Putting The Fun Back Into Writing

The first contest of the year by the Writing Center gives students a chance to win money with their “spooky stories.”


Artwork by DHS Press Staff

Students have until the 23rd to submit their writing for the first contest of the year.

Typically when you hear the words “Creative writing assignment,” it’s in English class, and attached to multiple minor and major summative assessments, alongside multiple planning stages, tight deadlines, and a lot of stress to go with it. The Writing Center, however, is working to put the fun back into creative writing.

Starting October 3, the Writing Center launched their first contest of the year, their annual fall contest with the theme  “Spooky Stories.” The contest was put together to give students a chance to engage in some creative writing, and have fun with it.

Like other contests that the Writing Center has held, there is a prize for the top three entries. First place is $100, second place is $50, and third place is $25.

To be considered for the contest, however, there are some guidelines that have to be met. First, all entries must be submitted by 10/23, no later than midnight. There is also a rubric that they use to help judge the entries, based on creativity and originality, a consistent writing style, and, while weighted less, they still do check for grammatical and technical errors. 

If the entry is a poem, it has to be between 30 and 50 lines, and all short stories must be a minimum of 400 words, and no more than 500. Also, in order to be considered for the contest, all submissions must be run through the Writing Center first, either in person or online. “They just [have] to be able to bring it into the writing center before they submit it, because we do want people to engage with the writing center in this contest,” Ms. Menickelly, one of the Writing Center teachers, said. 

So far, there have been four student entries. “It’s part of our goal for getting more students interested in the Writing Center, and to kind of get them thinking about creative writing, which isn’t always able to be fit into the curriculum,” Menickelly said.  

Atash Barbic, one of the tutors for the Writing Center, has been involved in previous contests as one of the judges. Despite having to possibly read over some stories multiple times as both a tutor and a judge, Atash still enjoys being a part of the contest. “Some of the stories are so interesting, and it’s just fun to see what other people think about,” Atash said. 

“We’re really excited and we hope that everyone feels comfortable writing something either fun, scary or spooky and scary,” Menickelly said.