Young Writers Contest
“Honoring a new generation of California writers”
Where else can you submit your writing?
Who won the 2022 contest?
Pardon our dust.
We’re prepping for next year’s contest!
Donate to the Young Writers Contest
Your tax-deductible charitable donations to our 501(c)3 will help our contest participants. You may also donate by sending checks to CWC-Mt. Diablo at this address: Young Writers Contest P.O. Box 606 Alamo, CA 94507
ABOUT THE CONTEST
Mt. Diablo’s Young Writers Contest is for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students who live or attend school in Contra Costa County. The contest has been held every year since 1995, starting with two categories and reaching just one school district. It has grown to encompass all of Contra Costa County and now provides four categories: Poetry, Short Story, Personal Narrative, and Humor.
CONSENT TO COLLECT AND USE PERSONAL DATA OF MINORS
Parents: We will collect the following information from your child:
First and last name, address, email address, school attending, teacher’s name
This information is collected directly when your child fills out and submits an entry form to our contest. We use the information to track contest submissions and notify contest winners, their parents, and teachers. We also use the information to respond to questions, invite winners to our Awards Ceremony, and create awards certificates. If your child is a winner, we will contact you for further permissions.
If you do not consent, click here to opt out.
First-place winners in each category receive $100, second-place winners receive $50, and third-place winners receive $25. Prizes are awarded at a ceremony in May 2023.
RULES FOR SUBMISSIONS
PLEASE follow these rules for your story or poem. Incorrect submissions will be rejected, which wastes everyone’s time.
- The categories are Poetry, Short Story, Personal Narrative, and Humor.
- We do not suggest or assign topics. Students must choose their own topic.
- All entries must be the original work of the student.
- Entries must be in English.
- Personal Information (name, address, etc.) must not appear on the manuscript or in the name of the submitted file.
- A maximum of three entries per student are welcome under separate submission.
- Each submission should use the following formatting. You must follow all of these rules. There are no exceptions.
- Text: Times New Roman, 12-point, black
- 1-inch margins all around
- Double-spaced, except for poetry, which may be single-spaced
- Title on first page and page numbers in the footer
- Indentation on first line of each paragraph
- No illustrations or photographs
WORD OR PAGE LIMITS PER CATEGORY
Word limits (and line limits for Poetry) will be strictly enforced. Don’t go over the limit!
- PERSONAL NARRATIVE: An essay about a personal experience in the author’s life. Usually written in first person. Up to 1,000 words, Times New Roman, 12-pt, double-spaced.
- SHORT STORY: Fiction, any genre. Up to 1,500 words, Times New Roman, 12-pt, double-spaced.
- POETRY: Any form. Up to 30 lines.
- HUMOR: Humor entries may be Personal Narrative, Short Story, or Poetry – they’re just funny! Use the requirements shown for the appropriate category above.
IMPORTANT: If you are submitting something as part of a classroom assignment, please include a UNIQUE TITLE* when you submit your piece. Do not use the general title of the classroom assignment. It is confusing if we receive several submissions with the same title.
*Your filename should be the same as your title. For example, if your story or poem is titled “Lemons and Oranges,” your filename should be lemonsandoranges.doc (or .docx or .pdf).
DATES YOU SHOULD KNOW
January 15, 2023 – Sumission period opens
March 25, 2023 – Submission period closes
April 1 – 15, 2023 – Judging period
April 25, 2023 – Winners notified by email
TBD – Awards Ceremony
BEFORE YOU SUBMIT: READ THIS!
Click each button for information
Here is an example of what young writers can do:
Run spell check on your manuscript
Spell and grammar check won’t catch everything, and sometimes what it suggests conflicts with what you are trying to say. But running these checks can catch many of the errors that happen when our thoughts run faster than our fingers on the keyboard.
Get feedback from other writers
Sure, Mom, Dad, and your favorite aunt will all read your manuscript. But relatives (and close friends) are problematic: they don’t want to hurt your feelings. If all they have is praise, you know you aren’t getting good feedback.
Find someone who understands writing and will give you constructive and kind criticism. Look for an older student, especially someone who gets A’s on writing assignments, or has won contests or been published in the school newsletter or yearbook. Or join a writing club or critique group that helps young writers.
Read your piece out loud to yourself. Fix anything that does not sound right
When we read silently, we “hear” the words in our mind. But when it’s our own writing, we become too familiar with what “should” be on the page and may not realize that we didn’t get our idea across. Reading out loud helps you hear the words as your readers will hear them. You will catch those awkward sentences or stumbling dialogue, and have a good idea of what’s needed to make it sound right.
READY TO SUBMIT?
There is ONE form for all. Make sure you select the correct Category and Grade for your submission!Click Here to Submit Your Entry
We do not share personal data with anyone without specific permission.
Parents of winning students will be requested to give permission for the child to be photographed for print, videotaped, or electronically imaged during the awards ceremony and agree to allow his or her child’s picture to appear in newspapers, news releases, and/or other published formats.
DEADLINE: Manuscripts must be received by 11:59 p.m. on March 25, 2023. Winners will be notified by email by April 25, 2023. Non-winners will not be notified.
TEACHERS: We love it when you use our contest as an assignment or for extra credit. If you assign a specific topic, please ask your students to give their piece a unique title. IMPORTANT: Please do not have your students submit entries at the same time (as a class). This sends everything to the spam folder and we might miss them!
PRIZES: Winning short stories and poems from each grade level will receive $100 for first prize, $50 for second prize and $25 for third prize. The Jan and R. Lee Paulson Humor Award of $100 will be awarded to one winner (combined grades) or one winner in each grade level, at the judges’ discretion. Prizes will be presented to winners In May 2023. Further information on the awards ceremony will be provided to the winners. Parents and teachers of winning students are welcome.
Have more questions? Ask us below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*NOTE* If you are a student sending us an email, be aware that your school district’s email policy may keep our answer from reaching you. It would be best to provide an alternate email address in your message in case this happens.