/node/14314

Stories, etc.

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Do you have a story to share, some digital media, a non-sequitur or two, something you just simply can't resist to share? Here? Give it a go. RESPOND below.

In particular, we are looking for some imaginative remixes of the 3 sound request -- find someone else's 3 sounds of their morning tranisition. Download them. Try to imagine a character it represents, it need not be literal, this is story, stretch the truth. Who is this person? Where are they? What...
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What is Voice?

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Examples of writers and their work which display very distinct voices:


"Presently I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief --oh, no! --it was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well. Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted me."...

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Present

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Activity: Write a piece using the present tense. Again, the narrator and point of view are up to you. The goal is to write a piece that feels like it's taking place right now. Again, think about the relationship between the perspective and tense as you write. If you're stuck, check out the prompts. When you finish, post it as a response to this XP and comment on someone else's work. 

Prompts:

  • Did you email me?
  • I like her t...
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Sandbox XP

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Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt. Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi...
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Practice Time

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Write: Now you are going to practice both direct and indirect characterization. Use a character that you're working on, or one you're familiar with, as your starting point. You'll be writing two different paragraphs:

Paragraph #1: Write a direct characterization of your character. Pretend we don't know anything about him or her. (Direct characterization is easy when you focus on physical attributes, but be sure that you also tell us about the character's personality, too!)...
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Create 1

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 First, some acknowledgments to De Controleon (not a real name) at https://www.flickr.com/photos/tekstbazaar/  for creating the "Bag Lady" 5-photo story. 

So this is a fun one. And given that the photos are NOT random and are intentional, you can see the possibilities for storytelling. 
  1. Create a story about what's happening in the sequence of these photos.
  2. ...
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Agree/Disagree

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Read each of the statements below and decide whether you agree or disagree.


1. All students should be required to study art and music in high school.

2. It takes more effort to earn a cat's respect than it does to earn a dog's.

3. Facebook is a waste of time and has ruined real life interaction for people.

4. Pizza is overrated.

5. Texting (text-speak) and social media (like twitter) have made people worse writers.


...
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Laughter

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 Laughter. “I knew I shouldn’t laugh, but …”
Finish the story.

 
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Tanka

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The tanka form is quite similar to a haiku. In fact, they start out exactly the same way.
Originally, tanka poems were written as one long line of "verse," with a consistent rhythm. They are now more well-known is their 5 line format. They start off the same as a haiku, in that the first three lines have 5, then 7, then 5 syllables. Tanka poems continue with two more lines, both of 7 syllables, though.

You can use a simple framework to keep the pattern in your head. Just mark...
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Layers

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Setting + Dialogue

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Another World:

Creating a setting is one thing. Having characters and a plotline and dialogue that fits with that setting is another thing entirely. Here we will focus on how to make sure your dialogue fits with the setting and plot of your scene or story. In order to match your dialogue to your setting, there are a few things you need to make sure you are doing as you write.

First, evaluate the setting of your story or the location of your characters....
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Photos - Setting

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Each of these photos evokes a setting. Choose one and describe it, tell the backstory or where it is or who reside in this space. See if you begin to create the setting as a character. 

These photos don't do it for you? Explore, find one that makes you imagine. 

Or, create word pictures of some of the following ideas:
  • The Buckaroo Ranch, where nothing goes right.
  • Mars, 2173 A.D.
  • Mobile home, rural location
  • Mega house on the ocean where...
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Windspark Poems

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Use the format below to help you write some Windspark Poems.  Put three or more Windsparks in one blog entry, to use as inspiration when you're stuck.

 

Line 1. "I dreamed"

Line 2. "I was ______" (something - a noun)

Line 3. location (where)

Line 4. Verb (-ing verb-action)

Line 5. Adverb (with an –ly ending)

 

Example:

I dreamed
I was an oak tree
In a forest
Reaching for the sun...
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Getting Started

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Testing testing...

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So in this challenge, you'll find one of your pieces that you like -- preferably something fairly recent -- and record it using the built-in audio recorder you used in the previous challenge.

HINTS | Things to improve your recording:
  • Conversational -- You don't want to sound like you're reading; you want to sound like you just stopped by and you're telling us something, a poem that just popped into your mind, or a story you want to tell. You are having a conversation...
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Story Time

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Activity: Now think about the story you want to tell to this particular audience. Your ideas may have changed since you started this playlist--and that's okay. Think about which of the details of that experience brought up an emotion for you, and how you can convey those details and emotion to your audience. What experiences of theirs might relate to this story? What common ground do you have with the audience, and with the story?
 

...
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The Interview

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Before you conduct your interview, take a few minutes with this video.
http://comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com/president-barack-obama-just-tell-him-you-re-the-president

It’s an amazing experience to interview people, to have the liberty to drop into their life and ask all kinds of questions. Relax and enjoy the ride. Your interview subject will sense your mood...
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Feedback and Revision

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The main goal of this XP is to provide feedback to fellow participants, and use that feedback to improve your own resume. Use this time to assess your own resume as well—what are some things that others did differently from you? Did they work well? Did you find yourself getting lost or having your mind wander at any point? Does your resume do the same thing?
 
Focus on content, relevance to the job posting, and professionalism of the writing. Note any spots where you were confused,...
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Introduction

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Activity: Ground Level
 
  1. Choose your character. It can be a role you are playing on stage or someone from a story you're writing.
  2. Take a few minutes just to envision your character in your head. How old is the character? Where is the character from? What is the character's life like? How can you relate to the character? How does it differ from you? Use the...
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Feedback and Suggestions

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Feedback, or constructive criticism, and suggestions are the two optional portions of a comment. Sometimes you read a piece and think it’s perfect! If that happens, you clearly won’t be giving them constructive criticism, because you don’t have any. And that's OK. Feedback should only be given if you have genuine feedback to give. And remember, if you are going to include constructive criticism in your comment, ALWAYS begin your comment with an affirmation. It's the spoonful of sugar...
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Welcome/Hello

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YWP Community Leaders: This is more than a nod. And a smile. We have some guests coming from New Jersey. And elsewhere. We want them to feel at home. The best way we can do that is tell something about ourselves and this space. Help the poor buggers, they'll probably be a little confused.
  1. Tell them why you hang out here. Why you post. What happens.
  2. And tell them about Vermont. Telll them why you endure the bugs and the cold, the short days and the clouds.
  3. ...
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The Product

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Now it's time to pull together what we've been talking about, and add in the rest of the words!

It might help to jot down your secret message in the approximate places where the words will show up, so you don't miss any (for example, if they're going to be the first word of each line, go ahead and write them all in on the left side of your post).

Think about the content you want to include, and begin to formulate your poem. Remember the basics of poetry as you go along. Do...
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Police

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Have you ever been in a car that was pulled over by police? What happened? Do you think your appearance--or that of the car or people you were with--affected how you were treated? In what way(s)? Be specific. Use details. If your piece involves other real people, please use pseudonyms. #pastchallenge #mlk


This challenge was part of a series that took its inspiration...
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Off-Limits: Slurs

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What are Slurs?

Slurs are words that are degrading, and are meant as an insult. There are slurs for any minority group, and as such you will want to be aware of them so you can avoid them. This would be part of your research when you are beginning your story.


Queer

There are some words that have been reclaimed by the queer community. Namely, the word "queer". Queer was initially an offensive term used to degrade LGBTQ+...
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Cis... or Not?

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What does Cis mean?

To be cis (cisgender) means that your gender identity matches the gender you were assigned at birth. That means that when you were born, the doctors said "this child is female based on physical features," and you identify as female. Most people are cisgender, but that does not mean that all people are cisgender.

Being cisgender can sometimes make it hard to understand non-cis folks. You do not struggle to understand your gender, and...
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Connect

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So a key aim of this is for y'all (southern term) to connect. You can do this in lots of ways throughout this week:
  • Love each other's stories (but ony if you do)
  • Leave a comment for someone (find something about everyone's to praise, and share a wonder, a question, a suggestion).
  • SPROUT more than once from others' stories and sound files.
But there's more...
  • On Thursday night (5 p.m. Eastern Whatever Time) we'll open up a live chat room. It will be an...
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Developing a Voice

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Whether you are writing a story/ narrative, report, or essay you must think about the voice in your writing. You can think of writer's voice as the tone, mood, or personality of the text. Below are some descriptive words to identify different of types of voice you may choose to show in your writing:


Happiness          Guilt                Gratitude              Surprise

Excitement         Pride                Panic                  Shame

Fear...
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Future

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Activity: Write a piece using the future tense. Again, the narrator and point of view are up to you. The goal is to write a piece that feels like it's predicting or telling of something that has yet to happen. Again, think about the relationship between the perspective and tense as you write. If you're stuck, check out the prompts. When you finish, post it as a response to this XP and comment on someone else's work. 

Prompts:
  • Go for it,...
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Little ideas

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Sometimes the best stories come from little tiny things that you notice: Something overheard. Something odd you see. Something said the wrong way. Something out of place.

As a journalist, I used to call these "the little bells," as in when a little bell that would go off in your head to tell you that something was interesting or wrong or totally new and cool. Like when you were interviewing someone (Whoa. Did he really say that? ... or What's he hiding?).

One of...
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Comic

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Design a comic strip superhero. Think about alter-egos, back-stories, secret lairs, super-powers...
Submit an image (illustration or comic strip), a story, or both!
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A Good Argument

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Before we get started delivering our own brilliant argumentative pieces, let's take a look at a couple of compelling pieces. After you read through these two pieces, take a moment to think about what worked well, and what didn't.

Harry Potter: pampered jock, patsy, fraud (I know, this may be hard for some of you Potterheads to read...)

...
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Week Two

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Week Two of reading is finally here! 

This week, we are reading chapters 8 - 13 (read through thirteen) of Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart. We will be reading this section from July 31st to August 6th. Remember to read FIRST, and THEN take a look at the activities for this section.

Remember, to post here, you have to hit RESPOND.

Note that you don’t have to do all of the prompts, or even any of the prompts! You could just post...
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Unsaid

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Unsaid. We often put off saying what’s on our mind until it’s too late. Write about something that should have been said, but never was (real or imagined.) 
(Words by Char, Creative Commons license)
 
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Renga

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Renga poems are a natural extension of the haiku and tanka progression. Renga poems are traditionally understood as "linked poems" or collaborations between multiple poets. This article from poets.org provides a succinct account of what a renga is, and might help you to better understand the process.

In short, a renga reads like a series of repeating tankas. In practice, multiple poets would get together and write in...
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Transparency & Fill

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Reflection

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Reflection:

Now you've practiced writing from many different perspectives. You know what it feels like to get in someone else's head and how it feels to speak with a voice that is different from your own. It may have been hard to make this shift, or maybe it was easier than you expected. But either way, this practice will prove valuable as you go forward and create or write about characters who are able to have realistic, important dialogue.

Now, however,...
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Emotions & Senses

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In poetry, writers become like painters or sculptors. Their words are their paint or clay. They are working to leave the reader with an image or feeling that sticks with them, even after they have left the poem. To do this, poets create unusual relationships between ideas and describe everyday objects and emotions in fresh and different ways. 

Here is something that is true for all of us: it is incredibly difficult to describe what the world looks and feels like from our own point of...
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Leading the Eye

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Act 1 Outline

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Activity: For this exercise, write an outline of the first act of your short story. Try to keep it simple, since you’ll end up with a pretty long story if it gets too complicated.

A couple tips before you begin: the plot twist is the most important part, as it decides what kind of conflict and desire your character will have and what question your audience will be wondering throughout the story. For this reason, brainstorming a plot twist first may be...
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It's Pantoum Time!

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Now that you have come up with a theme,  you can begin working with the form. The format is as follows:
(Each stanza consists of four sentences)


This example is taken from a World War II Pantoum:


Remember those who died for us (1)
They did not die in vain. (2)
They gave their lives and their trust (3)
So atrocities of war are never again (4)

They did not die in vain (2)
Wear a poppy each November (5)
So atrocities...
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What the...

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A cover letter, to be shamelessly facetious, is a "letter" you use as a "cover" for your resume. Simply put, it’s an introduction; an opportunity to break the ice before the employer digs into your resume.
 
For this XP, imagine that you’re an employer looking to find someone to fill a position. You know that the applicants’ resumes will tell you about their work history, accomplishments, and education, but you want to know a bit more before deciding who to invite in for an interview...
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Character

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Activity: Who are you? In a document, X-post, or on paper, answer the following questions as if you were getting to know a character...except that the answers are true of yourself. If you like, turn on a recording device and answer each question out loud. 
 
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses
  • What are the most important lessons you've ever learned?
  • What makes you happy?
  • What makes you unhappy?
  • How do you...
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Reflec ...

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Photo by Camil Tulcan, Creative Commons License

This is a simple quick hit. What did you notice about this exercise? 
  1. Take a look at what others have done and give them some comments.
  2. Now look at your own work. Click respond and tell everyone what you noticed, what you discovered.
HINTS: A few framing...
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Sounds

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Go and record three audio clips of your morning -- the hustle to get out the door, the bus (or carpool), your annoying brothers (sisters), or some animals or sounds of breakfast, classroom bells, bustle in the halls ... you figure.
  • RESPOND below and uplaod THREE (3) short audio clips. No explanation necessary. In fact the Supreme Grand Commander of this Enterprise (we're not sure who that is) suggests we NOT, repeat NOT, trouble ourselves with words.
  • BONUS ROUND... yes we know...
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Stars

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Stars. Stargazing one evening you watch as a bright star disappears. What happened? Was it really a star? Tell the story either from your perspective -- as a viewer -- or the perspective of the star or whatever it was that disappeared.
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Getting going

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Finding a story is often the most difficult thing. If I were to ask you to tell us your favorite story, you might be stumped. What do you mean favorite? What kind of a story? I don't know, I can't think of anything....

One of the aims of this playlist is to help you find stories, even when you think you don't have any. And, strange as it may seem, often our best stories focus on an object.

Here's one that I did around my favorite object, a...

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Belief

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Martin Luther...
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Final Activity

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Congratulations! You have completed the Writing Queer Characters 101 Playlist! You will probably have learned a lot of valuable information that you can take into both your writing and you life.

This XP is the final project for this playlist. It is pretty open-ended, so try to be creative with it. Avoid cliches and stereotypes (because stereotypes are just no fun at all), and make this wholly your own.


Final Project

Write...
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The Power of Voice

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In the last XP, you created a short story, using a particular voice. For this XP, we're goiong to revisit that story, with a new spin.

Copy your story from the previous XP into your response here. Beneath that story, re-write it with a completely different voice. If you chose to use a funny, goofy voice last time, try a serious or eerie voice this time, for example. The point of the exercise is to see how different your story can be, without changing any of the facts or events in the...
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Switching Tenses

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Activity: Write a piece that is narrated in two or three tenses. Keep in mind that it needs to be clear to the audience when and why you're switching tenses, unless your intention is to confuse them endlessly. Perhaps you're writing in present tense, but then switch to past tense. That might clue your audience in on the fact that your character is having a flashback. Switch from present to future, and it might feel like a premonition. Have fun with this, and experiment!...
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Finding the story

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So this XP is going to get you to do some writing.
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Writing Your Own

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What does good argumentative writing look like?
 
  • Introduces the topic in a way that grabs the reader’s attention
  • States a clear position of opinion
  • Gives detailed reasons and arguments to support writer’s position
  • Uses strong, convincing language
  • Includes a counter­argument or takes into account what people who disagree with you are likely to say and includes a rebuttal (arguments or proof that contradicts) to this.

You may have seen...
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Ask Questions

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Questions to Prompt Your Thinking and Responses

Use the following list to prompt your thinking and writing about the importance of the readings you have summarized.
Note: BLANK represents your topic (whatever that might be: improved technology, medical/scientific breakthrough, environmental degradation etc.).

1. What impact will BLANK have on society?  

2. How will BLANK affect the average person on a day to day basis?...
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Opacity

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Speaker Tags

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Who's Speaking?:

There really seem to be two schools of thought regarding speaker tags: some people prefer only the usage of "he said" or "she said" while others prefer a wide variety of verbs -- for example, "he replied" or "she questioned."

Generally, it is thought to be more professional to only use "said" and "asked" but for experiment's sake, the following activity does not necessarily adhere to that. Try to use speaker tags that make sense with the...
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Test challenge media embed

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This is a test
 
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Color Comparisons

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Muse Magazine once asked kids to name the colors in an imaginary box of crayons.  Instead of the normal crayon colors, they imagined their own colors.  

Here are some great examples:
 
  • red:  Cat's Eye Nebula Red
  • white:  Invisible Man's Eyes
  • yellow:  Scary Movie Popcorn Yellow

As you can see, they went a bit outside-the-box (pun, definitely, intended) with their names. Now it's your turn. Pick a color of your own, and see what creeps into...
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Rule of Thirds

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Act 2 Outline

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Activity: As with the last XP, your goal is to end up with answers to the following questions.
 
What solutions to the problem does your MC try?
What do their attempts reveal about their character?
Does your MC receive help or guidance from anyone?
What is your new plot twist (another setback, perhaps)?
What new desire does that bring about for your MC?
What hopeless situation does that put your MC in?...
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Slides Challenge 1

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Pick a photo. Tell a story. And do it in seven, 7, sept, siete, sieben, nana minutes. Imagine first. Write second. Have fun. 

(And if you want to really think big, take a gander of what two artists did with the first picture, by clicking here.)

 
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Content

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As we’ve now discussed, a cover letter is a great opportunity to point out anything that you want the employer to know about you, that doesn’t fit in your resume.

If you've already finished the Resume Playlist, take a look back at the job or internship offering you created your resume for. If not, you should still have a specific job or internship in mind for this XP.
 
Think about the position/offer you've chosen, and try to answer these questions: Do you have a...
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Outline

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Activity: Answer the following questions to form a rough outline of your story.
 
  • What is the setting (place, time) that the story happens in?
  • Do you have secondary characters?
  • If so, who are they and how do you feel about them?
  • Will you give them pseudonyms? If so, what are they?
  • What did you want in the moment you're writing about? 
  • What did you do when you were trying to get what you wanted?
  • Did you end up...
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Brain Tease

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Sometimes we make things too difficult. Sometimes, when we write or tell stories, we think too much or try too hard and we don't let the brain just go. It's a marvelous instrument. It takes confidence to both let it go and keep it in line enough to capture what you are thinking.

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Intro

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First, a story: In 1919, a young college student, E.B. White, took an English class at Cornell University that had a huge influence on his life.

The class was with William Strunk, Jr., and required reading for the course was the professor's own self-published book "The Elements of Style." It was a small book, reflecting Strunk's emphasis on brevity, and across the campus, it was known simply as "the little book," White writes. But oh...
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Wheeled Away

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This Playlist is an embedded post from fold.cm -- click on the highlighted words to see resources, examples, and fun asides.

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Getting Started

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The best way to find something out is to ask. And questions yield answers. And good interviewing techniques will produce questions that are probing and answers that are surprising and revealing. And that gives you the material you need for stories.

