Thursday, November 11, 2010

Honorable Mentions ... no small victory!

Well, some of you may have been disappointed that you didn't place 1st, 2nd or 3rd in our writing contest. Here are some considerations for you that should bring smiles to your faces. First, there were over 320 entries! Think of that! You were competing with some pretty sharp writers, my friend. Secondly, we offered the contest before our instruction was complete, so you had to write from 'old skills' rather than newly acquired ones. And third, in our next webinar contest, you just may be the winning entry -- never give up. I would post some of my earliest writing for you to smile about, but it's too embarrassing. Many of your submissions far outshine my writing at your ages. I've kept at it and gradually improved, by God's grace. You will improve daily if you write daily with the important suggestions I've given you with more to come next time. Here are the criteria we used for judging (there were five judges, by the way, all qualified in more than one area of writing):

 grammatical accuracy

 strong, imaginative imagery that avoided using tired, trite phrases, jargon or slang

 good lead sentences and first paragraphs, where applicable

 clearly understood development of the theme or thesis, where applicable

 a strong concluding paragraph

 good sentence structure with strong nouns, verbs and properly used modifiers

 for rhyming poems, strict adherence to the chosen meter

 for unrhymed poems, strong, palpable imagery appropriate to the subject and additionally,

 skillful use of internal rhyme

 interesting themes for both poetry and prose --

 did the writing grab and keep our interest throughout, or was the piece

 too rhetorical (instructional with little to keep interest in a storyline)

 too artificial (either too silly and unbelievable or impossible situations)

 too boring

 too ‘wordy’?

 With articles and essays, did the writer make and prove a point well?

 If a song, was the meter adhered to throughout? Was the imagery strong? Did the words fit the tune and was the music appropriate to the message?

 In all types of writing, did the writer strike a chord with us so that we wanted to keep reading and felt satisfied when we finished reading it – either entertained, inspired, or in some other way glad we had read it? Or was the piece easy to put down, even before the end? Did we enjoy reading it?

This final point for each judge, was often the deciding factor. If your writing moved us in some way that kept us reading, kept our interest and left us wanting more, your submission had more winning potential perhaps than a piece that was written more correctly, following all the rules. but didn’t inspire or instruct our hearts or move us to a level of interest in the topic that would cause us to remember it. Learning to move the reader's emotions, not through soupy, affectatious writing, but striking a chord in the heart, is something often more given than learned. Ask God for this ability as you write.

How to win a place of notice next time:

All writing errors can be corrected. All writers can improve. Please don’t be discouraged if your name wasn’t in the list of honorable mentions or in the winner’s circle this time. Keep journaling as well as other writing exercises as you apply the suggestions we’ve mentioned in our sessions and others you can learn from the resources we've mentioned. Keep reading your poems, essays, articles and papers to your friends and parents and ask for suggestions for improvement. Keep reading great books and learn from these writers how to construct good sentences, find strong nouns and verbs as the building materials, how to use modifiers accurately, how to use discernment when describing a scene or depicting emotions or writing dialogue, how to create tangible, palpable imagery. Read great books and take notes on all these topics -- this is perhaps the best way to improve your own writing. Don’t be afraid of criticism. In fact, ask for it all the time. Ask anyone who will listen to your writing, “Does that make sense to you? What do I need to add? What do I need to take out? How could this be written to convey my point better? Do I need to re-write or just start over?” You will never improve as a runner if you don’t run or as a singer if you don’t sing. You will never become a better writer if you only practice writing skills occasionally. Write every day. Read every day. Ask the Lord to help you improve for His glory and He will.

