Do you know a middle school student?
This exciting opportunity is for them!
This month begins the 2nd Annual San Gabriel Writer’s League Contest for Middle School Students.
The League was founded in 1989 to provide a forum to encourage and equip area writers for success in the craft and business of writing.
Award-winning author and speaker D.A. Featherling, is vice president and program coordinator, and she gave us the scoop on the 2020 contest.
Last year, when the board of officers decided to reach out to the community to encourage writers, Featherling partnered with GISD Curriculum Coordinator Jennifer Kearney. Their collaboration led to the decision to offer a contest to middle school students. “The main idea behind it is to try to encourage younger students to write,” Featherling said.
The League developed criteria, judging, and applications, sent the information to the 6th-8th grade schools, then waited for entries to come in.
To their delight and surprise, they received a dozen entries. A panel of League members judged them in two rounds. Manuscripts were scored, and the five highest went through a second round to be ranked 1 to 5.
The League awarded cash prizes to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place writers, and honorable mention to 4th and 5th places. All of the awards were presented at a ceremony hosted by the League for the finalists and their families.
“We were amazed at the creativity that some of these kids wrote. We had everything from zombies to people who wrote about Hiroshima; just an incredible variety and a lot of talent out there. It was really a neat experience for us and to get to meet those kids. And we published the 5 winning entries on our website, so they can say they are published authors now.”
While currently offered at the middle school level, the League has taken the typical high school workload into consideration and has plans to extend the contest to high school students in the future.
Information on the 2020 contest will be sent to GISD for distribution at the end of January but students can begin preparing any time and submit their entries starting February 3. Featherling expects judging to take two to three weeks and winners will be selected and notified by the end of March.
The contest is for original fiction, either a complete short story or a chapter from a longer work. All genres and topics are welcome and the League will judge entries on quality over quantity. Specifics for word counts and format will be included in the GISD information packet.
Featherling adds, “We’d like to encourage Georgetown ISD students to participate. If we can encourage kids to write at an early age and keep this up for throughout their school years then by the time they get out of school, this can be something that…who knows what they can do with their lives!”
WHO: Middle School Students in GISD
WHAT: Original Fiction Contest in any Genre
WHEN: Opens February 3, 2020; deadline 5pm March 6
HOW: Submit original writing to your teacher to be forwarded to the Writers’ League
WHY: Cash prizes… become a published writer
ARE YOU A WRITER TOO?
The San Gabriel Writers’ League could be your tribe. The League boasts a multi-generational mix of published and unpublished writers of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, screenplays, and more.
At any given meeting, attendees have the opportunity to meet people like D.A. Featherling, who has penned more than two dozen fiction and non-fiction books in multiple genres, including an award-winning mystery, and the Time Game Series, a time travel adventure series for ages 9 to adult.
According to Featherling, this group exists, “To encourage writers, and to supply information that helps them develop their craft in ways helpful to them on their trip to publication, if that’s what they’re pursuing. For instance, if someone finds a great publisher or someone easy to work with, they share those contacts.
“Our philosophy is, even if you’re not a poet, you can still gain something from listening to someone talk about how to write poetry. Because there’s some nugget in any talk that can be useful to a writer if you have your mind open to it.”
The group meets monthly and has special events throughout the year. Monthly gatherings feature speakers who share some aspect of writing.
For example, coming up in March, the League has scheduled a special seminar, with help from the Georgetown Police Department, to highlight interrogation techniques, which will help writers add authenticity to their stories.
Meetings are free to members and first- or second-time guests. Membership is just $25 annually and anyone interested is invited to attend a meeting or two before deciding.
Featherling says, “We’d like to let people know we are here and we are interested in trying to help them with their writing career by providing information and networking opportunities with each other.”
First Thursday of every month 6pm – 8:30pm. Visitors welcome!
First United Methodist Church, 410 E University Ave, Georgetown