One of the most important things to remember about doing an interview is that it should be a conversation. Yes you want to be prepared -- you want to know something about the person you're talking with, you want to know what you...
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General

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General. Your best writing and/or photos in any genre.
 
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Polish and Finish

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So you should have a story draft done and now is the time when you want to polish it and develop it into something you can record.

But first I want to try to rid you of a habit that comes from school. Often you are working on a piece of homework or a project and you are about halfway done and you suddenly realize I hate this idea. What was I thinking?  But school rarely affords you the time -- or incentive or inclination -- to start anew. Because, after all, it's all about a...
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Research/Revise

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For this XP, we're going to do a bit of research. You can keep building off of your post in the last XP, or you can decide to jump ship and start a new topic, if you're so inclined. If none of the statements from the first XP make you want to write your heart out, pick something that does. Something that people don't understand, or that you feel you could argue well.

Look back at your respose to the last XP, and the feedback you received. Were you missing content anywhere? Did you...
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Week Three

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It's time for week THREE of reading! 

This week, we are reading chapters 14 - 19 (read through nineteen) of Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart. We will be reading this section from August 7th to August 12th. Remember to read FIRST, and THEN take a look at the activities for this section.

Remember, to post here, you have to hit RESPOND.

Next week, we will be having our PARTY!!! Keep an eye out for a post about the time and location...
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Clear, Brief, Bold

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If the only writing rules you read are the ones found in Chapter V of The Elements of Style, you'll be well-positioned as a writer.
(Chapter V is author E.B. White's addition to his professor William Strunk Jr.'s "little book" on English usage, The Elements of Style. E.B. White admired Strunk for the simple clarity of his message about good writing, boiled down to three words: Clear, Brief, Bold.)

Here are some of our favorites:
  • Write with nouns...
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The idea

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A Balancing Act

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Back-and-Forth Dialogue:

Once you get the flow of dialogue going, it can be easy to feel like you can just keep your characters talking, like the story is moving forward and you are revealing everything you should be revealing. This may be true, but there is a reason we don't all read screenplays for fun. Of course, reading plays and scripts is a legitimate way to read stories, but stories tend to stand best on their own with both dialogue and narrative.

...
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All About Me

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For this XP, we're going to focus on writing about ourselves--our beliefs, motivations, passions..

Choose one (or more) of the prompts below and use it as a jumping off point for a free-write. Just write what comes to mind, as fodder for more substantial poetry.

Prompts:
  • I am the one who...
  • This I believe...
  • Myself when I am real...
  • I like...
You can use these as first lines, titles, or just inspiration in general. Post your free-...
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Framing

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Act 3 Outline

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Activity: As with the last XP, the goal is to end up with answers to the following questions.

Does your MC get what they want? Do they get everything they wanted?
If they do get what they want, how does that happen? If they don’t get what they want, what happens instead?
How does the MC grow or change as a result of the end of the story?
What are the answers to your reader’s questions?
Will you give them those answers?


...
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Snippets

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For this XP, we'll take a listen to the world around us, and seek out some interesting dialogue. You may even want to carry an audio recorder (maybe you have an app for that...) to pick up on tidbits you might miss the first time around...

This XP kind of requires that you're in a place where there are people. Or at least, a place where you can hear people. Try it at school, in a store, on the sidewalk. Doesn't matter where.

The trick is to listen, with an active...

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Motivations

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Note: Work through all three steps before posting your response to this XP. Take breaks in between if you have to! Each activity should only take 10-15 minutes on its own.

Step 1: Getting in Touch with Your Emotions
Before getting into serious research about your character's motivations, take a minute to yourself to lie down on a comfortable surface (bed, couch, floor, etc.) with the lights out. Close your eyes and try to clear your mind. If you can,...
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Moments I -- The ideas

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All stories are based on human interaction, wants/needs, obstacles, and a pivotal moment when the character bumps into (crashes into, circumvents) the obstacle and something shifts. The action can be subtle. And it can also be a very simple exchange of dialogue in which the wants/needs aren't as clear. I give you this story that I wrote a while ago and which went viral on the InterWeb, garnering 350,000 views in just a couple of days.
 
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Backing Up

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As this video attests, the late, great writer Kurt Vonnegut (if you haven't read any of his books, go find one immediately) had some funny and comprehensible thoughts about what a story is. Below is a graphical representation of what he calls the Shapes of Stories.

 
...
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Digiwrimo Challenge #2 -- REACTION storytelling

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This is a storytelling challenge that is...
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Tonal Range

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This Playlist is an embedded post from fold.cm -- click on the highlighted words to see resources, examples, and fun asides.
 

 
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Mimic

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Write a piece in the style of an author or poet you admire.
You can choose to tell us who your inspiration was, or let us try to guess!
 
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Feet

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Photo1-Feet. Write a story or poem inspired by this photo (by August Spagnuolo-Chawla of Essex High School, Vermont).
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Transition Words

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Transition words are guideposts for your reader. Choosing the correct transition word is critical: Are you comparing or contrasting two thoughts? Are you trying to prove something? Are you trying to emphasize a point? The right transition word at the right time will get you where you want to be.
Words such as "and, again, besides, furthermore" signal to the reader that you're adding something to your argument or story.
Similarly, there are transition words for comparing and/or...
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Sound1-Witch.

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Sound1-Witch. Listen to the sound and write a story inspired by it.
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Be Prepared

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To get started, watch this video.....

For your own interview, decide WHO you want to feature. Who would make an interesting story? Who would be willing to share their story with you? And how do you want to tell it -- in writing, photos, audio, video -- all of them? We'll leave these decisions to you.
And we'll focus in this Playlist on interviewing tips and techniques that are designed to get the best story possible.

Tip 1: Be...
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The Idea

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Writing Realistically

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Timing and Appropriateness:

Writing good dialogue is one thing, but making sure that it falls at an appropriate time in the story is something else entirely. Not every conversation is appropriate for every situation. Think about when people would and wouldn't have deep conversations, for example. Two characters probably would not have a conversation about death and mortality while on a lighthearted shopping trip or while getting ready for a party. On the flip side,...
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Descriptives

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This simple task can best be done at home. What is your house/neighborhood/community like? Try to think of your five senses -- taste, touch, sound, sight, smell -- as you describe your home. Walk around your neighborhood and jot down things you notice -- a few words, a sentence, a paragraph if you feel like it or just list items.  What are the physical characteristics? What stands out? What are the sounds? The smells? The sights? What does your neighborhood feel like? Is there a taste that...
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Writing What You Hear

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Talk + Listen:

We talk a lot in everyday life. We talk to our parents, to our friends, perhaps even to our pets. And we hear dialogue all around us, whether at the mall or at school or even in a public restroom. But it can be hard to take the inherent knowledge you have of the way a normal and natural conversation sounds, and put it into your own words on a piece of paper. We don't normally think about the actual way people carry on conversations, because we have...
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Final Points

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Draft One!

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Activity: For this XP, grab your outlines and jump into writing your first act. Make sure to keep in mind what you want your reader to be wondering, and what your character needs to want. This might seem like a lot of work, and it kind of is.

If you’re having trouble getting the words out, check out some of these websites that can help you just write. Write or Die is a web app with a premium option, but if you choose...
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Radio Scan

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Have you ever put your radio on scan, and laughed at the weird bits and pieces of music and talking that you hear? Sometimes you'll get two things in a row that are completely wacky when you put them together. Maybe you get part of an advertisement, then a rock song, then a preacher. Or maybe your classical music hops right into your EDM station and all of a sudden your ears fall off.

Well, this XP is going to explore that weirdness that we've all experienced at one time or another....
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I and You

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Poetry Competition! Write! Get published! Win tickets to this amazing play! Deadline: Thursday, March 31.
Vermont Stage and Young Writers Project invite all middle and high school writers to respond to one of the writing challenges below to accompany Vermont Stage's upcoming play, "I and You," April 20-May 8 at FlynnSpace in Burlington. The winning submission will be printed in the play's program and the top three writers will receive a pair of...
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Feedback and Revision

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Feedback is hugely important for this one! Read as many of your peers cover letters as you can (ok, maybe not as many as you can, but like, 3 or 4).
 
This time, respond to the tone, content, and length of the letter. Did you get bored or confused at any point? Was there anything that seemed unnecessary or unprofessional? Did you feel as if the writer was a positive person? What about the formatting? Was it simple and easy to read, or was it distracting?
 
Use this time to...
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Write

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Activity: This might be the hardest XP so far! You have to write! All you can do is sit down and get the words out. Keep your outline handy, and refer to it if you feel lost. If you're at a loss for inspiration or emotion, check out some of the inspiring (in one way or another) media below. 

 
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Moments II -- Fiction or not -- END GAME

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"Write what you know." You've heard that before. And there is truth to it: If you really know and understand what you are writing about, you'll write with more confidence, with more specific detail, more strength. But ... doesn't that seem a bit confining, too? I mean you are young; there are a lot of things you haven't done yet, that you don't know.

Take a look at the video above from playwright Nathan Englander. He has a better, more encouraging point to make.
...
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Persuasive

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Arnold Schwarzenegger (THE TERMINATOR and former Republican governor of California) published an open note on Facebook titled "I don't give a **** if we agree about climate change." (Despite the provocative title, it's a PG article.) The meat of his message was this: fossil fuels like oil and coal will eventually run out, so it's in everybody's best interest to switch to renewable energy whether or not they believe climate change is a) happening, b) caused...
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Hot & Cold

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This Playlist is an embedded post from fold.cm -- click on the highlighted words to see resources, examples, and fun asides.
 

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Brainstorming Characters

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Think of your favorite books and movies - why do you like your favorite character? Why does the storyline really grip you? The answers to these questions should help you think of how you can create your own captivating story.

Begin brainstorming around characters. Start by creating a list of responses to these prompts:

- I am fascinated by people who…

OR

- If you already have characters in mind -- I am fascinated that my character...
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World

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World. Create a new world, either in words or drawings. You can go elaborate or simple -- it's your world!
 
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Dare Not

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Starting line: "I dare not say what I am about to write..." #livechallenge
 
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Making Connections

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Transitions that work are so good, they're invisible. The reader is unaware of the time and effort you put into making your writing flow.

Activity: Write a first draft of a short essay on a topic that interests you, just the barebones, main ideas. Take some time to consider how you want your essay to progress. Is it chronological? Should it begin or end with the most important idea? Move from general to specific, or vice-versa? If it's an opinion piece, you might...
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End

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It's finally here: the end of the novel. 

This week, we are from chapter 20 to the end of the novel Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart. We will be finishing our reading on August 16th, and we will be having a party on that date at the YWP office in Burlington VT (click HERE for more info). Remember to read FIRST, and THEN take a look at the activities for this section.

Remember, to post here, you have to hit RESPOND.

...
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The Unexpected

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Tip 4: Adjust to the unexpected. When interview subjects are on a roll, let them go! Don't hurry along to the next question on your sheet. See where the tangent takes you! 
However, there is a risk of having the interview hijacked (as Jim Carrey does with Jay Leno). At a reasonable point, it's up to you to reel the subject back in.

Tip 5: Repeat. Sometimes people reveal incredible things in interviews, and say or do things so outrageous...
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Improve Your Drawings

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Formatting Dialogue

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Overview:

Each rule listed below has its own optional activity, but it is up to you to decide if you want to practice each formatting rule by itself or if you just want to do the final culminating activity at the end.

If you want to practice each one, the rules are simple: for each new formatting rule, write an example of the rule being followed correctly and one of the rule not being followed correctly, much like with the other steps in this...
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Photos

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This exercises is designed to have you get as many photos as you can of your neighborhood/community. Take your pictures at different times of day. Get a sense of the traffic, or the people, or the architecture, the street scenes, the homes, the stores. A couple of fun things to do:

Stand at the same place and take a dozen or so pictures from the exact same angle over a period of 30 minutes or, if there's a lot of activity and traffic over a period of 15 minutes.
Get some...
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Remember The Time

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Create a sketch inspired by a memorable experience with a friend, relative, neighbor, etc. Don't skimp on the details. What makes the experience memorable?  

Think of a memorable day (or moment, or season.. or.. or..) with a friend, neighbor, etc. (For example, I remember a beautiful, rainy, spring morning in Boston, holding hands with an old girlfriend while waiting to take a bus to Vermont.)  What was, or is, memorable about your encounter? What do you want (and need) the...
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Intro

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Welcome

Hello, and welcome to Digital Drawing Level II. In this Playlist, you will be going more in-depth with the skills learned in Digital Drawing Level I. The xp's in this playlist will be shorter, because at this point, you will need to play around with your program and get used to drawing on the computer, with limited guidance. This Playlist will not help you develop a drawing style, practice will.

For this Playlist, you will need a computer, a...
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Revision

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Activity: Now that you've given and received some feedback, you should have some ideas of how to brush up your piece. Were there any aspects that confused anyone? Any parts that didn't seem to connect, logically?

Give your piece a read through, out loud (yes, really). Are there any areas that you stumble over, or have to re-read multiple times? Feel free to fix grammar and spelling type mistakes, but focus on the content first. Do the actions of...
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My Vermont

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Write a personal, true story about an experience, person or place that defines your Vermont. The best stories will be submitted to Vermont Life magazine and, if accepted, you will receive an offer of payment and be scheduled for publication. Word count: 300-750 words. 
 
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Phone Call

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Similar to the first XP in this Playlist, this one invites you to do a bit of eavesdropping. This time, rather than finding a dialogue to listen to, keep your ears out for someone talking on the phone. Only being able to hear one side of the conversation can really get your imagination going. The trick is to follow whatever path your mind wanders down.

Listen for a few lines of conversation from someone talking on a phone and jot them down. Next, try to imagine what the other side of...
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Ice Fishing

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So watch the video and just let your mind go; write for seven minutes.

(Video courtesy of Lenard Conlon. Thanks.)
And here's the code to embed in your response: <iframe allowfullscreen="" src...
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Revise

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Activity: Read through your draft. Then, read through it again and for every sentence, ask yourself the following questions:
  • Does this sentence move the story along?
  • Does this sentence develop me as a character?
  • Does this sentence develop the setting?
  • Does this sentence assist in tying the story in with my theme?

If the answer to all of these questions is no, take the sentence out and adjust the segments around it. When you're...
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Opening

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Opening sentence exercise: Concepts: Writing is a series of sentences with each new sentence relating to the previous. Each written sentence can be explored with a question or two to help you formulate the next one. As you progress, more and more questions will arise. The challenge: Write an active, declarative sentence about a character -- could be a real person but if so hide their identity. KEEP that sentence, hit the return button, ask yourself a question...
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Tinted & Shaded

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This Playlist is an embedded post from fold.cm -- click on the highlighted words to see resources, examples, and fun asides.
 

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Developing Characters

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Choose two characters from your list in the previous XP. Answer the following questions to create two profiles of each character.

1. Who are your characters?  

2. What do your characters want in their lives? What are their needs? Wishes? Dreams?

3. What are your characters' hatreds and loves?

4. Where do you see this character? What is the setting (time and place)?  

Jot down your responses to these questions (for each character you've come...
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Learn

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Learn. Tell a story about a time when you had to learn something you didn't know how to do, such as using new software, taking a photo, riding a bike. How did you learn it? Who helped? How did they help?
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Veteran

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Veteran. What's it like being back? Do you know a vet? Have a conversation with her/him about their experience or focus on one small anecdote. Use specific detail if you can.
 
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School's Back

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School. It's back. Share your worries, excitement, apprehension, preparations, rituals... if you're feeling it, we want to hear about it! What do you expect this year to be like? Do you have good luck charms to help you usher in a successful new year?

BONUS PHOTO CHALLENGE:  Take photos on your camera or phone to document a day in the life of your school. (Remember to get the OK from your principal and/or teachers and the subjects of your photos.) Upload your photos...
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Look Ma, no text!

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This XP is intended to get you to show you how you tell a story AND to help the group hear each other's stories and then decide upon an overall theme for the stories in this workshop.
 
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Seeing the World

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Final Project

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From My Yard to My Kitchen

Sketch out one of your favorite activities, and then color it. Make sure you are working on multiple layers when you do this. Sketch on one layer, add your hard lines on another, shading, coloring, etc.

This is an open-ended project. You can draw something as simple as an object, or as complex as a self-portrait with you actually doing the activity. Be creative with exactly what you draw, the angle you draw it from, and how you...
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Choosing a Topic

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Generating Ideas:

A common starting point for writing a personal essay is thinking about the most unique thing about yourself, the thing that makes you the most different from everyone around you. But that can seem like an overwhelming task. SO a different, and perhaps easier strategy, is to simply think about what makes you YOU. Even if that thing seems commonplace or not interesting enough to catch a reader's (or an Admission Officer's) eye, the thing they truly...
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Sounds

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Borrow a digital sound recorder or use your smartphone to record sounds from your neighborhood. Do it at several different times so you get a good variety. What sounds do you think of when you think of your neighborhood? Try to capture them. And think, too, of some of the pictures you took. Can you get some sounds to go with your favorites? Like if it's a person, can you get them in a natural conversation? 


Some tips:Get more sound than you think you need.
Start your...
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Formal Dialogue

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Formality Fixes: Formal dialogue tends to lack everyday phrases like "well," "I dunno," "gotta," "but," etc. It often doesn't use common contractions either, opting for "I am" instead of "I'm." These small differences can make a huge change in the way the dialogue flows. Remember, no one speaks in perfect sentences all the time. No one uses proper phrases like "ought to" or "the park, from where I came" in everyday life. We all use slang, we all use little grammar shortcuts....
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Universal Shortcuts

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What are Universal Shortcuts?

They are keystrokes you can use to access a certain function. They allow you to type in the code for a certain function, rather than search through the pull-down tabs manually. They make using the computer far more efficient.

There are millions of program/computer-specific shortcuts in existence, which we will be unable to access in this XP due to the sheer number. In this XP, we will look at a few universal shortcut to almost...
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Complete Draft

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Activity: If you haven’t commented on anything yet, do that before you do anything else! Find something that doesn’t have a comment or has the least comments, and tell the author something that you liked about it AND something that confused you or that you think could be improved about the plot. Once you’re done with that, head back to your X-post and read the comments that people have left for you. If it helps you, write them down on one sheet of paper to keep...
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In the Distance

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This XP can be done just about anywhere. The trick is to really listen--strain your ears to hear. Try to pick up on the slightest, most obscure noises. Go beyond the regular sounds you hear all the time--tree limbs blowing, traffic going by, footsteps. What else do you hear?

It's okay if you can't identify the sounds you're hearing. It's better that way, actually. For this XP, you don't even need to worry about what the actual sound is. Just start writing your wildest imaginings of...
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Introductions

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One of the first things many interviewers will ask of you, is for your to “tell a little about yourself.
 
As easy as this sounds, it can be really easy to seize up, and not be able to think of anything good to say. You don’t want to sound fake, but you also want to paint yourself in a positive light.
 