Here are the names selected with care for honorable mention:

Stories (18 and above age group)

The Attic Treasure—submitted by the Compton siblings, Lauren, 18, Johanna 12 and Caitlin, 9
The Letter – Callan Seargent and Lourdes Torres
Beyond Recall – submitted by Laura Raborn
Ode to Preacher Joe or the Mississippi Days -- by Amy Frank
Keep Walking in His Steps -- Andrea Allan Fisher
Defending Home – by Koleesa Amundson
Alan’s Farewell – by Rebekah Morris
Samson – Olivia Cornwell
Yellow Bird – Teresa Nuckols

Articles and Essays (18 and above age group)

Resurrection Day Surprise – Faith Blum
What is Love? -- Michelle Payne
Hamlet: An Allegory - Tom Morris
Simple Blessings: Saturday Dinner - Jasmin Aprile
Of Pests and Priorities - Sarah Huslander
Upright - Debbie Hogan

Poems (18 and above)

The Mountains – Rachelle Jones
Twilight in America: A Visual Poem - Kendra Thomas
Yet Unformed - Sarah Willard
The Call of A Princess - Melinda Pound
The Appeal of a Damsel [once in distress] - Shelby Courtney
The Shepherd - Zach Strother
Bumble-Bee Words - Stephanie Perdue
Judas and the Door - Amanda Neely
Lonely Ascent - Marsha Ashabraner
Crazy - Abby Walker

Stories (13-17 age group)

Grandpa’s Story - Patti Childers
The Long Road Home - Amy Jo Underwood
Today I am Battling Restlessness… - Manus Churchill
Sir Valiant and the Will - Allison Hawbaker
Woven Secrets - Jocelyn & Gianna Stanush
The Life of Letters - Rachael Stahr
Christ Provides - Lauren Hall
Peppermint & Christmas Bread - Sarah Hall
The National Bible Bee -- Emily Brigham
My Special Place - Maria Fulton
He Has - Danielle Kent
A Walk in the Woods with God - Rebecca Wall
Chayel- Katelyn Zeiger
Henty de Valor and the Terrible Beastie- Sophia Smithe
Touching Noses - Mckynzie Neilsen
Just like Daddy Did - Hannah Monnington
The Promise - Ginelle Verhoog Tobias,
A True Knight - Rachel Cantrell

Articles and Essays (13-17 age group)

The Boston Tea Party - Hannah Scott
Rivers of Living Water - Alina Maira
Run for One - Justin Jantomaso
The Industrial Revolution - Coral Wood
A Reflection of Glory - Tiana Worthy

Poems (13-17 age group)

Remembering Him – Nicole Jones
Mommy - Rachel Hubbard
I Am God’s Poem - Anna Henderson
Wild Horses, haiku - Emma Rolf
Gen. Jackson - age 14 twins, James & Lauren Fletcher
America’s Hope - Christina Hommes
More Than Words - Jenna McKenzie
Of Warriors and Christendom - Laura Verret
In My Grandma’s Garden - Rebecca Knauss
Enter Spring - Hayley Fowler
Here I Stand - Schuyler McKonkey
Valiant, the Brave - Jaclyn Hall
The Wind - Dasha Reiss
The Calling - Faith Froemming
The Seedling - Jenna Kyler
A Thunderstorm - Rebekah Barfield

Stories: (age 12 and under)

Mercy - Paige Baker
Louisa Payne’s Story - Sierra Campbell
Sleep & Frazzled Me - Karis Churchill
Nurse at Heart - Laura Hubbard
The Mysterious Disappearance of Jon Dixon - Sophia Ellen Jantomaso
Robert E. Lee’s Character - Hannah Knight
Zachary Ward : The Coffee Machine - Angelo Ward
Cowboy Jim and the Horse Thieves - Samson Strother
The First Thanks Given - Charlotte Boyer
The Ride of Paul Revere - Aimee Pelletier
A Letter to God- Natalie Tederoff
Miracle at Premier Gorge - Joseph Anand

Poems: (age 12 and under)
Sunlight - Hannah Finck
The Wind - Rebecca Riggins
Fall is the Best Season of All - Hannah Walker
Gen. Robert E. Lee - Jacob Ward
Autumn Leaves - Gianna Lonneman
For His Pleasure - Hannah Speer
A War of Trepidation - Hannah Roethle
Dancing with Leaves - Katie Gullett
God’s Wrath- Sarah Carpenter Joy - Analaea Proffitt
The Life of William Tyndale - Matthew Presley
Keep on Christian Pilgrims - Mary Bethany Adams

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to all the those who made honorable mention!