE to enter  
  • Details about the feedback option for the 2014 contest will be announced when the contest opens.
  • One story per person.
  • Story must be in English.
  • Contest is open to anyone between 9 and 21 years old as of June 30, 2014. Proof of age may be required.
  • It does not matter where you call home. Entries from every country are welcome.
  • Your story can be about anything you like. Be creative and have fun. We don’t judge on the subject of your story, just on how well you write it. But remember that it will be judged according to the criteria for a short story. This is not a contest for scripts, poems, essays or other genres of writing.  
  • Maximum length: 1,000 words.
  • No images, illustrations or fancy fonts. Keep it easy to read. Not sure which font to use? Try Times New Roman 12 pt.


Go here for full information: Laura Thomas Short Story Competition


Picture from Wikimedia Commons: Typewriter Ideal from Seidel & Naumann, Germany by waelder


Maybe next year?

If you’re like me, you may find of the hardest parts of being a writer is working alone.  

That’s just one of the reasons why the Junior Author-Writers Conference last week was successful. It brought together over seventy young writers between the ages of 9 and 18 in a friendly, affirming day of workshops and new writing challenges.

Hosted by Laura Thomas, of Laura Thomas Communications, the conference was the first in a series to further the goal of fostering the development of young writers worldwide. I was invited to observe one of the workshops led by Darlene Foster, called Writing More Than You See.

Darlene read passages from different books to show how all five senses can be used to bring readers into the experience of the story. Then, she handed out photos and asked everyone to write a story about what happened just before and/or just after the pictures were taken. The stories from the conference participants were excellent.

Other sessions were:

Writing Effective Dialogue                                       Michelle Barker

How to Write a Great Article and Get it Published Deneka Michaud

A Story to Learn, Tell and Share                              Lois Peterson

Move Your Body, Clear the Cobwebs                       Jes von Henzke

If You Were the Publisher                                        George Opacic

So it was a day of great variety and many chances to build new friendships. Held at the Sandman Signature Hotel in Richmond (a satellite suburb of Vancouver, Canada) the conference room was spacious and well-lit. The food looked delicious and the laughter that filled the air said everyone was having fun.

Want to build new friendships to help you grow as a writer? Then mark this day on your calendar: October 18, 2014. That’s the date of the next conference.


Photo: Diversified teenagers by i(love)ny, ericsphotography from iStock

VWF Spreading the Word Youth Writing Contest

A competition by the prestigious Vancouver Writers' Festival is now open:

What's your story? Grab a pen and get writing, if the Vancouver Writers' Festival judges like what they read you could win a cash prize and have your work published in a magazine that showcases aspiring young writers.

The Rewards
Prizes will be awarded to the top two entries in poetry and fiction:

1st prize in each category: $300

2nd prize in each category: $200

Prize winners will be published in The Claremont Review and on the Festival website.

The Rules


  • The contest is open to all young writers enrolled in Grades 8-12 in British Columbia.
  • Entries will be accepted for previously unpublished work in each category:
  • Poetry (any style): 500 word limit
  • Creative Short Fiction: 1,500 word limit
  • Entries will be judged blind. Please do not put your name on your story or poem in the file you have uploaded or in the file name.
  • There is a $5 entry fee for each story or poem you submit, payable online through PayPal.
  • We will accept entries in MS Word Document or PDF formats. Please use standard margins, 12-point font and double spacing.
  • Winners will be selected by a panel of publishing and writing professionals.
  • Entries must be uploaded and payment confirmed by 5:00pm October 27, 2013.


Click here to enter!