To start thinking the right way, list a couple of pieces of basic background information (age, where you’re from, where you go to school), a few positive things...
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Appearance

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Activity: Piecing it Together
Use clues you have gathered throughout the last two XPs to form a mental image of your character. Begin to find images - either your own sketches or inspiration photos from the internet - that represent aspects of your character's appearance. Ask yourself about their age, their body type and abilities, what they wear. Think about the time period of the story, your character's living conditions and their occupation. Do research! Have fun with...
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My Beliefs

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The following questions are being used to help Vermont students develop profiles for their personal learning plans (PLP’s).  You may have already generated answers to these which will be a plus for this quick write. We are going to focus on the first question in order to brainstorm some stories about past experiences that have shaped us.
 
  • Who am I? What defines me as a person and member of my community?
  • How do I learn? How do I learn best to meet my academic goals?
  • ...
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Coming Full Circle

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This Playlist is an embedded post from fold.cm -- click on the highlighted words to see resources, examples, and fun asides.
 

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Dialogue

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Take a look back at the brainstorming activities you did in the first two XPs, just to make sure you're remembering what you came up with. You may want to read over your notes on the characters you built out.

Now: Imagine that two (or more) of your characters find themselves together somewhere (stranded, stuck, or any other preferred scenario, in a setting of your choice).

What would these two (or more) characters say in this situation? Write a practice dialogue between...
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Inanimate

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Inanimate. Think about an inanimate object that has been thrown away. Write a story or poem following its journey after it is considered trash.
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Sound2-Funk.

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Sound2-Funk. Listen to this sound and write a story inspired by it.
 
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What is a Fable?

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What is a Fable?

A fable is a short story (written in either prose or poetry) that expresses a moral--some type of widely applicable life lesson. Typically, the main characters in a fable are personified animals, mythical creatures, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature.

A classic fable is Aesop's The Lion and The Mouse (a link to a copy of it can be found by clicking the title...

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Voice

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Reflection

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So this is an easy one. CLICK RESPOND and share some ideas or themes that came to mind in your own story and/or the stories of others. Just jot them down. You don't need to write much, but just think about the point of the stories.... were they about pain? or humor? or love lost? or losing something you really treasured? 

Was there a theme? 

For those of you in Ms. Miller's school, you'll have time to brainstorm and discuss this, but this is just to help you in that...
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Point of View

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Introducing Balance

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Finding the Why

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Narrowing it Down:

A topic is not always a story. Sometimes a topic is so vague, so broad, or so general, that it is hard to imagine drawing a particular emotion or story out of it. Sometimes you may find a topic interesting but not have a deep enough connection with it to write an informed essay about it.

But on the other hand, you know how sometimes a conversation lands on a given topic (pets, for example), and immediately five meaningful stories come to...
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People

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Every town or community or neighborhood has some interesting characters -- retired people who hang out on porches or the sidewalks and have lived in the area for a long time, or store owners, crossing guards, mechanics ... Does your community have some interesting people? Or do you live with an extended family? Might your older relatives be interesting to talk to?

When you think of some people to get insight from; FIRST, list them. 

SECOND, talk to a few of them. Get ...
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Record Something

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Getting Started

The first step, of course, is getting familiar with the technology of recording and editing. Above is a decent 13-minute walk through on some basics of Audacity
which is a free and very powerful sound recording and editing software. Here's where to download it: And also muscle through the information for setting up to export your finished product into an mp3:...
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Summer Finale!

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Summer Finale: Tell us the best story of your summer. Something that happened that was funny or jolting or powerful but most of all it has to be a story. Use detail. Choose any format, bring in multi-media. Poems, stories, photos, audio, digital stories, videos, songs--all fair game. Let's see what you can do. Tell us your best story of the summer.

#livechallenge
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Lines

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Metaphors

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Activity: For this XP, we're going to write a piece that utilizes metaphor. If you've never tried metaphors before, start with some simple ones. A metaphor is simply a statement that equates one thing with another--to point out how they are similar. Take a look at the examples below for ideas.

Once you've done that, you can expand on what similarities caused you to make the comparison. When you’re done with your draft, post it as a response to this XP....
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Song

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Think about--or listen to--a couple of songs that really speak to you. You know, those lyrics that always find their way into your head, even when you haven't been listening to the song. Write a few lines that stand out to you. Think about just those lines. Ignore the rest of the song for now. Why do you think those lines stand out to you? Is there a story behind them?

After you jot down a few lines you've heard, or that stick in your head, start to put down some notes about...
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Tough Question

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Occasionally, you may get a couple of curveball questions thrown your way. Honestly, even pretty innocuous questions can come across as being confusingly difficult in the heat of the moment. Just remember, the interviewer just wants to get to know you, and figure out if you’re a good fit. If you’re at an interview, they are already considering hiring you, so you don’t have to try to “prove yourself” with every answer. Just be as honest and confident as you can.
 
Some common questions...
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Voice

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Actors and writers must find believable, interesting and authentic voices for their characters. This can be hard. What if you're a sixteen-year-old voicing the part of an elderly veteran? What if that veteran lives in a different time period or is of a different country, ethnic background or race? It's possible, but it takes work.

Activity: Speak It
Using all of the information that...
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Personal Narrative Details

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Review the brainstorming that you accomplished in XP 1 and choose one personal story that shaped you. You may want to use the feedback you received to help you decide which story to tell--or not! Just pick the one that speaks to you the most.
 
Put yourself directly in the middle of the experience that you have chosen. Transport yourself back to that defining moment.  This isn’t a "bed to bed" story about an entire day, rather you are going to focus on the...
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Primary

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Monologue

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Exercise 1: Monologue

Choose one of the prompts below and write as though your character is talking to him/herself or writing in a journal or diary. Take a moment to get into the mindset of the character. It can be incredibly relaxing to adopt a new persona for a few minutes!

Set a timer and write for seven minutes.

Prompts:
  • No one really knows me...
  • I'm the one who...
  • I'm only really myself when...
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Building a Setting

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Return to the question “Where do you see this character(s)? What is the setting (time & place)?”

a.       Find a photo or image that best captures where you imagine your characters. Write about this place.

b.      What is the name of it? Where is it in the country? (or make it up!)

c.       What’s it like there?

d.      What are the residents like?

e.       Where do your characters live here? Or are they just passing through?
...
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Read, read, read

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Essays and research papers that are successful are written by people who find the topic fascinating.
The topic might be something that you selected -- and you're already interested in it -- or it mght have been assigned to you.
Either way, a magical thing happens as you read: You become familiar with the topic; you understand it; you want to read more; AND you might even find it fascinating!

Activity: Select a news story, an essay or research paper on...
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Music pt 1

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Write it first.

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So writing is easy -- it's just one sentence at a time. Imagine that you are telling your story (or a new one) and write in that voice. Have the second sentence relate to the first, the third with the second, and so on. 

 
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Radial and Diagonal

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Framing

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Narrative:

One of the easier ways to frame a personal essay is as a story. It may have a beginning, middle, and end just like a story, as long as it also contains the self-reflective parts of a personal essay as well. This format lends itself well to ideas that are centered around a particular event ithat led to some sort of lesson or discovery -- in fact, the majority of personal essays could be framed as a story of sort.

Read this exemplar to get a...
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Backstory 2.0

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Tell the story behind one of these photos by Kevin Huang. Take it further and go to the YWP Academy Workshop on "The 5-Photo Story."
 
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You

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What is your story about your neighborhood or community? What's it like for you? Do you like it? Do you have a favorite place you feel most like yourself? A playground or park? A store? A dance hall? Or your own home? What's happening in your neighborhood? Are the houses in good shape or are some of then run down? Or do you live in a place with lots of nice homes? Is it city or suburban? Do you feel safe? If not, why not? What's going on? 

Just describe your neighborhood. 
...
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Tracks

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What's a Track?
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Pixels & Printing

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Similes

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Similes are like metaphors, in that they help readers understand a concept that they might otherwise find difficult or boring. Both metaphors and similes point out shared characteristics between different things. But unlike metaphors, similes include an outright statement of comparison, i.e. we say that one thing is like something else. (There are variations on the format in which similes are presented, but they always include some phrase that acknowledges the comparison being made.)
...
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Intro

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Prewriting refers to whatever method you use to organize your ideas, before you start piecing together a full draft. For longer, more complex stories, prewriting is essential. It helps you keep your ideas in order, and gives you a visual of how all of your plot points connect and make sense.

Many stories end up going through multiple rounds of prewriting--often starting out sparsely and getting more detailed and complex as the ideas become more concrete.

...
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Asking Questions

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One thing that you can pretty much depend on during an interview, is that you’ll be given a chance to ask your own questions. This is a great opportunity, not only to clear up any confusion you might have, but also to show that you are dedicated to the job or internship being offered. Relevant, specific questions about the job duties, or the mission and vision of the company show the interviewer that you’ve done your homework, you care about the opportunity, and that you have an active,...
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Body Language

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Movement is your secret weapon as an actor or author. It's a natural way - without using dialogue - to convey clues about a character's physical or emotional state that might otherwise take paragraphs to explain to your audience.

ACTIVITY: MAP IT OUT
Remember that character sheet you started building way back in the first XP? Pull that baby out and review your notes. Take note of:...
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Generating Belief Statements

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Listen to the two student essays that are linked here.  What do you notice about how they set up their essays? Write a quick response about your observations.
 
Essay 1  Joshua Yochasz – “We’re All Different in Our Own Ways”

Essay 2 Delia Motivalli – “Find a Good Frog”

NEXT

Review your responses to XP 1 and...
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Object

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Object: Out of nowhere, an object falls from the sky, landing directly at your feet. What is it and what happens next?

#live challenge
#vtwritesday
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Bedroom

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Exercise 2: Bedroom

Step 1: Imagine you are standing in your character's bedroom. What do you see? Make a list. Include posters that might be on the walls, photos around the room, furniture. Is there a bulletin board and if so, what's on it? Open drawers in the desk or dresser and look at what's inside. Find a treasure box/diary and explore. Spend 5-7 minutes making a list of what is in this room.

Step 2: Choose one item from the list and...
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Creating Conflict

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Now is the time to begin formulating your full story...

To get your story going with some energy, begin writing at the climax of the story.

a.       What is the conflict between your two characters?

b.      How does this conflict grow?

c.       How does it finally “explode” between the characters?


Try to write about something UNEXPECTED happening.

a.       What would throw your reader off and surprise them?
...
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Innate Gift

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Frank McCourt, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Angela's Ashes, used to teach English in a vocational school in Brooklyn, NY. He noticed that when his students missed an assignment or class, they would come up with marvelously creative and (mostly) credible excuses to explain why. It was a type of writing that came naturally -- and it's where you're going to start practicing the Art of the Argument!
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The Tale of the Fable

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Beginnings

You know WHAT a fable is, but you do not know where they came from. As you can imagine, fables have been around for quite some time.

The most famous fables in Western civilization are from Aesop. Aesop was a (potentially legendary) Greek figure who is credited with around 200 fables.

There were fables around far before then, however. In India, fables are known to have been passed down word of mouth starting as early as 5th century BCE...
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Music pt 2

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Final Revision and record

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We want you to review what you created in the last XP (open it in another tab). Do you like it? Is it getting close? 
  • If so, COPY and PASTE the text here. 
  • Revise: The easiest thing to do is to read the text out loud, again, and see where your tongue trips up. Is it too long? Are you losing interest? (If so, where?) How can you cut this down a bit? How can you draw some of it out?
  • Once you've made your final revisions, it's time to make your final recording. 
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Final Project

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Symmetry

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The First Draft

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To Begin:

These are a few tips that might might the process seem a little less daunting. Of course, everyone has their own way of writing, but hopefully these hints give you some clarity about one direction you could go. And remember, this is only the first draft. Don't be too hard on yourself!

1. You already have an outline and a lot of ideas and maybe even a few starting sentences. Use them. Think about where the idea starts from. Find...
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Waves 2.0

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Gasping for breath, she watched the waves… Use this as your first or last line. 

[Photo Credit: Dominick Lessard]
 
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Getting Started

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This XP has four short activities to get you started and you will create two posts. If possible, do this exercise in the same time frame or within a couple of hours of each other. 

The purpose of this exercise, which has multiple parts, is to go after what we think is one of the toughest parts of writing a play -- getting started. 

 
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Intro to Editing

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Let's start editing!

It's time to get into the fun stuff--exploring the possibilities of editing audio.

For this XP, we're going to focus on a few common things that you'll want to know how to do as you begin your journey towards becoming a master sound technician.


...

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Select & Transform

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What does Select and Transform Mean?
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Hyperbole

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Hyperboles are over-exaggerations for the purpose of adding emphasis to an idea. Hyperbole is often linked to similie and/or metaphor. If you were to say "that baby was like an elephant!" You'd likely be making a hyperbolic similie--as the baby wasn't actually as big or as loud as a real elephant...

Activity: ​Try writing a piece with at least three hyperboles in it. You can adapt the same piece you wrote before, or start a new one. Think about what kind of a feeling...
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End Product

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Tip 10: Achieve your goal. Throughout the interviewing process -- from your early research to your conversation with your interview subject -- always be thinking of what you are trying to achieve. What is the end product? What is the story? How do I want it to look or sound?

Always aim for:  clarity of sound and thought, strong quotes, a story that is true and fair -- and above all, a great read.

Note about audio...
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Cliches

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"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
- Mark Twain


In literature, certain classics endure, no matter what the world is doing right now -- Shakespeare's plays, Jane Austen's novels, Walt Whitman's poetry.
It's the same with writing instruction. H.W. Fowler, a British schoolmaster and...

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Final Steps

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Here's the part where you take all the ingredients you have gathered throughout this Playlist and combine them to bring your character to life. The assembly will differ depending on whether you're working on the page or on the stage, so this XP is divided into two sections: one for actors and one for writers. Either way, you'll want to have your character sheets handy! Jump ahead to your section to wrap this puppy up.
...
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"This I Believe" Essay

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Return to your list from XP3 and review it. Now that you've developed your belief statement, and have some story ideas to back those beliefs up, it's time to craft your narrative. Show your audience what you believe in, and make them see why. Check this guidelines link for the “This I Believe” project for some helpful reminders before you begin your essay. 
 
  • Keep it real and keep it positive. 
  • Speak with an honest and...
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Cats

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Cats: Write from the perspective of anyone or anything in the scene below.
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Dialogue

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Exercise 3: Dialogue

Characters reveal themselves by their actions and by their interactions with others. We find out more about them by what (and how) they say to others AND by what others say to them. In this exercise you will start out writing a dialogue in play form (i.e. Character 1: blah blah blah/Character 2: blah blah blah) Don't use any descriptors telling how they say something. Let your word choice show this.

Your character is waiting at the bus...
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Final Activity

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Take a look back at the story you've begun to create (in the previous XP). Now is the time to tweak it, add to it, and build out your conflict.

Take into consideration all the work you've done to brainstorm, and develop characters and settings. And be sure to listen to the feedback you've received from your readers!

You may want to start a whole new draft from scratch, or go back and add, tweak, delete, or otherwise change what you posted in the last XP. That's up to you!...
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Weekend

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Spend the weekend responding to any of the extensions on any of the challenges from this week. Or just continue working on something you've already started!

#summerofstories16
 
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A moment

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This is a common way to start a story -- think of a memorable moment, something that happened that brought change or that put you in a dilemma or that was really a sudden rush of emotion. ALL you will do is make a list -- with phrases intended to capture the essence, headline, action of your story to remind you of what it was. And, again, think of a memorable moment in your life. Here are some framing questions to help:
  • an act of betrayal (something you've done, or something...
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Supporting Sentences

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Using the same essay or narrative that you've been polishing in this Playlist, let's take it further!

In a solid, unified piece of writing, you will find mulitple connections -- seamless transitions, repetition of thought -- and also supporting sentences that provide reasons, explanations, examples for your point. Great writers take the time to support their points with real examples.

For instance, along with the repeition of the word, "room," notice also how Charles...
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Water Cycle

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Watch this video to get an overview of the water cycle, what it does, and what role it plays in our lives. As many of you may know, the water cycle has three main steps: evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. However, the cyclical nature of water also means that new water cannot be created, and existing water cannot truly be destroyed. The amount of water on earth is constant, and, therefore, finite. This poses a problem when water is made unusable through pollution or overusage...
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Audience

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Thanks to everyone who told stories on Monday June 19 at Camels Hump. (And I am sorry I could only be in one place at once! But we at YWP got to hear all of your stories and NICE JOB!) If anyone has photos from the other two venues -- the Lab and Spark Space, give them to a teacher, Ms. Miller or Ms. Stern, and they can come and edit this post and add them to the slideshow!

ALSO, YWP has edited (a little bit) each of the audio recordings of your stories and have given them to your...
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Natural Light

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Final Project

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A Step Back

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A Pause:

This is your chance to take a step back, to look at what you've accomplished and take a minute to decide how you feel about it. It's where you have to evaluate your own essay and decide if you want to continue ahead with it or if you want to explore a different option. It can be easy to plow through writing an essay or a story, especially if you just want to get to the end, but this is a good place to take a breather and remember what your original idea was...
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Life 2.0

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Explain the entire life of the next stranger you see — such as the major events and experiences that have shaped who they are and what they love — in just five sentences.

[Photo Credit: Ashley Warren]
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Starting Your Play

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Opening Scenarios & First Two Pages
 
In this XP, you’re going to write the beginning of your play, but first you’ll need to create what we call the Opening Scenario. The Opening Scenario gives you just enough information to get started and nothing more.
 
The first step is to turn your character into an actual protagonist – someone who wants something and does things to get it. The word protagonist comes...
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Editing Fun

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Let's Have Some Fun

Now that we have the basics of editing down, it's time to have a little bit of fun.

Have you ever heard someone say that their comments were "taken out of context?" We're going to take that idea to a new level, by rearranging the audio of a piece of speech, to create something totally new. Behold, the power of editing!

One thing we haven't covered yet, is cutting up tracks, and moving the pieces around. This is where the...
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Sample Exercises

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Congratulations

You have successfully completed the instruction section of the Digital Drawing Level II course. This XP includes drawing exercises and prompts, so that you can continue to practice while still having some structure.


Practicing

First
It is very helpful to drawing from references. It is always best if these are real-life objects, but photos work too. Don't feel bad about using reference images. It does...
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Syndeton

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Syndeton is a word for an author's choice to put more conjunctions than are necessary into a piece. (Conjunctions are words that connect other words, phrases, and independent clauses: and, but, for, or, nor, so, yet.)

Activity:  Use a piece from a previous XP in this playlist, or any piece you've written in the past. Read it out loud to yourself. Now, in a word processor or your notebook, edit it and add as many conjunctions as you can. Anywhere that there's...
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Free-wheeling

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There are two main types of "free-wheeling" writing outlines. Borrowing the wording and images from nownovel.com, let's take a look at "Synopsis" and "Draft Zero" prewrites.

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Owl

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OWL: You are the owl, the girl or...
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Rant

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What makes you really, REALLY angry? Write about it in the most colorful way you can think of.
 
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First Person

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First person point of view is used when a character is narrating the story. The narrator can be any sort of character, including main characters, secondary characters, and abstract concepts turned into characters (for example, The Book Thief is narrated by Death). The reader is let in on the perspective and thoughts of the narrator, but doesn't have access to the perspective or thoughts of other characters...unless the author switches between characters, or the narrator is a mind-reader of some...
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The Want

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The start of every argument is a want, usually a desire to make someone agree with your idea or do something you're asking of them. To be clear, this is YOUR OWN want. We'll get to the oppositional forces in a bit. For now, start here.


