Writing Contest For Participants
Students at participating Cavalcade of Authors West schools are invited to participate in the short story writing contest. Stories can be in prose or verse. There will be a middle and a high school division with a winner from each division.
All submissions are due March 1, 2018.
The best story from each school will be judged by a panel based on originality, unique style, creativity, and use of descriptive language. Stories must be original work of no more than 1,500 words.
Writers: Each school is allowed to submit one entry (Yes, librarians/teachers get to find the BEST one!). Submit an electronic copy of your original work to your librarian or lead teacher by the "to be announced" date at your school.
Librarians/Teachers: Schools must submit all entries through an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "2018 Writing Contest Entry." Be sure to include the writer's name, school, age and grade in your email. Winners will be announced at #COAWest18 and will receive an awesome prize from Barnes & Noble and COA West! We will also publish the winning stories here on our website and promote on all of our social media channels.
2017 Writing Contest Winners!
BY DENISE GONZALES, LOCHBURN MIDDLE SCHOOL
Fissures. Valleys. Canyons. Earth always, and always will have cracks, my it be big or small. Some disappear after a while but most linger. There's actually an old folk's tale about how each crack symbolizes a person's heartbreak; in a way, Earth is the book that documents the history of lost loves. Some say that the gods created Earth this way to make life interesting, others say it's merely impossible and coincidental. Eventually, more and more people started to believe as more 'coincidences' happened and generations and generations believed it ever since. The government, however, is still skeptical; they say that there are too many variables to consider: sudden earthquakes, sudden gaps on roads, the possibility of something on the other side. They enlisted scientists to figure things out. All that did was create more questions. However, they did find a connection between the size of a crack and the person it's linked to. The more damaged the person is, the wider the crack. Alarmed, they built a machine that predicts which people can create the most damage based on personal data and kept tabs on them. However, it failed to predict the Grand Canyon. After all, how broken would a person have to be to create a hole that size?
You've always found the idea of soulmates utterly ridiculous. The concept of cracks actually being broken hearts even more so; you vaguely remember your father saying the Earth is connected to everyone — that it feels what we feel. You find these ironic considering humans have always taken nature for granted. A lot of people have tried to convince you otherwise, your friends, your foster family, your 6th-grade teacher, but you refuse to make the same mistakes he did. You hate everything about love — it reminds you too much — until you met her.
You were meeting your friends at the Flaming Heaven Cafe for a surprise, it already unsettles you. Your friends aren't exactly the "good kids." Nothing good ever comes from their surprises, usually ending with a trip to the hospital of a night in jail.
"Come on, you've been working too hard on that job of yours," he said. "Besides you won't leave me with those animals, will you?"
"They're not animals, and if they are, that would make you one too," That earned you a punch, "I'm only coming since I have nothing else better to do than babysit you guys."
"Sure, keep telling yourself that. You know you love us."
"Nah, I'm pretty sure I love my job more," Another punch, " I better not regret this."
You instantly regretted saying those words feeling like you jinxed it. In the corner of the cafe, you see your friends setting up a stage. Of course. You should have known this would be another plan to get you to sing. At least this is better than the time when your friends somehow got everyone to sing spontaneously for three days. You really needed new friends. "I really hate you guys, you know," That caught their attention.
"Oh come on. Do you always have to be in a bad mood?"
"Only when I'm around idiots."
"You wound me."
They merely rolled their eyes and continued setting up. After spending so much time with you, they got used to your sarcasm seeing as that's how you show affection. Honestly, they would've been more worried if you started being nice. Humoring them, you started going to the stage."That's the spirit! Someone get a camera! We need to get video evidence of the royal highness singing."
Ignoring your rowdy friends, you began to strum a familiar tune — the one your father used to sing to you as a lullaby. As you sang, more and more customers came piling in, but you paid them no mind -- all except one. It bothered you — you're used to shutting everything and everyone out especially when you sing — but there's something about her that draws you. It's not her golden hair that seemed to shine like the sun, not her lips that curls into a beautiful smile, it isn't because she looked like the incarnate of beauty and grace. It's her eyes. Those familiar blue eyes you felt yourself drowning in. You were so busy staring, you didn't realize you finished the song until you heard the applause. You turned away blushing, both from the attention and the shy smile she sent you. You didn't see her again until she came up to you. It freaked your friends out when you sported a big, dopey smile for the rest of the week. Maybe, just maybe, there are such things as soulmates.
You were never supposed to fall in love. It was a simple job: go on a few dates, make them fall in love with you, break their heart, create chaos. You weren't supposed to fall in love with your target, be jealous because of them. It's your family's fault. All you had to do was break the heart of the person deemed the most dangerous. You expected big, scary, even evil, but you didn't expect a sarcastic puppy. You thought you convince your parents to stop. You were an idiot to think you could ever find love, not after what you've done. The lives you destroyed. You should have never walked in but you did. You could have refused to do it but you didn't. Now your whole world is falling apart.
