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“Write every day.” That is the advice any award-winning author gives to aspiring writers. The continuous practice helps build essential storytelling skills as well as establishing a daily routine to fuel creativity.
Tulsa City-County Library’s annual Young People’s Creative Writing contest can help achieve a writing routine. The contest is geared much like a publisher works. You are given deadline, parameters and encouraged to submit your best story.
Entries are currently being accepted until June 5. The contest is free to enter and open to ages 10-18 for those who live in Tulsa County, attend school in Tulsa County or have a nonresident library card.
There are three age divisions: 10-12, 13-15 and 16-18. Participants may enter one manuscript per category. Within each age division, there are five categories:
• Short Story – each entry no more than 1,500 words.
• Informal Essay – a short composition on a topic of issue giving your opinion or recounting a personal experience. Limited to 1,500 words.
• Poetry – one poem, no more than 300 words.
• Short Play – no more than six characters, no more than three locations, no more than 10 pages. Limited to five to 10 minutes in length.
• Graphic Short Story – entry must be complete in and of itself, and not a fragment of a larger work. No more than eight pages. Work can be with or without words, in black and white or color, and fiction or nonfiction. Computer-generated images are acceptable as long as they are original works (no clip art). Use 8 ½” by 11” paper and submit as flat work, not as a booklet.
Within each age division and category, cash prizes are awarded in the following amounts: $100 for first place, $50 for second place and $25 for third place.
To help young playwrights gain a better understanding of their craft, the library presents “Playwriting Workshop with Michael Wright” May 10, 3-4:30 p.m., at Nathan Hale Library, 6038 E. 23rd St. The workshop will cover aspects of playwriting, including proper stage play format, creating a script for the imaginative possibilities of the stage, and tips on writing good dialogue and creating characters. Michael Wright is the director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Creative Writing at The University of Tulsa, where he teaches screenwriting and playwriting. To register, call 918-549-7617.
“We are excited to present the new category ‘Graphic Short Story’ this year in response to the growing popularity of comics and graphic novels, not just as an art form but as a storytelling format,” said Christina Walsh, teen services coordinator. “The contest is a special opportunity for our teen/tween readers to express themselves and build confidence in their writing skills.”
The Tulsa Performing Arts Center Trust will present some of the award-winning short plays at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. The playwrights will be invited to attend rehearsals and will be honored at a reception following the performance.
KWGS Public Radio 89.5 will invite selected poetry and essay winners to record pieces of their work, and, at the discretion of the station, will broadcast some of the recordings.
All entrants will receive an invitation to the awards program, which will be help on Friday, Aug. 22, 7 p.m. at Hardesty Regional Library’s Connor’s Cove, 8316 E. 93rd St. Jack Gantos, winner of the 2014 Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers’ Literature, will be the featured speaker and will present the awards.
The contest is sponsored by the Tulsa Library Trust, KWGS Public Radio 89.5, Tulsa Performing Arts Center Trust and Tulsa’s Channel 8. Additional support provided by The Mary K. Chapman Foundation and George Kaiser Family Foundation.
Entry forms with rules and regulations are available at all TCCL locations or on the library’s teen website, http://teens.tulsalibrary.org. For more information, call your local library or the AskUs Hotline, 918-549-7323.
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