What do you want to get out of this argument?

Say your family is moving and you and your siblings get to decide how to divvy up the bedrooms. One, in particular, really catches your eye. That. That bedroom. That's The...
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World

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World: Take on an issue facing the world – such as climate change, ISIS, gun control, racial profiling – and write your best rant and/or persuasive argument.

#pastchallenge
#vtwritesday
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Thoughts

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Exercise 4: Thoughts

Go back to the dialogue you created in the previous XP. Copy the text into your response here, and add some thoughts the two characters are having. Focus on what your character was thinking; the reactions, reasoning, emotions--anything. Put the thoughts in parentheses throughout the dialogue.

Submit your new creation here.

 
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A place

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Again, we're going to have you make a list. List some places -- and add DETAIL to each item -- where you've been that are memorable. It might be a treehouse or a dark alley, someone's mansion or a run-down shack. A place at school (horror story?) or a farm.
 
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Writing a Fable

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Essential Elements

You know the important pieces of a fable, but how would you go about writing it? With such a loose yet specific form of writing, you will want to identify the essential elements of your fable before creating it. Similar to cooking or baking, you need to identify your ingredients before you can begin creating.

1: Your moral. What message are you trying to tell? What wrong are you trying to right?
2: Your characters. Who are they?...

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Water Consumption

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 A "water issue" can mean many anything from pollution to a drought to a general water shortage. This video outlines a common issue: How much water many of us use each day.

Many communities all across the globe face water issues every day. There are many places in the world where the water has been polluted so much that it is no longer drinkable. In places where people don't have easy access to water (from a well or a town water supply), they must travel long distances to...
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Recommendation

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We need to pick a book the YWP Book Club will be reading together for July/August. You have a book you love? Think other people would want to read it? Upload a book cover and write a recommendation -- why did you like it? what's it about? 

And if you want to discuss the book, or someone else's recommendation, use the comment section to the right of your/their post.

OR go back to the main workshop page and click the LIVE DISCUSSION tab.

OR go back to the main...
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Tonal Contrast

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Shaping Spaces

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Editing 1

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The Basics:

It's hard to receive constructive feedback about anything, no matter how you feel about it yourself. But one of the absolute hardest times get feedback or maybe even criticism is on a personal essay. The reason is right there in the name -- it's personal. It can feel like an invasion of your privacy to even share a personal essay, much less get feedback on it by someone who you don't know. BUT that being said, the point of a personal essay is not just to...
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Wings 2.0

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On your Birthday, you wake up to discover a mysterious note next to your bed that says you now have the ability to sprout wings! However, when you try to test out your wings, something rather unexpected sprouts out of your back…

[Photo Credit: Kevin Huang]
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The Draft

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So by now you should have gotten some response -- feedback from other participants and Middlebury College mentors -- to help you decide which is your favorite Opening Scenario and First Two pages. Now it's time to submit a Rough Draft.

Some hints: Keep in mind your favorite Opening Scenario,  your characters, the wants and obstacles (competing forces or competing wants) and the Inciting Incident. Think about the suggestions you've received. Now go for it. Make sure you have enough...
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Home Studio

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Your Home Studio

The first thing that anyone can do to get a higher-quality audio recording, is to eliminate background noise and feedback. It's always a good idea to have an ambient noise track--but on your vocal track, the ideal is to have nothing but the vocals.

...
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Final Project

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Past, Present and Future
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Asyndeton

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Asyndeton is another rhetorical device that has a lot of power over the tone of your piece. Asyndeton is a word used to describe an author’s choice to use fewer conjunctions than normal. (Again, conjunctions: and, but, for, or, nor, so, yet.)

Activity: Find the original version of the piece you used in the last XP. Read the original piece aloud again. As before, open it in a word processor or use your notebook, but this time remove as many conjunctions as possible....
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Regimented

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If the free-wheeling style of outline didn't work out for you, it might be because you need a little more structure to your prewriting style. These prewriting types have a bit more scaffolding to work off of. In general, they have you start off with a certain idea, and fill in the gaps as you go along. These might be helpful if you're stuck at a certain part of your idea, or if you have a complex idea that you're afraid of losing track of.

...
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Final Activity

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For this activity you'll have some freedom to apply your new knowledge and skills in a way that appeals to you. We'll give you some ideas to use as a jumping off point, but the content is all up to you.

Ideas:
  • Write a story with a soundtrack: Upload your song to your post, to get your reader in the right frame of mind for your story.
  • Incorporate sound effects: Upload a single sound effect, or a recording of a few effects, that go along with your story. Point out to the...
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Second Person

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Second person point of view involves the narrator speaking directly to the reader, as if the reader is a character in the story. The narrator can, as with first person, be any sort of character. This point of view uses the pronouns "you", "your", etc. The narrator informs the reader what they sense, what emotions they feel, and what they think. As with first person, it is a limited perspective.

Activity: Write a piece in the second person point of view. As with first...
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Soundscape

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Soundscape: Tell a story based on this soundscape:

 

#pastchallenge
#vtwritesday
(Credit: anagar, fresco,...
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Setting

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Exercise 5: Setting

Think back to the bus stop where your dialogue is taking place. Where is this bus stop? What time of year is it? What year is it? You can choose a place you're very familiar with or one you wish you knew. Also think about how the bus stop relates to your character--is it a place he/she is familiar with?

Research your place by going to it or by looking at pictures, videos, weather charts, street views, whatever helps you see/feel this...
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Prep Work

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It is important on any voyage to have a little knowledge. These are some exercises for us to do BEFORE we head out on the road.
Reflecting on and documenting this starting point will be invaluable to us when we sit down to create our final pieces.
 
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A character

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So another way to start a story is to focus on a character. In this case, it's going to be you. BUT... we want you to mix fact and fiction -- which seems to be a real trend lately in America. But have fun with it. Keep some essence of your character, your wants and likes/dislikes, but tell us a backstory. Who is this you character? Where does you live? Who is your family? Where do you live, etc... go wild, BUT keep it credible.

A backstory, by the way, is how did a...
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Bonus: Expand Your Idea

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This XP is great opportunity to test your your skills in some other storytelling areas. Take a look at the feedback you've received, and ponder some of your own ideas since completing your fable in the previous XP.

How could you take this story to the next level?

Some classic ideas:
Add illustrations of your characters, setting, or pivotal moments in the story.
Record yourself reading the fable, to contribute to the oral tradition.
Create a...
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Intro

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Looking Inside

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Getting in Your Own Head:

It may seem like an easy task to think about your own thoughts, but it is hard to pay attention to something you do naturally and subconsciously all day every day. However, the important things to remember are to focus on what you say to people, and how the words you say relate to what you are thinking. If what you say to someone is differently worded or has a different emphasis from what you were thinking, what does that mean? Why do they...
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Low Lighting

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Positive/Negative

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Audience

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Activity: Take a look at the questions below. Answer as many (relevant ones) as you can.

It’s totally fine if some don’t have answers, for example, if your audience is women but they’re not part of any particular age group. And remember, we're just talking about the primary audience. You may think your piece appeals to a wide range of people, but who do you think would be most likely to seek out a story like the one you're writing?...
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Note 2.0

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Your character keeps in their pocket a note they have had since they were a child. What does it say? Why do they have it?

[Photo Credit: Cannizzaro]
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Final Script

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Now comes the fun part. And the difficult part. You've written a draft of your play. You've received some detailed feedback from other participants and evaluations from the Middlebury College playwrights. (Note: Some of the feedback may seem to conflict or may be something you disagree with. You are the playwright, you decide. But keep in mind the mentors have some experience.)

So a couple of hints on revision:
  • Re-read the version you completed in your last XP...
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Bring it Together

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Telling an Audio Story

For this XP, we'll leave the decision-making to you!

The final product you create is going to be a multi-track audio story--but the content, style, and format are all up to you.

 
Different Types of Audio Story

Think of all the different types of podcast you've heard of--...
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Where to Apply

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Internships and Job Offers

The first step towards creating a successful resume is to find a job or internship opportunity that you want to pursue. You may already have something in mind, or you may be starting from scratch. There are plenty of places to look for job offers, and you may want to consider asking your guidance or career counsellor about specific internship opportunities in your area. (New to looking for job offerings? Check out...
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Personification

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Personification is also known as prosopopoeia. When you assign an object qualities of a person in order to help your reader visualize it, you're employing prosopopoeia, or personifying it. Personification can often be found in the way a writer uses adjectives or action verbs to describe an object. This can be an effective way to help people relate to your writing, since it makes it easier for them to imagine whatever you're writing about.

Activity: Write a piece...
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Knight/Night

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One dark night, a lost, bedraggled knight comes upon a tiny cottage at the edge of the wood, and though he's mortified to admit his lack of knightly skills, he feels he has no choice but to knock on the door of the humble cottage. What happens next?  [Photo Credit: Kevin Huang]
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Templated

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These types of outlines are great for when you're struggling with how to formulate your story. They give you a bit of a template for what needs to be included, and helps to ensure that your story has all the parts it needs. Some writers may find these styles too constricting, while others find the structure to be liberating--giving you more freedom to focus on the content as a way to set your story apart.

...
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Parts of Identity

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Third Person Limited

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Third person limited is used when an external narrator is telling the story, but they only know the perspective of one character. This narration style is similar to first person, except that the pronouns are he/she/his/hers/them/theirs. The narrator can be anyone or anything, just as long as they stay within the perspective of one character. Third person limited means that the narrator is limited to the perspective of a single character--they don't have knowledge beyond what a normal...
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Imagine

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Imagine: You are granted a singular wish. Write about what happens after you ask for it. How does it affect your life?

#pastchallenge
#vtwritesday
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Final Activity

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Exercise 6: Put It All Together

You now have a character who believes something (monologue) and you know a little about the way he/she lives (bedroom) and thinks. Now, try writing the scene at the bus stop as a story. Put the dialogue in quotation marks with dialogue tags ("said" is the most effective tag because it disappears when you read). Include some of the character's thoughts and details about the place. Make your story show some conflict and, if you can, some...
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En Route

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How can I know what I think till I see what I say?
                                                       
       -- E. M. Forster

This is a space for daily (or more) scribblings, notes, ideas, questions, wonderings, moments, details. This space is your roadmap for your own journey, for your own exploration of story. Incomplete sentences welcome. So are lists. So are sentences and paragraphs. Do it in...

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Develop your Narrative

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Developing your narrative is crucial to creating a stand-out college essay. You've probably written "thesis-driven" essays before. Maybe you've written some personal essays as well. Or a short story. Or an article of some kind. They all have something in common. They all have a narrative arc.

Your personal essay needs to have some sort of arc to it. What is the story-line you want to follow?
 
In a research paper, or...
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Live Discussion

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Draft

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Go back through your two lists -- moments and places -- and look over the you character backstory. Take a look at the feedback you got. Now write a draft. Write fast; make it to the end; walk away from the desk.

 
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Bonus: Final Activity

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One of the difficult things about participating in an interview, is there's a good chance you've never done it before. And even if you have, the opportunities to practice are few and far between. So for this XP, you'll be given that opportunity.

First, look back at the previous XPs. Pick out a few questions or prompts that you found tricky, or that you think your potential employer might ask. The first XP, with it's seemingly benign "tell us a little about yourself" request, is a...
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Your Water Issue

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What issues does your community face with water?

To begin any story -- whether it's a word story or multimedia story -- is to gather information, to do some research. What's going on with water in your community? Do you have pollution issues in your rivers or lakes or ocean? Is your drinking water safe? Do you have supply problems? Is there a class issue, that is, some people can get drinking water more easily than others? Do you have a drought?

Activity: ...
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Gender + Dialogue

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Discovering Gender:

Go out in public with a pen and pencil. Observe. Write things down. Take note of what people say and how they say it. Go back later and read what you transposed so that you have a reference point when writing your own dialogue. Listen to how different genders interact with each other, and how someone of one gender interacts with another person of that gender. Think about how gender plays into the much larger scheme of who the person or character...
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First Lines

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One of the best writers I worked with as a journalist was Bill O'Connor, then a columnist at the Akron Beacon Journal. Bill wrote about everyday people with unique, funny perspectives and stories. Bills skills were these:
  • He connected with his subjects and so drew from them great detail and open expression.
  • He chose his details well and sparingly
  • He used dialogue well
And he had great first sentences."Writing is easy...
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High Key Lighting

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Proportion and Scale

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Experiences

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Activity: Start working on a list of at least five things that your audience experiences or has experienced. If you’re stumped, check out the example below. And a note: it's okay if your description of your audience member turns into a description of you, or your best friend, or your dog. It's also okay if it turns into a description of an alien from Pluto, though distributing your work to that audience could be challenging! As with the last XP, check out what other...
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Audience

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So now will come the final evaluation -- and selection of the two plays that will get staged readings at The Vermont Young Playwrights Festival. (For those of you out of state or far away from Burlington, VT., YWP will be live streaming and recording the event. We will share that info with you.) The Middlebury College advanced playwriting students and their professor, Dana Yeaton, will be reading and critiquing the finished plays and will make the final selections. All of you will get detailed...
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Bonus: Record in your Post

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For a quick audio recording--just getting your thoughts out, or reading a piece of your writing--you can record with your computer's microphone, right onto your blog....
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Qualifications/Requirements

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Take a look back at the list of requirements and qualifications you made for the previous XP. Copy the list here, and respond to each of the requirements of the internship/job offer with a specific accomplishment of your own. Think of things you’ve done in your life that helped you to develop the skills needed; or even better, things you’ve done that required you to call on and apply those skills. You may want to think about past jobs or internships, projects or classes for school, hobbies that...
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Keaton

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Keaton Jones of Knoxville, Tenn., asked his mom to record a video of him talking about being bullied -- again -- at school. According to the New York Times ("A Nation Answers a Sobbing Boy’s Plea: ‘Why Do They Bully?’" Dec. 11, 2017) his mom posted it on Facebook on Friday with a plea to parents to talk to their children about bullying -- and the response was overwhelmingly empathetic. Read the story and see...
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Antiprosopopoeia

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Anti-prosopopoeia (say that five times fast) is the opposite of prosopopoeia (or personification). When you describe a person or character as though they were an inanimate object, or liken them to one using metaphor or simile, you are employing anti-prosopopoeia. Which is what you'll be doing in this XP!

Activity: For this exercise, think of a person. It can be about yourself/your speaker, your parents, your friend, a stranger. Anyone you like. Then, pick an object...
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Land

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Do a little research on your hometown or your county. What is its history? Write from the perspective of the land -- what memories does it have? How does it express them?  [Photo Credit: Kevin Huang]
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Examples!

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So, do real authors actually do this stuff? Do you really need to do all this planning if you’re a good writer?

Yes.

Just like us, depending on the writer, and the type of story, famous authors use all sorts of pre-writing methods. Many stories will go through a number of these pre-writing methods before developing into a full draft.

Some authors start relatively sparsely:

...
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Furious

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What's happening in America -- or the world -- right now that makes you furious? What about the situation doesn't sit right with you? Explain using words, images and/or sounds. Supplement: Is there anything you can do, big or small, to right the wrong? What will the world look like if you're successful? #pastchallenge #mlk


This challenge was part of a...
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Labels & Flags

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Third Person Omniscient

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Third person omnescient is used when a "know-it-all" narrator is telling the story--no, not an annoying teacher's pet, but a narrator who actually does know everything. The narrator can be anything or anyone, as long as they know everything about every character. An omniscient narrator can understands the motives and thoughts of all of the characters in the story. This narrative style is closest to you, the author, simply telling the story. As an author, you are the all-knowing person...
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Multiple POVs

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Switching point of view is a tricky thing! Maybe you want to show the perspectives of multiple characters in the first person, or perhaps you want to have a first person narrator for most of your story, with a third person omniscient narrator occasionally inserting their comments. (Think: The Book Thief, A Series of Unfortunate Events.) This can get complicated for the author and the reader, very quickly, so you have to keep track of who your narrator is, and make it clear when and why the...
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Feedback and Revision

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First, take a look around at some of the other pantoums here, or examples that you've found elsewhere. Give some feedback to your peers here. Let them know how the poem worked for you. Did the repetition add to the feeling? Did you learn something or feel a change in yourself as a result of the poem?

After you've given and received feedback on your pantoum, re-write or revise your poem with that feedback in mind. This might be a quick tweak here and there, or a complete re-write....
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6-words

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6-Words: Write as many stories as you can – each one with just six words.

Use the link below OR post them on our Six-Word Stories widget here: http://youngwritersproject.org/node/459

#pastchallenge
#vtwritesday
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Direct Characterization

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Direct characterization is when an author describes a character to you, directly. Rather than revealing things about a character through how they behave or how others interact with them, the author tells you some of the information out front, so you can begin to form an image of the character in your mind.

Examples of direct characterization:

"Mr. Brunner was this middle-aged guy in a motorized wheelchair. He had thinning hair and a scruffy beard and a frayed...
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STORY

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Draft it

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After taking into account the feedback you received on the last XP, you should be ready to launch into a full draft. If there were any areas that confused your reader, be sure to make note of what changes you need to make/information you need to add on your outline.
 
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The Finish

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You've gotten some feedback on your story. You've thought about it more. You've read it through, maybe even read it outloud. Now you want to tweak and polish your story, fill in the gaps, make it more complete.

Stories need to develop a reader's interest. Does your story have any or all of these:
  • A character -- protaganist -- who wants something, needs something
  • An obstacle to that want -- something preventing the character from getting what he wants
  • An...
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Summarize

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Now that you're an expert on this topic -- and while it's still bubbling in your head -- summarize the high points.

Activity: Provide a brief summary about the main ideas in your readings (if links are available, include them.)
If possible, discuss these ideas with friends, family, classmates (whoever will listen!) Sharing your thoughts with others helps you form an articulate argument or thesis.

Now move on to the third part of this Playlist...
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Final Project

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So here's where these Playlists are a little different. In school, you'd be asked to write a fact-filled essay about what you learned. We want you to tell a story. Tell a story about your own water use and how it relates to some of the water issues in your community. Tell a story of someone else. Or find a way to tell about how a water issue in your community affects someone else. Make it human. And write about what interests you.

Feel free to use any type of...
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Race + Dialogue

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Voices of the World:

When writing from the voice of other races, it is really easy to fall into stereotypes, because so many racial stereotypes basically provide ready-made character for writers who don't know anything about that race.

Thus, it is important to remember that while your character may have commonplace attributes, every individual is unique and complex and has many facets. Race goes far, far beyond the stereotypes, and individuals go far, far...
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Final Project

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Depth of Field

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Emotions

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Activity: Take your list from the previous XP and try to identify some feelings that could be at the core of each experience listed. If you have trouble thinking of a word, here’s the page with lists of emotions.  Again, my example can be found below. Try to create your own unique list, and don't worry about the grammar of your words too much. As long as you can understand them, it’s...
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Colloquialisms

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Identifying Colloquialisms:

Here's a few good examples of colloquial dialogue in literature:

Colloquialism - Examples and Definition of Colloquialism
In literature, colloquialism is the use of informal words, phrases or even slang in a piece of writing. Colloquial expressions tend to sneak in as writers, being part of a society, are influenced by the way people speak in that society. Naturally, they are bound to add colloquial expressions in their...