"We have to do this, I'm sorry," That's what they said but you know better — they don't care. You've always been a pawn in their plan, "It was doomed anyways."
You struggled against them, this might be for the best but that doesn't mean you won't fight. It all happened so fast, first, you were fighting now you're lying on the ground bleeding. Maybe, you'll see your love again. Closing your eyes, the ground catching your tears as the wind carries your last few words,
"It's over, I'm sorry."
"I'm glad I met you."
Denise is from Lakewood, Washington. Her influences include Rick Riodan, Marissa Meyer, and hearing individual stories by aspiring authors. Her favorite genres are myths, fantasy and adventure. Denise loves writing, and especially enjoys creating different characters and situations for others to enjoy, creating new worlds and being able to control situations, the feeling that she is IN her own world (one she can control), bringing her ideas to live, and making people cry by capturing feelings and events that touch her readers.
BY ALYSSA YOUNG, LAKES HIGH SCHOOL
There are many stories in the world. So many in fact, only one man could ever know them all. His heart was so big and his dreams so true that Mother Earth asked him to watch over her while she slept, and to protect all the wonders of the night. They called him the man in the moon. He stayed to his post, way in the sky, and watched over all the night creatures. He gave them all hope.
The moon was overhead, one winter's eve, when he looked down to see a little girl alone in the forest. Her eyes were bandaged and she carried a stick, as if to cut down the entirety of her foes, viciously swinging back and fourth, this way and that, decimating small trees and shrubs until she had cut a circle of carnage. She fell to her knees, scraping them on the harsh foliage, weeping. The girl was terribly lost and had no hope of finding home, for the young girl was blind.
The moon, being so high, saw the girls father searching for her, not far off. The man took pity upon them both and took the circle of carnage and healed it, filling the space with luscious moss and never fading forget-me-nots and echinacea cone-flowers. The moss melted from the pool and dug through the forest underbrush to make the girl a path to her father. The moon whispered to the girl and told her where to find the moss and travel safely. So the girl rose, and with her stick gently bouncing on the spongy forest floor, the moon guided her home.
The moon returned one night, months after he first saw the girl, he again found himself over her grove. He saw her there, lying on her back, covered eyes facing him. Her hair glowed silver and gold in his light, and she twirled a wild bloom that he had given her. The warm glow shown brightly in the tears that not even bandaging could hide. She sat up and tore the cloth from her face. She felt the glow on her lids and lashes, and when the tears fell, they looked like liquid light. The moon smiled down at her in hopes of consoling her sadness, but she could not see him.
Nights came and went, the moon racing to catch his brother, and the whole world gawked when he finally did. As he passed Mother Earth’s other sun, he looked down in hopes the girl would be proud that he had again caught his brother, but she stood in the grove with a young man, not many years her senior. The moon saw the boy gently brush the not so little girl on the forehead with his lips. The moon gave them his blessing during his moment of triumph, and passed overhead in a great flurry of light.
Again the moon passed the grove, many moons later, and he saw the girl kneeling in the moss. The girl was no longer a girl but a beautiful young woman in a light cotton dress. She knelt in front of a babe swaddled in pink and white. The woman wanted the moon to share in her moment, so he smiled as he passed over her with a silvery bright warmth, and blessed her child, too.
The moon returned every month to the grove, when he was his brightest, to shine upon the woman and her daughter. She would smile upon feeling the quick silver dance on her skin and over her blind eyes, and her daughter squirmed and eventually the moon showed her the way home, too. The moon would whisper sweet nothings on the wind, to the woman and she loved him, too, though she never saw him.
The woman one night did not return, and the moon, not seeing her, assumed he was wrong about what day it must be. He came every night to see the woman, but she did not come.
Finally, eves later, he saw her in the grove, lying in a long box of dark wood lined with white satin and silk. Her hair was long and silver, her dress a soft white. A bouquet of sturdy forget-me-nots and echinacea cone-flowers lay upon her chest. Her eyes lay open and uncovered, looking forever at the open sky. The moon wept for his little ecliptic girl, whom he had saved from the forest so many, many moons ago.
Alyssa is from Lakewood, Washington. Her influences include Rick Riodan, Frank Beddor, Ally Condie, Brandon Mull, and J.K. Rowling. Her 8th grade English teacher, Mr. Tillman, also inspired her to do a lot of writing and encouraged her to just be herself. What she most enjoys about writing is putting her words on the page that another person can read -- She creates a lens for another person to look through and see a whole other world. About COA West 2017: "It's amazing that two of the people who have influenced me so much will actually be here at this conference!"