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Get Organized

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Using the accomplishments you listed, create a list of content that will appear in your resume. Your narratives are a good starting point—cut them down to the main points. Give each a short title that explains what the project or role was. Next, include: what you did, where you did it, and why it’s important to this resume (what skill did you learn from the experience?). The trick here is to tailor your resume to the job application, without being obvious about it. Just make sure you hit on as...
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Theme

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Both memoir and autobiographies focus in on the story of a life, but a big difference between the two is that in memoir, there is a theme at the center of the storyline.

Activity: In order to find your theme, make a list of stories in your life. Have you dealt with grief? Traveled? Lived in a rural area? Come of age? These are all common themes for memoir. You can, of course, go beyond common themes. Are you writing about escape in the context of running away with...
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The Message

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A hidden message poem involves "hiding" your message in plain sight throughout your poem. That might mean, the first (or last) word of each line, when read in a row, reveal a secret message. Or perhaps, every word that's capitalized creates a message when strung together. There are increasingly complicated ways to hide your message throughout your poem, and depending on how creative you want to get, and how much you want to challenge your reader, you could spend days coming up with a "code" for...
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Transition

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What Does it Mean to Transition?

Many non-cis characters will go through what is called a transition. According to Outright Vermont, a transition is when a person changes their gender expression to match their gender identity. This comes about in a variety of ways.

When writing a character whose gender identity does not match their gender assigned at birth, you must remember...
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Past

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Activity: Write a piece using the past tense! Your narrator can be anyone, including yourself. The point of view can also be whatever you would like, keeping in mind the limitations of that perspective. The idea is to end up with a story that feels like the retelling of something that already happened. Think about the relationship between the perspective and tense as you write. What different combinations of limitations or freedoms could be effective? How does it feel to...
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Indirect Characterization

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There are five different methods of indirect characterization which are revealed through a character's: STEAL. These can reveal important insights into the character.
  • Speech- What does the character say? How does the character speak?
  • Thoughts- What is revealed through the character’s private thoughts and feelings?
  • Effect on others- How do other characters feel or behave in reaction to the character?
  • ...
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A warm up

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So here's what you're going to do:
  1. Go to http://5card.cogdogblog.com/ and read up on the concept -- choosing random photos to align to spur a story.
  2. Ready? Go to the "Play a Round" tab or http://5card.cogdogblog.com/play.php?suit=5card
  3. Keep refreshing the page until you have five photos you like -- or that you think can lead you to create a story.
  4. RIGHT...
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Polish It

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Now that you've received some feedback -- and given yourself some feedback -- it's time to start incorporating that into a revised draft. Take a look at the feedback you've received and consider it
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Five

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Five. What are five things you wish you could tell your 5-year-old self?
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Week One

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First: These are the questions

This week, we are reading chapters 1 -7 (read through seven) of Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart. We will be reading this section from July 24th to July 30th. Remember to read FIRST, and THEN take a look at the activities for this section.

Remember, to post here, you have to hit RESPOND.

Note that you don’t have to do all of the prompts, or even any of the prompts! You could just...
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Haiku

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Haiku is a short form of poetry adapted from Japanese tradition. Each poem consists of three lines; the first line has five syllables, the second line has seven syllables, and the third line has five syllables. (Remember: a syllable generally corresponds to a single vowel sound within a word. That is to say, each time you hear a vowel sound in a word, that counts as a syllable.)

You can use a simple outline to keep you on track:

5
7
5

Traditionally,...
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Brushes and Color

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Age + Dialogue

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Age is Just a Number:

Age is a little different from race or gender. We have all experienced being a younger age than we are currently, and the vast majority of us will experience being many ages older than we are currently. This is something that is not true for race or gender. So, while getting in the mindset of someone who is a different age from you can be difficult, it can also feel a little more accessible because it is something we have lived through or will...
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Perfect

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Smartphone

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Do you ever feel like throwing your smartphone as far away as you can? If so, why? And what happens after you do?

#vtwrites17
 
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Photos - Characters

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These are some of the best photographs ever taken. They have their own stories. But what stories come to your mind? 

Right click the photo to download to your computer and upload with what you write. This is a quick story exercise. Give yourself a couple of minutes to think and then dive in and write only for seven minutes.

When you are done, comment on some of the other posts below.
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Locker Room Talk

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Over the past week we've heard quite a bit from the republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, about something called "locker room talk." We're not 100% sure that Donald Trump has been in an actual locker room, but we'd be willing to be some of you have.

We want to know, what is your experience with so-called "locker room talk?" What sorts of things are talked about? What's the funniest thing that's happened?
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Showcase Your Spaces

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Turning the Tables

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Activity: Pick one emotion from the list you made in the last exercise, and write it at the top of a new X-Post. The more you avoid general emotions and pick specific ones, the more focused your piece will be. Start a new list of your own experiences that have brought up that emotion in you. This is the core of relating to your audience--finding ways that your experiences are similar theirs, at an emotional, visceral level.

Again, an example can be found...
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Finding a Balance

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Balanced Words: Each character is different, and each character will require a different balance of colloquial and formal language. Maybe there is one slang term a character always uses. Maybe even the slang helps identify an accent or the rhythm of how someone speaks. Perhaps a character speaks formally at a particular event or in the presence of a particular other character. As the writer, you are the only one who knows when and why these characters might speak colloquially...
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Get it on Paper

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Now's the time to take your list of content and begin to format it as a resume.
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Story

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Activity:  For this exercise, make a list of notable moments in your life. Notable moment doesn't mean dramatic life-changing experience, it just means a memory that stands out to you for one reason or another. It's okay if you don't know why it stands out, just write it down on the list. Do you ever find yourself telling a story from your past over and over again? What is that story or stories? Once you feel like you have a good amount of moments, look back over...
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Affirmation

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ALL comments should begin with an affirmation about the work you just read. An affirmation should include these two elements: a feature of the story that you liked, and a specific example of where you saw the feature working in the story. Examples of features in a story you can point out include: imagery, langauge, word choice, dialogue, setting, pacing, flow, characters, details, themes, metaphors, form, length, concepts, etc. 

TRY THIS:

First:...
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Who Are We?

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This is a series of exercises designed to have each of us reflect on and catalog where we're starting from.
(LOGISTICS: Click on the RESPOND button ONLY for the first activity. For subsequent activities, edit your first post and add to it. A suggestion is that once you've responded to the first activity, keep your working post on another tab.)
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Monkey

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Go off the wall with the topic of your poem. You could write about how monkeys are actually a metaphor for the meaning of life, or about the complex thoughts of a rock. Be different.  [Photo Credit: Siena Teare]
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The Package

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Now that you have an idea for your secret message poem, think about how you're going to package the message.

This "packaging" process has two main components.

First: The Logistics

How do you want to hide the words (or perhaps more accurately, reveal the words)? Do you want it to be difficult for the reader to find, and risk some readers missing it? Do you want it to be easily noticeable, and make it the focus of your poem? Think about the "code" you'll use to...
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Portrait

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Take a photo of someone in their environment. Friend. Teacher. Family member. Stranger. Ask them "What's the kindest or most respectful thing someone ever did for you?" Submit a photo with a quote from them as a caption. #pastchallenge #mlk


This challenge was part of a series that took its inspiration from the life, works and values of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,...
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Pesky Pronouns

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What are Pronouns?

At this point, pronouns have been mentioned once or twice before, and you might be sitting there asking yourself "what the heck even are these??"

Pronouns are defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as "a word (such as I, he, she, you, it, we, or they ) that is used instead of a noun or noun phrase".


Why are We talking About Grammar?...
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Found Money

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FOUND MONEY: Create a character in desperate straits. She/he finds a bag of money -- over $1,000 in crumpled bills -- beside the road. What happens? Develop the character and story arc. Include images or visual art if you want. #pastchallenge
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Pope

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POPE: Pope Francis declined an...
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Eclipse

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ECLIPSE: Calling for images and stories...
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General

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With this challenge we begin the regular weekly challenge schedule Share your best writing of any category (including images, sound, music, digital stories) from the summer. Poems, stories, essays, a journal entry, a scribble. Whatever you think is pretty good, submit it. And we'll take a look!

#pastchallenge
 
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Schools -- Worry

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Note: One of a series of challenges about school and education. This one arose from a recent focus group with kids held at YWP.
What are some of your worries about school? Relationships? Judgment? That the right things aren't being taught?

#pastchallenge
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Photo-Bookshop

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Photo-...
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Climate Change

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We can't sit around any longer. The climate IS changing. Take a look at this remarkable movie for glacial evidence: Chasing Ice. (Netflix has it on stream.) What is your reaction? What must be done, first?

Medium.com's magazine Matter had a series on how climate change will affect the future. Some of our favorites: City of Ash by Paolo Bacigalupi,...

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Strong emotions

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Think of an intense emotion, then describe a time in which you felt that emotion-- the sights, the sounds, the feeling in your throat. Communicate that emotion without naming it, through the words you use to describe the scene.

#pastchallenge

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Sound Engine

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SOUND ENGINE: Listen to this sound and write the story you hear, or use the clip and add more sound to create a sound story.

#pastchallenge
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Impressions

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IMPRESSIONS: Has your first impression ever been totally wrong about someone or something? Tell a story about a first impression that was wrong OR how someone had the wrong impression of you. How did it turn out?

#pastchallenge
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Photo-Nuclear

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PHOTO-NUCLEAR. Write...
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Change It

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Admit it. There have been times in your life where something or some condition or something that was done to you made you angry. It's not right. It's not fair. Something should be done about it.  Consider the phrase below; create a story if you can. Or a poem that you might deliver in a poetry slam. (And if the latter, PLEASE, record it for the world to hear.)

  • The thing that really ticks me off is ...
#pastchallenge
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802

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What’s it like to be a teenager in Vermont? In words, images and/or sound, describe your life in this rural state. Share your best and worst stories. Do you want to stay or flee?

(This is part of an ongoing project with Medium.com. No deadline. And those of you outside of 802 -- write about your life as a teen as well, and tell the community where you are from.)

#pastchallenge
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Loyalty

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Tell a story where loyalty plays a key role, either in a heroic way or by  getting your character in trouble (going along with a friend’s bad idea or not heeding warnings).

#pastchallenge
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Sound-Cheering

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SOUND-CHEERING. Listen to this sound (click title link if sound not visible) and write the story you hear OR combine it with others and create a “soundscape.”

#pastchallenge
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His Name

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Yesterday, a gunman killed nine people in an Oregon community college. The local sheriff has vowed not to say the shooter's name. Sheriff John Hanlin said, "I will not give him the credit he probably sought prior to this horrific and cowardly act." County police commisioner Chris Boice said in a speech, "I challenge you all to never utter his name. This is about the families, this is about the victims, this is about our community, and this is about the tragic loss that we all suffered today....
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Missed Connection

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Have you ever been reading through the the missed connections page in the newspaper and found one that seems like the first line of a story-- or the last? Have you ever read this Craigslist missed connection? Write a story featuring a missed connection, literal or printed. If you're looking for a prompt, check out the online iSpies at sevendaysvt.com.

#pastchallenge
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One-sided

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ONE-SIDED. Your character can hear only one side of a phone conversation, but it sounds important; tell the story using one-sided dialogue. (If you are having trouble with this, EAVESDROP on a conversation and create the other side. Also, check out the Lab on creating dialogue). #pastchallenge
 
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35

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Who will you be when you are 35? Where will you be living? What will you be doing? (This is part of a project with Medium.com.) #pastchallenge
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Forest15

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FOREST15-- Deadline is Oct. 18! Write for prizes! Do you know that your town probably has a “town forest?” Have you ever been in it? Do you know the story of the land? Explore a town forest in Vermont -- and it doesn’t have to be your town’s forest, but it needs to be one that inspires you. Write about it and win BIG prizes! Details here!

#...
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Spooky

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Write a story that makes your readers scream and shudder! Can be real or imagined. (Here’s one to get you started)

#pastchallenge
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Emotion

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Emotion:...
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Winter Tales 15

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What is your experience of winter? Tell a story in short descriptive or narrative poetry or prose. No clichés, please. The best will be selected for presentation by the Vermont Stage Company at its annual Winter Tales production at FlynnSpace in Burlington in December.

#pastchallenge
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Activism

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What really makes you want to stand up and take action? What are some things that you see that you think aren't right and need changing? At school? In your community? In the U.S.? In the World? Pick one thing that bothers you, that, if you could, you'd like to change.

For inspiration, check this out:

(FYI, the link at the end of the movie should be this: http://cory-katuna-67ce.squarespace.com)

...

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Six

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Write a complete poem/story in six words. (A couple gems from years past: Funeral flowers always smell the same; and Poor Atlas -- the world is heavy.)

#pastchallenge
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Photo-Ghost

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PHOTO-GHOST....
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Art

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Call for visual artists! You take photos. We know you do. Take a look at what’s on your camera or phone. Or go outside right now and take pictures! Send us your very best. (Please submit large, high-res versions and give us some info about the photos. Identify the people and/or places for potential publication. And check out these photos by Kevin Huang of Burlington High School and photos from the students of Essex High School.)

...
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If Only

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Use the phrase "If only I had ..." in a story or a poem. You can refer to a thing or an action. You can start your blog post with it, end it or use it anywhere you'd like.

#pastchallenge

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Things

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You have to move out of your house suddenly and you are allowed only one small box for your things. What would you put in the box and what do these things say about you?

#pastchallenge
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Fame

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Write about a character who is suddenly famous. The paparazzi are outside the window and the character’s face keeps flashing on the TV screen, but she/he has no idea why! What happens? And why the sudden fame?

#pastchallenge
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Green Friday

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Happy

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So what is it that makes you happy? Tell a story about sometime recently when you really felt happy. Give us some details. Tell us why.

And if you are a little short of emotion, take a watch of Pharrell Wiliams' ubiquitous, but effective, song/video. Cheers.

 

#pastchallenge
 
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Sports

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What sport would you create if given the chance? You could explain the rules, the history, describe an amazing match, tell why it was invented ... anything! Or, tell the story of an epic sports moment you were part of.

#pastchallenge
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Embarrassed

[totalcount]
What’s the most embarrassing (true) story that you’re willing to share? (If it involves someone else, change the names to protect the innocent!)

#pastchallenge
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Monologue

[totalcount]
Write a monologue of a person who is troubled or conflicted about something. Reach a resolution. Here’s an example!

#pastchallenge
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Sound-Footsteps

[totalcount]
Listen to this sound clip and write the story you hear OR use the clip and add others to create a soundscape.

#pastchallenge
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Foil

[totalcount]
Create a character and their foil. Throw them both into a story; how do their differences conflict/contrast or complement each other? Is there a situation where their differences could benefit each other?

#pastchallenge
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Photo-Women

[totalcount]

/node/610

Superpower

[totalcount]
Superpower. You have the opportunity to have one superpower. But only one. It could be flight, strength, x-ray vision, invisibility, whatever? Which one would you choose? Why? Or tell a story about using that superpower. Write about it in any genre.

#pastchallenge
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Eyes

[totalcount]
“It was the eyes, chocolate brown and always searching, that warned me to …” Finish the scene.

#pastchallenge
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Persist

[totalcount]
Write about a character who persists -- and succeeds -- despite the doubts and jeers of others. (Think the Wright brothers.) Focus the story on how the character moves forward with an idea.

#pastchallenge
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Fanfiction

[totalcount]
Place yourself in one of your favorite fictional tales. What kind of trials are you and your beloved characters facing today?

#pastchallenge
/node/195

Misheard

[totalcount]
You overhear a startling story and retell it to others, only to discover you’ve misheard some key points. What happens next?

#pastchallenge
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See

[totalcount]
Write a story that begins with this phrase, “Can’t you see it?”

#pastchallenge
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Hallway

[totalcount]
Your character observes a confrontation...
/node/199

Resolution

[totalcount]
What is one New Year’s resolution you want to tackle this year? Try to avoid the usual suspects (more exercise, better grades...)

#pastchallenge
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Moment Quote

[totalcount]
MOMENT QUOTE: Use this phrase in a story: “Never forget this moment, my child,” the old man said …

#pastchallenge
/node/201

Photo-Veggies

[totalcount]
/node/630

Stress

[totalcount]

STRESS. What stresses you out? How do you deal with...
/node/202

Connection

[totalcount]
CONNECTION:You open a love letter that isn’t addressed to you, and the writer seems so familiar it’s as if the letter was written just for you. What goes through your head? Do you write back? What do you say?

#pastchallenge
/node/203

Ad

[totalcount]

Create a commercial advertisement that...
/node/204

Sound-Ice

[totalcount]
Listen to this sound and write the story you hear OR use this clip and add others to create a soundscape.

#pastchallenge
/node/205 /node/206

Love

[totalcount]
They said I shouldn’t love you, but I couldn’t help myself… Why? And what happens next?

#pastchallenge
/node/207

Voicemail

[totalcount]
Write a poem in the form of a...
/node/208

Superhero

[totalcount]
Create your own superhero. Keep it classic with a comic strip. Make a slideshow or a dramatic soundscape. Draw a portrait. Or write a descriptive story.

#pastchallenge
/node/209

School

[totalcount]
What is the best thing and the worst thing about your school? Suggest a practical solution to fix the negative. Be proactive. Take charge!

#pastchallenge
/node/210

Sound-Typewriter

[totalcount]
Listen to this sound clip and use it to inspire a story OR use the clip and add others to create a soundscape.

#pastchallenge
/node/212

Perspective

[totalcount]
Tell a story from the perspective or viewpoint of something unconventional: a chocolate bar, a houseboat, a spider, etc. (Here's an example.)

#livechallenge
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Seuss

[totalcount]
Write in rhyme! Create a cast of crazy characters! YWP honors the late Dr. Seuss, who would have turned 112 on March 2, 2016!

/node/214 /node/213

Before

[totalcount]
Think of one of your favorite places -- an old building or a barn or a house or a section of a park. Now imagine this place 100 years ago or even 200 years ago. What did it look like then? Who was around? Tell a story.

#pastchallenge
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Coordinates

[totalcount]

Type these...
/node/732

Diner Man

[totalcount]

Diner Man: The customers of...
/node/216

Photo-SeaStairs

[totalcount]
/node/211

Clouds

[totalcount]
Imagine you have the ability to walk on clouds -- and not fall through. What do you do with this newfound power?

#livechallenge
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Back Door

[totalcount]


Write a story, a poem, an essay...
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Water

[totalcount]
World Water Day was March 22
 
Join people around the globe who are thinking about the importance of water! In honor of World Water Day, YWP is offering four challenges. Respond—in writing, art, photography or videography to one of the four. (And those of you near Lake Champlain can send your entry to a contest! (Details below.))

CELEBRATE WATER: Does water inspire you? Why? Its beauty? Power? The many ways it provides homes for living...
/node/217

Wishes

[totalcount]
You come upon a wishing well. What kind of magic happens at the bottom of a wishing well? Who handles all these wishes and how?

#livechallenge
/node/218

Sound-Stirring

[totalcount]
Listen to this sound and write the story you hear or create a soundscape using this and other sound clips.

#livechallenge
/node/4548

Moment

[totalcount]
Write about a specific moment of your day -- something small or big, it doesn't matter. Write it quickly, get as much detail in as possible. Don't worry about polish; this is a draft. This moment could be something you saw or heard or experienced in some other way. An example:
Two guys outside the quick mart. One is 6'2" with stained, brown Carhartt pants, gray sweatshirt, heavy boots. He has a large, full reddish beard. He's smiling. The other is shorter,...
/node/220

Photo-Station

[totalcount]
PHOTO-STATION: What is the mood or atmosphere of this photo, “Fog at the Train Station,” by Tambako the Jaguar? (Creative Commons, must attribute and link.)
/node/223

Fool

[totalcount]
It’s April Fool’s Day and your character plays a trick that has everyone at school laughing -- including the teachers. What is it and why is it so funny?

#livechallenge
/node/221

Tweet

[totalcount]
Tell a story in tweets (140-character segments).

#livechallenge
/node/222

Sound-Shower

[totalcount]
Listen to this sound clip and write the story you hear or use the clip and others to create a soundscape.

#livechallenge
/node/219

Humbling

[totalcount]
Humbling: “I thought I knew the answer, but …” finish the sentence in a story of a real or imagined experience.

#livechallenge
/node/224

Expectations

[totalcount]
You meet your biggest idol, --insert celebrity/public figure here. Describe the meeting. Is the person everything you had hoped for or …?

#livechallenge
/node/258

Songwriting

[totalcount]
A special YWP challenge! We are looking for sound people, people who turn words into songs or other people's words into songs.

Try your hand at a different kind of poetry. Remember that a song generally has three parts: verse, chorus, and bridge. Each of these components has a distinct structure and scheme. One of the more common formats for a short song is verse--chorus--verse--chorus--bridge--chorus (sometimes with another verse--chorus at the end); the bridge essentially...
/node/225

Experiment

[totalcount]
You’ve got a monkey in a cage, a basketball, a paperback of the latest YA craze, and a bottle of pomegranate juice … what kind of experiment are you doing? What do you hope to learn from it? (Feel free to imagine your own wacky scenario).

#livechallenge
/node/226

Gate

[totalcount]
Use this phrase in a story: “She slipped out the gate and started to run …”

#livechallenge
/node/227

Op-ed

[totalcount]
Write an opinion piece based on a current news story. Take a side and make a persuasive argument – in just three paragraphs. (Here's an example of a persuasive essay.)

#pastchallenge
/node/229

Awoke

[totalcount]
“I awoke to the sound…” Unleash a poem with this line.

#pastchallenge
/node/230

Blue

[totalcount]
“It was the most brilliant shade of blue I'd ever seen…” Work that phrase (or concept) into a poem or story.

#livechallenge
/node/231

Framed

[totalcount]
You have a photograph of a meaningful moment. Describe it. But wait, there’s more … now tell a story about what’s just outside the frame.

#livechallenge
/node/232

Passage

[totalcount]
You find a secret passage in the basement of your grandfather’s house. Where does it lead? How does it change your perspective about your family/grandfather?

#livechallenge
/node/233

Surveillance

[totalcount]
What do you think about government or military surveillance? When does it go too far? (Check this out for more info.)

#livechallenge
/node/234

Back

[totalcount]
“Oh gosh, they're back..." Write a story based on or using that phrase.

#livechallenge
/node/235

Certain

[totalcount]
Make a list of 10 things you know for sure. You can start your list with the words, “This I know…” It can be funny or serious.

#livechallenge
/node/7548 /node/7748

Photo Story

[totalcount]
Tell a story in sequence using three or more photos. Add words and sound if you're feeling ambitious! Not sure how to add photos to your blog post? Click 'Write" and then the image icon in your toolbar! #livechallenge
 
/node/7905

Orlando

[totalcount]
The world is still mourning the loss of 49 innocent individuals on June 12 in Orlando, Fla., at The Pulse night club. Sorry, vigils, anguish. Then stories of the unbelievable horror of what took place, of the experiences of the survivors. And then politics set in as well and this, too, became polarized. 

What did you do as a result of this tragedy? What did you do at the time? What are you doing now? What do you think needs to be done? Do you have a message for those affected by this...
/node/7840

Hello/Goodbye

[totalcount]


The beginning of summer is a time of change, especially as you transition away from school. What are some things you’re saying goodbye to, and what are you saying hello to?

#chchchanges
#summerofstories16
...
/node/7845

Suddenly

[totalcount]
Sometimes, everything changes in the blink of an eye. Use the phrase “things can change so fast...” to tell your story about a rapid change.

Extension: Alternatively, sometimes it seems like nothing will ever change. Switch gears and and start a story or poem with the phrase “time slowed to a snail’s pace…”

#chchchanges #summerofstories16 ​
...
/node/7849

Bowie

[totalcount]


In his song “Changes,” David Bowie says to “turn and face the strange.” Write about a time in your life when you have turned and faced the strange and its outcome.

Extension: Write your own song about changes in the style of “Changes,” or start with Bowie’s lyrics and personalize them to fit your life.

...
/node/7848

Time Lapse

[totalcount]
Use a series of five photos to show a change you have noticed in the world around you.

Extension: Tell the story of the change depicted in your series of photos (or the photos of another writer) using words and/or sound.

#chchchanges #summerofstories16 ​
#livechallenge
 
/node/7864

Plot Twist

[totalcount]
Put your own spin on a classic story -- was that happy ending actually a disaster? Maybe that horror movie was actually a comedy! Let your imagination run wild.

#withatwist #summerofstories16
#livechallenge
 
/node/7863

Blackout

[totalcount]
Newspaper BlackOut poems are created by redacting newspapers with permanent marker and leaving behind choice words which can be read as a poem. Create a Newspaper BlackOut poem and upload a photo of it.

/node/7862

Tangled Words

[totalcount]
Write a story or poem incorporating twisted cliches, mixed idioms, spoonerisms, or misunderstood/misheard phrases. Think about how such mix-ups could alter the meaning or create confusion.

Idiom definition: A common expression that has a separate meaning from the literal definitions of the words that make it up. (Example: It's raining cats and dogs.)

Spoonerism definition: A humorous mistake where the first letters (or sounds) of two or more words are switched. (...
/node/7861

Atmosphere

[totalcount]
Look at the image and choose one of the three songs provided. Write about the mood of the image based on the song.

/node/7860

Unbelievable

[totalcount]
Write about something you have experienced that is stranger than fiction, something so bizarre you couldn’t have made it up. Describe your reaction to it.

Extension: Make up a fictional experience that could be considered stranger than fiction. In your fictional world, how did this event come about?

#withatwist #summerofstories16 ​
...
/node/7869

Op-Ed

[totalcount]
Write an opinion piece about something that is happening in the news. Do your research, take a stand, and be persuasive in your argument.

#staywoke #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
/node/7868

Plastic Bag

[totalcount]


Write a response to this video in poetry or prose. What does it make you think about? How does it make you feel?

Extension: Write from the perspective of an inanimate object like a plastic bag or any piece of garbage. Follow its journey once it has been discarded, or consider where it would like to travel and why.

...
/node/7867

Look Around

[totalcount]
Sit and observe the world around you, paying close attention to your environment -- what you see, hear, smell, and feel. Weave these details into a story or poem.

Extension 1: Continue to observe the world, but now pay particular attention to how the environment has changed over time (either positively or negatively). Try to incorporate your feelings about these changes into your writing.

Extension 2: Media and phones are now a part of the everyday world. Keep a log of how...
/node/7866

Ted Talk

[totalcount]
Watch this Ted Talk:



What could you talk about for ten minutes nonstop? Write a convincing proposal for a Ted Talk on your subject, explaining what it is and why you are so interested in it.

Extension: Write the transcript of what you would say for those ten minutes -- in other words, write the Ted Talk itself.

...
/node/7865

Eye-Opening

[totalcount]
Keeping in the mindset of awareness and activism, create a slideshow of photos that brings awareness in a way that words might not be able to.

#staywoke #summerofstories16 ​
#livechallenge
 
/node/534

Falling

[totalcount]


Write...
/node/7892

Spirit

[totalcount]
Post a picture that embodies the 4th of July spirit. Tag it with #summerofstories16 for a chance to be featured on the official YWP website or Instagram feed!

#oftheeising #summerofstories16 
 
/node/7891

Reconstruction

[totalcount]
We can all make a difference in the world. Write about something you want to see changed globally and think about what you can do locally to change it.

Extension: Try to put one of your ideas into action, and write about the outcome!

#oftheeising #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
 
/node/7890

Unpopular

[totalcount]
Write about an opinion you have that is considered to be “unpopular.” Why don’t you agree with the majority? Persuade readers to agree with you.

Extension: Write the opposite side of your argument. In other words, write the corresponding “popular opinion.”

#oftheeising #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
 
/node/7889

Cacophony

[totalcount]
Gather or make your own sound files to create an "audio scene." Dialogue is optional. 

#oftheeising #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
 
/node/7888

Sovereign

[totalcount]
Start a piece with the phrase “If I ruled the world…” Think about what your first act as world ruler would be, and what you would want to change or keep the same.

Extension: Create a flag that represents your new country or world, making sure that every color and object on the flag symbolizes something. Draw it and upload a picture, or just describe it.

#oftheeising #...
/node/8424

Police Shootings

[totalcount]
In the past several years the U.S. has seen a lot of bloodshed. From Alton Sterling to Philando Castile to the devastating shootings in Dallas, TX...
/node/7896

Before Me

[totalcount]
Post an interview with an elder about your shared family history in video, audio, or textual form. What is something you learned about your family that surprised you?

#introspectacular #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
/node/7895

Haven

[totalcount]
Post a photo of your most creative spaces -- where you go to write, where you feel the safest, or where you are the most inspired. Tag it with #summerofstories16 for a chance to be featured on the official YWP website or Instagram feed!

#introspectacular #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
/node/7894

Intervention

[totalcount]
If your family had an intervention for you what would it be for? Create the dialogue between you and your family members during the intervention. Feel free to make it funny or serious.

#introspectacular #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
 
/node/7893

Me

[totalcount]
Write a short story or poem, simply talking about yourself. Who are you when you are by yourself, and how does that differ from who you are in public?

Extension 1: Talk about yourself in a six-word story -- or multiple six-word stories.

Extension 2: Create a self-portrat. But there's a twist: you can't be in the photo.

#introspectacular #summerofstories16...
/node/7902

Dance

[totalcount]
Watch this video:

 

What story does this dance tell?

#beyondthescreen #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
 
/node/7901

Prankster

[totalcount]
Construct the ultimate prank. Who's the target and why? No names or identifying information! No crimes or physical/emotional harm allowed!

Extension: What happens when you stage it and what is the aftermath? Remember, no violence, no names!

#beyondthescreen #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
/node/7900

Physical

[totalcount]
Write about how physical activity has played a role in your life, and the impact it has had on you. (Physical activity can be anything from walking to school to playing organized sports.)

Extension: Create a slideshow or sound file with images related to that physical activity.

#beyondthescreen #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
/node/7899

Internet-Free

[totalcount]
Write about a world without Internet. How would your daily activities change? Try to imagine the world fully -- what changes would there be on a national or global scale? Are you in support of an Internet-free world?

Extension: Respond to this challenge with a pen and paper and upload a photo of your writing.

#beyondthescreen #summerofstories16...
/node/7898

Object

[totalcount]
Describe the most important object in your room that is not an electronic device. Why is it important?

#beyondthescreen #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
/node/7933

Advice Day 1

[totalcount]
Check this out for inspiration:

http://askdrm.org/col_kids.html

Now, respond to this challenge with a fictitious complaint or question (you can even post under a creative pseudonym), as if you were submitting it to an advice column in a newspaper.

#twosaparty #summerofstories16...
/node/7932

Advice Day 2

[totalcount]
Find someone else's fictitious complaint or question from Advice Day 1 and write a response to it as if you were writing an advice column. Post your response as a new post and add a link to it in the comment section of the original complaint/question.

#twosaparty #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
/node/7931

Lie Detector

[totalcount]
You know the game, Two Truths and a Lie? Post two strange but true facts and a fake one. The facts do not have to be about you -- they can just be interesting facts you know!

Comments, please: Read other writers' posts and comment on which ones you think are lies.

Extension: Find an interesting fact someone else has posted (can be true or a lie) and use it as a prompt.

#twosaparty...
/node/7930

Seeking... Day 1

[totalcount]
Post a want ad for a collaborative artist. What kind of collaboration are you looking for? Be specific.

#twosaparty #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
/node/7929

Seeking... Day 2

[totalcount]
Respond to someone's want ad from Day 1, offering your skills and partnership.

Extension: Collaborate on a project, then post the results!

#twosaparty #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
/node/7938

Rant/Rehash

[totalcount]
Angst rant about something that gets on your nerves, something you have a lot to say about, but maybe tend not to talk about for fear of getting too fired up.

Extension: Take that rant and turn it into a funny satirical piece about the same topic.

#itsalovehatething #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
 
/node/7937

Modern Love

[totalcount]
Tell the story of a relationship that blooms or withers through social media.

Extension: Add multimedia to your story!

#itsalovehatething #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
 
/node/7936

Painful Beauty

[totalcount]
How do you experience the notion that "pain is beauty"? Write about how you incorporate or don't incorporate this mantra into your life.

Extension: "In the name of beauty, I would be willing to..." What? Get a tattoo on my foot? Dye my hair purple? Finish the story.

#itsalovehatething #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
 
/node/7935

Eyes

[totalcount]
"I will never forget her eyes, never." Use this phrase to start or end a story.

#itsalovehatething #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
 
/node/7934

If Only

[totalcount]
Think about something you wish you had said or done. Write about the experience and how it has affected your life.

Extension: What might have happened if you had done or said this thing? Write the story.

#itsalovehatething #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
 
/node/592

Fair

[totalcount]

IIt's Fair time. Cotton candy. Rides. Horse...
/node/8410

Rite of Passage

[totalcount]
Imagine that at a certain age, each member of your community accepts a special challenge: to spend 24 hours alone in the woods, tending a fire. It's finally your turn. So off you go, with no phone, no food--nothing but a tarp, a bottle of water, and your notebook and pen.

Now, by the light of your own fire, you crack open the notebook, and explore whatever comes to mind...

Note: This might be a good time to practice steam-of-consciousness style--writing whatever pops into...
/node/8411

Tending Fires

[totalcount]
You (or the character you're creating) have pledged to spend 24 hours alone in the woods, tending a fire. Just a few hours in, the wind picks up and the rain begins. In the darkest hour, a visitor comes. Maybe it’s an animal, or an ancestor (or both!), or even the spirit of a living person. Whatever it is, the visitation creates a scene for you to write . . .

Hint: The more you need from this spirit (and/or the spirit from you) the more lively your scene is likely to be.

...
/node/8412

Family Traits

[totalcount]
You (or the character you're creating) are deep in the woods, and deep into the rainy night, with nothing but your fire for company. You find yourself thinking about home... about your parents and family. The traits you've inherited, but also the ways you're different. Make a list of those similarities and differences--a "list poem" if you like. When you're done, go onto the Final Touch, below.

Final Touch: Imagine yourself (or your character) next to the fire, reading the list out...
/node/8413

Identity

[totalcount]
The film Tending Fires documents one community's attempt to do what humans have been doing for centuries--initiate their young into adulthood. These rituals have a lot in common. Typically, the young are literally or symbolically sent into isolation; there they shed one identity and take on another.

As you imagine this ritual coming to an end, think about your own identity. As you go through life, what parts of your identity will remain constant? What parts will change? What...
/node/8414

Homecoming

[totalcount]
The final step in the initiation ritual is the homecoming. This is when the community ceremonially welcomes the young person back as a fully-fledged member of the collective.

What would your (or your character's) homecoming ceremony be? What's the setting? Who's there to start, who enters, what are they doing? Is there a symbolic object or act? A pledge, a song? What is the big moment, the climax, and how does it come to an end?

Bonus question: Some rites of...
/node/7944

Tweet

[totalcount]
Write a poem in less than 140 characters, as if you were writing it for Twitter.

Extension: Post it on Twitter and tweet @ywpvt!

#amethodtothemadness #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
 
/node/7943

Grief

[totalcount]
They say there are four stages of grief: denial, anger, manipulation/bartering, and acceptance. Write a poem in four parts, one from the voice of each of these stages, either about a period of grief you have gone through or as a fictional character.

Extension: Write from the voice of grief itself.

#amethodtothemadness #summerofstories16...
/node/7941

MadLib

[totalcount]
Check this out:

http://www.classroomjr.com/summer-mad-libs/funny-mad-libs/

Create your own MadLib! Write a quick and simple story, list, or set of directions with some of the key words removed. Include a list of what type of word needs to be added in order for the sentence/story to make some sense.

Extension: Fill in the words for someone else’s MadLib and let the writer know how it went!...
/node/7942

Expansion

[totalcount]
Take just a couple of minutes to write the bare bones of a specific moment or experience. Now rewrite it with as much detail as you can. Think carefully about word choice.

#amethodtothemadness #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
/node/7940

Getting Wordy

[totalcount]
Try experimenting with a new form of poetry. Think about villanelles, pantoums, sestinas, etc.

Check this out for some guidelines:

https://www.youngwriters.co.uk/glossary-poetry-types

#amethodtothemadness #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
 
/node/7949

Dear Character

[totalcount]
Write a letter to a character of your choosing (your own creation or that of another author). Ask questions. Tell the character how you feel about him/her.

Extension: Respond, in character, to your own letter or another writer's letter.

#paralleluniverse #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
 
/node/7947

Future Relics

[totalcount]
You're living in a far-off future and you uncover a settlement that was abandoned in 2016. What do you discover? What has survived intact? What has decomposed?

Extension: Write a story about the future you imagine. Concentrate specifically on the setting.

#paralleluniverse #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
/node/7946

Fanfiction

[totalcount]
Write a new story for your favorite characters/world.

#paralleluniverse #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
 
/node/7945

Senseless

[totalcount]
Imagine a life without one of the five senses. Which one would you most miss? Write about it.

#paralleluniverse #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
 
/node/7948

Childhood Wisdom

[totalcount]
Be the expert! You know all about something really complex -- an issue, a concept, a tricky card game. Explain it in a way that even a five year old would understand.

#paralleluniverse #summerofstories16 #livechallenge
 
/node/9233

Never

[totalcount]
Never. Create a story of 250 words or less using the phrase “never saw it coming.”
/node/9234

Cellular

[totalcount]
Cellular. Keep a log of how many times you look at your phone in a day (roughly 6 am-10 pm). Is it more or less than 46 times, the U.S. average for all age groups? Write about how your cell phone affects your life? What would you do if you lost it?
/node/9229

Brainstorm

[totalcount]
Brainstorm. Create a single blog post on youngwritersproject.org where you list all your story ideas. Start with a few from your own life, and keep adding as more come to mind. Use this blog to spark your creativity through the year. Click here for inspiration.
 
/node/10008

Time

[totalcount]
You encounter one or both of your parents when they’re your age; what happens?
 
/node/9236

Photo2-Cabin.

[totalcount]
Photo2-Cabin. Write a story inspired by this photo (by Steve Mint, Creative Commons license).
 
/node/9237

Scary

[totalcount]
Scary. “On this black night …” Begin or end your story with this phrase. Make it terrifying!
 
/node/9238

Mirror

[totalcount]
Mirror. What is your most defining feature? What do you like most about yourself and how does it define you?
 
/node/10258

Interview

[totalcount]
You have the opportunity to ask any one question, to any person (living or deceased). What happens?
 
/node/9239

Sports

[totalcount]
Sports. Write a story about one of your best sports moments or create a slideshow of your own images that show how a sport or sports affect your life.
 
/node/9240

President

[totalcount]
President. What message would you like to send to the next president of the United States? 
 
/node/10615

Stranded

[totalcount]
You (or your character) are actually stranded on a desert island. How'd you get there? Who else is with you? What's your plan!?
 
/node/9242

Beauty

[totalcount]
Beauty: What is beauty to you? Do you have a unique idea of beauty, one that might not be shared by others? Describe someone or something that is beautiful to you.
 
/winter16

Winter Tales 16

[totalcount]
Tell a winter story in short descriptive or narrative poetry or prose. Go for original! Avoid "seasonal" cliches (hot chocolate, mistletoe). The best will be selected for presentation by the Vermont Stage Company at its annual Winter Tales production at FlynnSpace in Burlington in December.
 
/node/10683

Spirit Animal

[totalcount]
A spirit animal can be defined as the animal that best represents you. In a poem or a story, tell us about your spirit animal, and/or how you came to understand what your spirit animal is.
 
/node/9244

Silence.

[totalcount]
 Silence. “The house was dead quiet ...” Finish the story...
 
/node/10886

Ghost

[totalcount]
Tell us your best ghost story. Real or imagined, original or passed down through family and friends. Let's get in the halloween spirit!
 
/node/9245

Ridiculous

[totalcount]
Ridiculous. Write a ridiculous lecture about anything – use nonsense words, make crazy connections, be silly. Record yourself delivering the lecture and post the audio on your blog.
 
/node/9246

Chocolate

[totalcount]
Chocolate. Write a persuasive essay or poem in rhyme about why chocolate is the best thing in the world. (Replace chocolate with ice cream, liverwurst or any other favorite food.) 
 
/node/11136

Lesson

[totalcount]
You are walking through the park and an old man starts to talk to you. He ends up telling you a great life lesson. What do you talk about? What does he tell you?
 
/node/11326

My Art - Digiwrimo

[totalcount]
MY ART: While the emphasis in school is on STEM, we believe The Arts Rule -- writing,  performance and the visual arts. This prompt is for you to create something, show something you've created, talk about the importance of art or tell us how you'll use art to change the world.

This is a WEEK-LONG prompt (part of Digital Writing Month -- click here for other prompts) meaning you can respond multiple times. But do it quickly -- a quick write...
/node/11348

Youth Vote

[totalcount]
Should teenagers have the right to vote?

Training Wheels for Citizenship is a constitutional ammendment proposed by California senator John Vasconcellos that would give 14 and 15-year-olds a quarter vote and 16 and 17-year-olds a half vote.

Do you agree that teenagers should have the right to vote? Why or why not?

 
/node/11416

Election Responses

[totalcount]
UPDATE: Please record yourself reading your election piece! Just go to your post, click edit>>ADD MEDIA>>AUDIO>>RECORDER and follow instructions.

Challenge: Now What?


Around the country, and world, the reaction to the election of Donald Trump has been as divided as the campaign: Protests in big cities, joy and optimism in the smaller communities of the midwest and south. Women, immigrants, minorities express deep-seated fears. Supporters...
/node/9250

Shirley

[totalcount]
Shirley. Write from this scenario: "Shirley stepped off the train with three things in her bag: a notebook, a picture, and a loaded handgun."

 
/node/9249

Photo4-Chair.

[totalcount]
Photo4-Chair. Write a story or poem based on this photo (by Gabrielle McKitty of Essex High School, Vermont).
 
/node/11532

Differences -- Digiwrimo

[totalcount]
MY DIFFERENCES: This is something we don't talk about. Really. Oh, we talk alright but we don't always necessarily listen. And then again, often we are told (in school) to avoid talking about differences. But how are we to understand if we don't talk? If we don't express? If we don't respect others' perspectives AND our own?

So this theme, which will run for two weeks, asks you to talk about the difficult topics. Talk about your race. What advantages does your race...
/node/11571

Student Voice

[totalcount]
(OK, OK, the pic is a cheap stunt; this is NOT about Hogwarts)

STUDENT VOICE:
Do you wish you had more say in your school? More control in what you did in school? Didn't have grades?


Well at the Big Picture School at South Burlington High School students are in charge of their own learning destinies: They can choose the direction and concentration of their work; they create their own projects; they don't get graded...
/node/11626

Climate Action

[totalcount]
Does the government have an obligation to protect the public resources like waterways, oceans and the atmosphere for future generations?

That's what kids around the nation are saying. Earlier this year, a group of youth activists in Massachussetts successfully sued their state government for not doing enough to address the issue of climate change. Another group, Our Children's Trust, got the go-ahead from an Oregon judge to bring a similar lawsuit against the federal government on...
/node/9251

Name

[totalcount]
Name. Write about the history of your first name (its heritage; its history in your family; why your parents chose it; a story perhaps) Do you like your name? If you would prefer another name, what would it be?
 
/node/9253

Fear

[totalcount]
Fear. Write about a fear you have that others might think is irrational. Why does it have a hold on you?
(Photo by Sarah Gliech)
 
/node/9255

Photo5-Woman.

[totalcount]
Photo5-Woman. Write a story or poem based on this photo.
(Photo by Mario Mancuso, Creative Commons license)
 
/node/11880

My Hopes -- Digiwrimo

[totalcount]
MY HOPES: It is 2041. You are alive. The world has changed. What does it look like? Create a few characters and a story around the world in 2041. Do it as a reasoned essay, a poem, digital art, fiction. Imagine the best. If you can't do that, go the other way -- paint us a darker story.

Please use the hashtag: #digiwrimo as this is part of the Digital Writing Month 2016 challenge...
/node/11934

Tradition

[totalcount]
Tell a story about a special holiday tradition that your family has.
 
/node/11983

Remember

[totalcount]
Think back to one of your earliest memories. Tell us the story--from your perspective as a tiny human, or someone else's.
 
/node/9297

Sound3-Talking.

[totalcount]
Sound3-Talking. Listen to the sound and write a story.
 
/node/9257

Recognition

[totalcount]
Recognition. Tell a story about two characters who pass each other on a strange street and immediately recognize each other, but are not sure from where. Do they turn around or keep going? Describe what happens.
 
/node/12117

Achievement

[totalcount]
Write about one of your greatest achievements and how you accomplished it. Tell the story behind it.
 
/node/12169

The First Ever

[totalcount]
This writing challenge is in honor of the great American aviator, astronaut, and Senator John Glenn (the first man to ever orbit planet Earth), upon his passing.

"The first time--ever."

Write a story about something happening for the first time ever. Big or small. True or fiction.
 
/node/9259

Day

[totalcount]
Day. You literally wake up on the wrong side of the bed (perhaps you also bump your head), and it just goes downhill from there. Describe this bad day.
 
/node/12252

Russia

[totalcount]
Did the Russians do it?

The CIA and other U.S. government agencies say they have overwhelming evidence that Russia interfered in U.S. elections by hacking emails of Republican and Democratic campaigns but only distributing embarrassing emails from the campaign of Hillary Clinton.

There is no question that the emails -- largely from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton's campaign and campaign leaders -- had a negative impact on Clinton's campaign...
/node/12315

Elements

[totalcount]
Tell a story or write a poem about the strongest and/or most beautiful force in nature.
 
/node/12343

Cold

[totalcount]
What is the coldest you’ve ever felt, emotionally or physically? Describe it.
 
/node/12727

Fairytale

[totalcount]
Create an 8th dwarf for the Snow White story. What's his name? How does he fit in?
 
/node/9260

Photo6-Balloons

[totalcount]
Photo6-Balloons. Write a story or poem based on this photo (by Josie Elderslie, Creative Commons license).
/node/9262

Opposite

[totalcount]
Opposite. We think a lot about who we are and what we want to be. Now think about what and who you are not – and create a character, your alter-ego. (It could be physical attributes, emotional states, abilities, skills, etc.) 
 
/node/9263

Erase

[totalcount]
Erase. You are given the chance to erase something you have done or a memory that haunts you. Do you take the chance? If so, what do you erase and why? If you don't want to take the chance, why not?
 
/node/13054

Hometown

[totalcount]
What makes you proud, nostalgic, or happy about your town or your state?
 
/node/13129 /node/9265

Me

[totalcount]
Me. What is one thing that people might be surprised to learn about you? Tell the story with plenty of details! 
 
/node/9264

It

[totalcount]
It. Write a story or poem that begins or ends with the phrase, “It changed everything …”
 
/node/13395

Family

[totalcount]
Write about a moment or experience with a family member that changed you.
 
/node/9266

Photo7-Window

[totalcount]
Photo7-Window. Write a story based on this photo (by Alagich Katya, Creative Commons).
 
/node/9267

Thingamabob

[totalcount]
Thingamabob. Write a love letter, or love poem, to an object.
 
/node/13305

Bad

[totalcount]
Write from the perspective of an antagonist. How did he or she become the “bad guy” (bully, thief, villain)? What’s the backstory?

#vtwrites17
 
/node/13306

Knew

[totalcount]
Use this phrase at the beginning or end of your piece: “I just knew…”

#vtwrites17
 
/node/13307

Pickle

[totalcount]
Include the following words in a story or poem: callous, pickle, spell, snail, firefighter.

#vtwrites17
 
/node/12067

Fierce Urgency of Now

[totalcount]


THANK YOU for your submissions to this challenge! Keep them coming! Because 'the fierce urgency of now' continues every day, we want to hear your voices!

Check out the culminating event, where people will read their pieces live!

We've published some of our favorites in...
/node/13309

Object

[totalcount]
Photo by Zolakoma (Creative Commons).

Write a story or poem inspired by your character(s) discovering a mysterious object in a thrift shop or flea market.

#vtwrites17
 
/node/9268

Lies

[totalcount]
Lies. Create a fictional story about a parent's "little white lie" that gets out of control. What prompts the parent to tell it? What happens?
 
/node/13303

Siren

[totalcount]

Siren sound by May.Cuddlepie (Creative Commons).

What does the sound of a siren make you think of? What is happening? Are they coming for you? Or your character?

#vtwrites17
 
/node/13304

Letter

[totalcount]
A baby was born today. Write a letter to introduce this child to the world as you see it.

#vtwrites17
 
/node/13819

Mythical

[totalcount]
Write in the voice of a mythical creature...
(artwork by kyrridwen)
 
/node/9270

Bully

[totalcount]
Bully. Write a letter to a bully or from a bully. The story can be real or imagined. Don’t use real names.
(Art courtesy of http://eskipaper.com/)
 
/node/12444

Hope/Despair

[totalcount]
Hope/Despair: Think of these emotions and their contrast. Use that to fuel a poem or story--real or imagined.
 
/node/13782

Sprout1

[totalcount]
This challenge is for you to continue two stories from Vermont Writes Day. Below are the links, just click the SPROUT button below the one you like. (DO NOT click WRITE.)We're calling this collaborative storytelling, or network narrative. If you find a sprout (or several) already created, read those and choose whether you want to continue one of ...
/node/9271

Art

[totalcount]
Art. Think of your life as a piece of art. What’s in the picture? Are you viewing it or are you in it? Describe the size, medium, colors.
 
/node/13919

Protest

[totalcount]
Brattleboro (VT) High School students on Friday protested the new U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos saying that she was unqualified and her policies will hurt U.S. public schools. What do you think? Click WRITE to share your thoughts.

Click title on this challenge or this link to read the vtdigger.org story about the students' rally.

(...
/node/13977

7.84 minutes

[totalcount]
This challenge will bend your mind. Visit: http://networkeffect.io/ -- a remarkable way to experience the Internet. You will only be able to spend 7.84 minutes (U.S. users) watching it, exploring it. NOTICE what you are feeling & thinking. Take some screen shots.

When it is over, write what you are thinking. Add images or sound. Include the hashtag #netnarr

YWP...
/node/9274

Mistake

[totalcount]
Mistake. Sometimes we mess up, pretend nothing happened and hope no one notices. Write about a situation in which this backfires in the worst possible way.
 
/node/9273

Photo8-Stairs.

[totalcount]
Photo8-Stairs. Write a story or poem based on this photo (by Carmella Clark of Essex High School, Vermont.)
 
/node/13942

Protest II

[totalcount]
How do you feel about this? Two Burlington High School students recently testified to a Vermont legislative committee about the need for a proposed bill to codify handling of high school student newspapers. Listen to VPR's 11-minute interview/story about it and/or follow this link to vpr.net and then click WRITE to share how you feel about school oversight...
/International-Womens-Day-2017

Inspiration

[totalcount]
Inspiration: What woman or women do you admire and why? Tell the story and how this person (or group of people) has affected you.
March 8 -- is International Women's Day! YWP is partnering with organizers in Vermont to celebrate with a special challenge. One or two responses will be chosen to be presented alongside Muslim Girls Making Change and other guests at a live event in...
/node/9276

Door

[totalcount]
Door. You’re left alone at home one night and you discover a door that you have never seen before. Of course, you open it … and then what? 
/node/9275

Gym

[totalcount]
Gym. Write about your most memorable experience in gym class, good or bad, funny or sad.
 
/node/9277

Letter

[totalcount]
Letter. Write a letter to someone who has had a big effect on your life, or write a letter to someone you want to meet. Convince them that they should meet you.
 
/node/9278

ER

[totalcount]
ER. Write about an experience in a hospital emergency room, real or imagined.
 
/node/14354

Green

[totalcount]
In honor of St. Patrick's Day, write a piece inspired by the color green!
(YWP photo submission by Carloyn Harnois)
 
/node/9256

Home

[totalcount]
Home. Where do you feel most at home, most confident, most strong, most you? A room, a park, a workshop, a sports field? Why?
Include a photo if you can.


 
/node/14459

Disappointed

[totalcount]
Disappointed: They always say looking forward to something is the best part -- write about a time where your expectations weren’t quite met.
 
/node/9280

Invention

[totalcount]
Invention. Create something outrageously wacky that makes life so much more fun! Let your imagination run wild!

 
/node/9281

Photo9-Hoodie

[totalcount]
Photo9-Hoodie. Write a story or poem inspired by this photo (by Bailey Danforth of Essex High School, Vermont.) 
 
/node/9282

Illegal

[totalcount]
 Illegal. "I know it's illegal, but it's the weekend!" This is a real quote from a tunes-loving man who blasted 80 speakers from his van outside a Mets game in Queens last spring -- and was arrested for being a noisy nuisance. Make your own story that begins or ends with this quote. Due March 31
 
/node/9283

Technology

[totalcount]
Technology. If you could create any piece of technology, what would it be and how would it be used?
 
/node/9299

Sound5-Thunder.

[totalcount]

Sound5-Thunder. Listen to the sound and write a story.
 
/node/14628

Body

[totalcount]
Have you ever looked at an ad with a woman with an impossibly flat stomach or a man with hard core abs and thought, “I wish I looked like that,” or “I hate them.”

Do you ever feel guilty about what you eat? Has a bully -- or even a friend or family member -- said something to you that makes you feel insecure about your body? Most of us have body image issues. And many people also experience an eating disorder -- that isn’t really about eating, but about how they feel...
/node/9284

Perfect

[totalcount]
Perfect. Write about something that works out perfectly, real or imagined.
 
/node/9285

Crush

[totalcount]
Crush. You've had a crush on someone for a year, but the person doesn't seem to know you even exist. How do you deal with that? How do you get the person to notice? Real or imagined. And no names!
 
/node/14683 /node/9286

Backpack

[totalcount]
Backpack. One day you’re digging way down to the bottom of your backpack when you come across the most incredible thing. Describe it. What do you do with it?
Photo credit: Blake Bolinger, Creative Commons
 
/node/9287

Lucky

[totalcount]
Lucky. What is your lucky number? How do you know? Tell a story about your luck and the number.
 
/node/15047

100 Days

[totalcount]
Looking for a place to rant and rave? You're at the right place! Tell us your thoughts about the first 100 days of the Trump administration.
And record yourself reading your piece -- right on your blog (click Audio and try the Recording tab upper right. Please use Firefox or Safari).
Read as if you're presenting to an audience. Consider sharing this piece at YWP's upcoming SoundCheck on May 5!This challenge was inspired by a project by VPR....
/node/9288

Photo10-House.

[totalcount]
Photo10-House. Write a story or poem based on this illustration (by Ava Kendrick of Harwood Union High School, Vermont.)
 
/node/9289

Peeves

[totalcount]
Peeves. What is a pet peeve of yours? (You can write about ALL your pet peeves, if you like!) What really gets to you? Write your best rant, make a rhyme, shout it out!
 
/node/9290

Road

[totalcount]
Road. Think about Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” and write a story about two characters who stand at a crossroads and choose opposite roads/directions/options. Tell their story or focus on an aspect of the decision – their conversation, the outcome, the process of making the decision.
 
/node/15105

Flying Car

[totalcount]


The future is now. You now own a flying car. Tell a story on how you use it each day, how it changes your life or our culture. Or write a story about the myriad of problems that emerge from insufficient battery life, getting lost, etc....
/node/9291

Arm

[totalcount]
 Arm. You wake up to discover you have grown a third arm. How does the extra arm come in handy or get in the way?
(Quinn Dombrowski photo, Creative Commons)
 
/node/9292

Family

[totalcount]
Family. Write a story or poem that includes this sentence, “They sat at the dining-room table, the family of four…”
(William Brawley, Creative Commons)
 
/node/9293

Today

[totalcount]
Today. Write about the most interesting thing you heard or discovered today. 
 
/node/15359

Challenges17-18

[totalcount]
What would spark you to write? Create an ORIGINAL writing challenge -- for yourself and your YWP peers -- for the Weekly Challenges of the 17-18 school year!
Keep it short. One word title. Couple of sentences. Or one photo or illustration or a link to a sound prompt. (Give credit to the source.)

#challenges17-18



 
/node/15314

You ... in a phrase

[totalcount]
In one or more sentence(s), describe yourself by finishing off the phrase "I am the one who ..." Tell us something that we may not know about you. 

 
/node/7897

Flashbulb

[totalcount]
A flashbulb memory is one you can see in your mind’s eye "as if it were yesterday." Write the story of a flashbulb memory you have, putting us right in the action.
Extension: Talk to someone else who was there. How does their recollection differ from yours? Write their account of the story.

 
/node/10916

I Wonder

[totalcount]
Write a story, poem, song or essay around the idea of: I wonder...
 
/node/15574

Run

[totalcount]
My only thought was Run! Run as fast as you can...
Use this line in a story.
 
/node/15575

Adventure

[totalcount]
Summer's almost here -- thinking of an exciting new adventure? What is something new you'd like to try? Or what special parts of past summers would you like to relive?
Write in rhyme if you really want to be adventurous!

 
/node/15590

Pet

[totalcount]
Quirky, silly & demanding, also life-savers, best friends, loyal companions. Pets can play a huge role in your life. Tell a story about a pet you know.
 
/node/9243

Photo3-Lights

[totalcount]
Photo3-Lights. Write a piece inspired by this photo (by Alagich Katya, Creative Commons license).
 
/node/15684

Random

[totalcount]
Quick! Write down seven random, unrelated words that pop into your mind. Create a story using those words -- in just seven minutes!
 
/node/15699

Covfefe

[totalcount]
At 12:06 a.m. May 31, 2017, President Trump tweeted: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe". What?!? T-shirts (see Teespring model above) and memes and jokes are spreading. What do you think the word means? Write your interpretation.
 
/node/15652

The Moon

[totalcount]
You get to travel to the moon! What do you find? Is there another form of life there? Can you find secrets hidden underground...? Be creative and have fun with it!
 
/node/12052

Rhyming Poetry

[totalcount]
Write a poem that follows a strict rhyme scheme.
 
/node/15752

Paris

[totalcount]
President Trump has announced the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris climate accord, a 2015 pact to combat global warming that is supported by every nation in the world, except Nicaragua and Syria. What do you think about this decision -- in relation to climate change and the U.S.'s role in the world? Do you agree or disagree with Trump? How do you think it will play out?
 
/node/9272

Awkward

[totalcount]
Awkward. Write the dialogue of an excruciatingly uncomfortable meeting or experience.
 
/node/9258

Catch 22

[totalcount]
Catch 22. Pick 22 random words or phrases that you find on your phone or see around you. Include all 22 in your piece.
 
/node/14165

Never

[totalcount]
Write about something you’d never do. Explain why.
(Photo by Liu Brenna, YWP Submission)
 
/node/11098

Neighborhood

[totalcount]
NEIGHBORHOOD: Tell stories about where you live -- your house, your neighborhood, your road, your community. Any story is good. Write fast. Use digital media. Use sensory description.

Theme/story suggestions: What does your home look like? What is around it?  What do people do? What are the problems in terms of cost, accessibility, inclusiveness? What's the big issue in your area? Tell us if you live in a rural or urban setting.



 
/node/15754

She Stood

[totalcount]
Finish the phrase "She stood" however you see fit.
/node/15796

Bradbury

[totalcount]
Whenever Ray Bradbury, author and screenwriter, was stuck when he was writing, he would pause and look around the room. He'd come up with a list of nouns composed of the things he saw and use all of the items in that list in a piece of writing to get his "writing brain" going. Look around the room you're in. What do you see? Make a Bradbury List, and use those nouns in a poem, a story, a song, or whatever you prefer. Get your "writing brain" going. [Photo...
/node/9298

Sound4-Chimes.

[totalcount]
Sound4-Chimes. Listen to the sound and write a story or poem.

 
/node/15823

Shoes

[totalcount]
Your character has forgotton their shoes somewhere and they are currently walking without them. Write a story about how this happened. Where and why were they forgotten? What is it like to not have them? What is happening now? [Photo Credit and Prompt Creator: Grace Safford, Intern] 
/node/13516

Excerpt

[totalcount]
Pick a random line or phrase from a book nearby and include it in your piece.
 
/node/15821

Desk

[totalcount]
Look at this picture. Write a story or a poem inspired by what you see. [Photo Credit and Prompt Creator: Grace Safford, Intern] 
/node/9269

Lamp

[totalcount]
Lamp. “A lamp flickered on in the house …” Write a story or poem that includes this phrase.
 
/node/13075

Kindness

[totalcount]
Write about a random act of kindness that you’ve witnessed, experienced, or performed. What happened? What did it make you think?
 
/node/10558

Secret Life

[totalcount]
Not all is what it seems... You have a second life, that none of your regular friends know about. What's the story?
 
/node/901

Worry

[totalcount]
WORRY: What worries you? What makes your...
/node/16031

Songwriter

[totalcount]
Write lyrics to this piece, "At Night," created by YWP's Fiona Ella. (OR, if you are so inclined, create your own music or beat and write to it.)
  
[Photo Credit: Tricia, Creative Commons]

 
/node/16033

Crowd

[totalcount]
A workshop leader that you really admire asks for volunteers to share their poetry. Your hand shoots up (mostly to impress the workshop leader) and you instantly regret it! You are not ready. You hate crowds. What flashes through your mind as you slowly walk to the podium? [Photo Credit: Tara Hunt]
 
/node/16038

Vlog

[totalcount]
Take one of your pieces from the Summer of Stories and perform it, creating a VLOG. (Need some help? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGLEEZZ15N4[Photo Credit: Robbie Sproule]
 
/node/15994

Backstory

[totalcount]
Tell the story behind one of the photos at this link.  Take it further and go to the YWP Academy Workshop on "The 5-Photo Story."
Don't forget the #sos17 hashtag.

 
/node/15995

Room

[totalcount]
For five days, take a picture of the same room — preferably a room in the house or building where other people come to — at the same time of day, from the same spot, and at the same angle. It could be your kitchen, your living room, a community center, a cafe (get permission), etc. See how the room changes in five days. Make a slideshow. [Photo Credit: Martin Cathrae, Creative Commons]
 
/node/15996

Face

[totalcount]
Find a mirror and a piece of paper. Look at your face in the mirror, and without looking down at your paper, draw your face. Never lift your pencil from the page! You can color it in later if you want. Take a picture on your phone and post it on your blog! (Check out the photo example by YWP Summer Intern Grace Safford.)
 
/node/15997

Signs

[totalcount]
For a day, take photos of interesting signs, bumperstickers, or slogans that you see. Put them all together in a slideshow (or a collage) and create a coherent poem from the words. [Photo Credit: Paul Fenwick, Creative Commons]
 
/node/16000

Color-Photos

[totalcount]
What's your favorite color? Take five artistic pictures of things that are that color. Note the different shades and tones. Upload the photos to your post. (If you want to go deeper, check out this YWP Academy workshop on "Working with Colors.") [Photo Credit: Ciara Etrle]
 
/node/15998

Waves

[totalcount]
Alone on the beach, she watched the waves .... Use this as a first or last line. [Photo Credit: Douglas Muth, Creative Commons]
 
/node/15999

Milk

[totalcount]
The milk has spilled. Now what? Create a wacky series of events that starts with that glass or bucket of milk tipping over -- or it could happen in the middle or at the end. Make it wild but still credible. [Photo Credt: Maria Shemesh, Creative Commons]
 
/node/16002

Hand

[totalcount]
You're home with your mother when the power goes out. Your mom goes into the kitchen to get a flashlight. Suddenly, you feel a hand on your shoulder, and thinking that it's your mom's, you grab hold of it. But then your mother calls your name from the kitchen.... [Photo Credit: Kevin Huang]
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Note

[totalcount]
Start your story with a character finding a note that totally surprises them. What does the note say? Keep the story going when the note is read and put down. [Photo Credit: Emma Parizo]
 
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Lost

[totalcount]
Your character is lost in the woods with only the clothes on their back, a bottle of water, and an animal that won't stop following them. What happens?
[Photo Credit: Derek Pham]
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July/August Book

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Description: 
From July 24th - August 18th, the YWP Book Club will be reading Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart. Gemeinhart, former teacher and librarian, is an up and coming YA author most well-known for his debut novel The Honest Truth. Some Kind of Courage is his second of three novels. 

As described by YWP User Anna P, "Some Kind of Courage by Dan...
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Beach

[totalcount]
Listen to the sounds of Clearwater Beach, Fla., by John Sipos (freesound.org) and write a story based on what you hear and feel. (Download this clip and include it with your post so we can play it while reading.)

  
[Photo...
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Loopy

[totalcount]
Listen to the sounds of Mativve (freesound.org). What picture/person/place or situation comes to mind? Describe it. OR imagine yourself or a created character immersed in this soundscape. (Download this clip and include it with your post so we can play it while reading.)​ 
 
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Independence

[totalcount]
Express. Your. Independence. You are lucky. Others are not. Tell us how you are acting independent this summer. Or tell us how you are helping others gain independence.

Original image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of geishaboy 500
/node/16005

Dramatic

[totalcount]
(UPDATED) Use sound to add a dramatic effect to your piece. Record a bold narration of a piece you like. Add sound within the body of a piece. Give an overly dramatic reading of a long ago piece you wrote. [Photo Credit: Jeff Schultz]

 
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Animal

[totalcount]
Go outside. What is the first animal you hear? The call of a bird? The bark of a dog? (Humans are animals, too.) Write from the perspective of that animal. What is (are) the animal(s) talking about? (If you have a smartphone or can borrow one, record the sounds and upload to your post.) [Photo Credit: Anna Mechler]
 
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Static

[totalcount]
Listen to this clip of radio static by GowlerMusic (freesound.org) and write a piece of fiction with a reference to this sound in it. (Download this clip and include it with your post so we can play it while reading.)

​​ 
[Photo Credit:...
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Movie

[totalcount]
Write about that one moment in your life that felt like a scene right out of a movie.
[Photo Credit: Kevin Huang]
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Memory

[totalcount]
Ask a parent, guardian, or sibling about a childhood memory they have never told you before. Tell their story.
[Photo Credit: Ashley Gehsmann]
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Embarrassed

[totalcount]
What was the most embarrassing moment of your life? How did it change you? Or what did you learn from it? Tell the story.
[Photo Credit: Katlyn Whitehouse]
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Object

[totalcount]
What are three objects that help explain your personality? Why? (Share photos if you can.)
[Photo Credit: Melissa Morris]
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Life

[totalcount]
Explain your entire life — such as the major events and experiences that have shaped who you are and what you love — in just five sentences.
[Photo Credit: Kevin Huang]
/node/16011

Moment

[totalcount]
Describe that moment when you realized that you are — we all are — just a speck in the universe. Did it hit you all at once like a thunderbolt or was it a gradual dawning? [Photo Credit: Christopher Leow]
 
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Dream

[totalcount]
What happens when suddenly the things you dream about at night come to life the next morning? [Photo Credit: Yote Farrel]
 
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Angry

[totalcount]
What really, really pisses you off? 
[Photo Credit: Kevin Huang]
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Unpopular

[totalcount]
Write about your unpopular opinion and why your opinion is correct. For example, there are some people in this world who actually think peanut butter and chocolate are a disgusting combination. Huh??  [Photo Credit: Julie Pearce]
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Hilarious

[totalcount]
Think of a movie/ TV show/character/story that really strikes you as funny — and ask yourself why. Create a character that would really make you laugh. Describe the character's appearance, demeanor, speech, actions. [Photo Credit: Kevin Huang]
 
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Satire

[totalcount]
Satire can be an effective way to draw attention to issues and to campaign for change. The 2017 political landscape has proven to be (gulp) interesting, and fodder for satirical publications like The Onion, and TV shows like Saturday Night Live (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWuc18xISwI). Try your hand at satire — with a serious issue. [Photo Credit: Kate Connolly]
 
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Listen

[totalcount]
Open your ears to the world for a day. Write about the funniest conversation you overheard that day. [Photo Credit: Shenali, YWP Photo Library]
 
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Tradition

[totalcount]
What is your funniest/weirdest family tradition? [Photo Credit: Johnny, Creative Commons]
 
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Cliche

[totalcount]
What are the most annoying cliches you know? Put them together in a short story or poem. 

[Photo Credit: Airpix, Creative Commons]
 
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Form

[totalcount]
Mess up the form of one of your past poems. Maybe the font gets really big at times, or maybe it gets really small. Maybe the words bend around the page to form a design....  [Photo Credit: Emma Parizo]
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Repetition

[totalcount]
Write only one line. Then, for the rest of your poem, write slight variations on only that one line.  [Photo Credit: Walker Jones]
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Do

[totalcount]
Write a poem in the format of a numbered "To Do" list. Or write directions on how to make something. Or write a resume that explains your life.  [Photo Credit: Sophia Cannizzaro]
 
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Crime Fiction

[totalcount]
Your character looks out the window of their bedroom to see a man digging a hole in the woods of their backyard. There’s a black bag next to his feet. What happens next?

[Photo Credit: Lia.Chien]
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Horror

[totalcount]
Your character is in a cabin by the lake with their family. They get put into a room with their brother in the attic. On the far side, there’s an old dusty mirror. When your character looks into the mirror, it’s not their reflection that they see looking back at them…

[Photo Credit: Livia Ball]
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Fantasy

[totalcount]
You open your backdoor not to find your backyard, but your favorite fantasy world. Maybe you’re in Narnia. Maybe you’re in Middle Earth. Write about what happens.

[Photo Credit: Hannah Neddo]
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Historical Fiction

[totalcount]
Pick an era. The 1920s? The 1960s? The 1850s? Write about a character dealing with life. Include a dog, a letter, and someone running in your story.

[Photo Credit: Desiree Holmes]
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Snowman

[totalcount]
Make a snowman and take a photo of it. The most creative snowman-builders will receive YWP chocolate and be featured in The Voice!

[YWP Photo (cropped) by mythicalquill]
/node/5528

Why Write?

[totalcount]
Why write? Why do you write?
Some questions to get you started: Do you write to change something? To clear your mind? To release your anger, your emotions? What happens to your mind when you are writing? What do you write? What happens when you share what you've written? What happens when your writing is published? How does it make you feel?

And take a look at the video to your right to see why some others write.

...
/node/16928

Slam

[totalcount]
What gets you really angry? What makes your blood boil? Write a slam poem about it. Record yourself performing it, and post the audio and the writing. 

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Shannon Ripp]
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Realize

[totalcount]
Finish this phrase, “In that moment, I realized …,”  and start or end a story or poem with it.

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
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Moments

[totalcount]
We are defined by moments in our lives. This challenge will have three parts:
  1. Click respond and make a list (using phrases only) of memorable moments in your life -- an injury, a new sibling, moving ... -- whatever comes to mind. Get as many down as possible.
  2. Share the list with a partner. Look at their list and ask them to tell you the story about the item that intrigues you the most. Switch -- have your partner ask you to tell a story from your list.
  3. Write about the...
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Sure

[totalcount]
Begin a story or poem with the phrase, “One thing I know for sure …

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Shannon Ripp]
 
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Key

[totalcount]
Write from the point of view of a key in a sweaty palm.

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Shannon Ripp]
 
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Sound 4 - Surprise

[totalcount]
You walk downstairs to make breakfast only to discover the animal in this recording standing in the middle of your kitchen. Write about the chaos that ensues...

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford; Sound Credit]
 
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Nothing

[totalcount]
End a story with the line “they had nothing to say to each other…”

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Shannon Ripp] 
 
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Did you March?

[totalcount]
Tell us your story of March for our Lives. Did you march? Were you in Washington or some other city? Did you purposely stay away?

Share your story. Or emotions. Or photos. Or share a perspective that may differ from the majority.

Why did you participate. Why didn't you participate? What do you think should be done to make our schools, our public places, safer? Do you think gun access should be restricted? Why or why not? What should be done? Speak out!


 
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Photo 8 - Treetop

[totalcount]
Write from the perspective of a character sitting on top of this tree. What can the character see? Include something — maybe a friend, a pet, or even a responsibility — waiting at the bottom.

[Photo credit: YWP Photo Library; Photo by Kevin Huang] 
 
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Brick

[totalcount]
You’re walking along the side of a brick building when you see a loose brick. You tug at it, and a note flutters to the ground. What does it say?

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Shannon Ripp]
 
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Photo1-Wake

[totalcount]
Write a poem or a story based on this image, making the image the first scene.
[YWP Photo Library, photo by Desiree Holmes]
 
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The Girls

[totalcount]
This challenge, The Girls, is inspired from hannahpanda23's amazing poem called "To the girls!"  I would highly encourage you to follow the link and read it if you need some inspiration.

Girls, write about what kind of girl you think you are. Boys (or gender nonconforming persons), write about the women and girls in your life, and how they have helped you.

Tag it with the hashtag...
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MLK -- A reflection

[totalcount]

This challenge will take some time. But it will be worth it. View either or both of the videos here and write what comes to you -- an essay, a reflection, a poem, a story, a rant. Whatever. Create visual art and share it. Create an audio piece. Again, whatever. Just react. Because 50 years ago, April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King was gunned down and his words remain relevant and important today. For all people.

The top video is the full sermon Martin Luther King made on Feb. 4,...
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Rain

[totalcount]
Write a rhyming poem about being stuck in the rain, and a surprising discovery you make.

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Kevin Huang] 
 
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Food

[totalcount]
Write an appreciation of your favorite food. An ode to eggplant?

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Kevin Huang]
 
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What's Next -- Climate

[totalcount]

Watch this video. 

Write about what it makes you think. What are you going to do? What's next?

 
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Playground

[totalcount]
Take a photo of someone on a playground. Use the architecture to your advantage.
(Photo credit: YWP Photo Library, Livia Ball)

 
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Zuckerberg speaks -- Reaction?

[totalcount]

Facebook co-inventor and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday. The House members were a good deal more pointed and direct than the Senators.

Above is the near full version of his 6-hour testimony in the House. Below is a NYTIMES distillation of the Tuesday Senate hearing and below that the full version. Watch some of it. Speed through or sit for a while.  RESPOND and write your reaction -- a rant, a poem, a story, whatever.

 WHAT DO...
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Photo 9-City

[totalcount]
Write a poem from the perspective of a tiny speck of light in the big city. (YWP Photo Library, photo by Kevin Huang).
 
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Kindness

[totalcount]
What is the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you?

#vtwrites18

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
 
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Parkland: What can you do?

[totalcount]
A compelling call for action by one of the survivors of the Parkland high school shooting. What can we do to stop these shootings from happening again?

(UPDATE: note that we have created more challenges related to the shooting. Go to https://youngwritersproject.org/challenges )

#neveragain
 
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Parkland: A letter for the victims

[totalcount]

Over time, the identities of the victims of mass shootings fade away and become a number, become a word. Think of the victims as individuals. Write a letter for one of them. Here is a link for summary bios of the 17 victims of the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

 
/node/21157

Speak out: A letter to leaders

[totalcount]

High school and middle school students around the U.S. are having their voices heard. Will it be enough? Will you be heard? Can you bring change?

Write a letter to your Senator, Congressman, state legislator, governor. Tell them what you think they should do. Post a copy here. 

ALSO, put the hashtag #writersforchange if you'd like to be part of a YWP community project to send a lot of writing to political leaders being...
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Parkland: Do you feel you are being heard?

[totalcount]

The difference in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida, shooting is that people are paying attention to articulate, passionate high school students. Does this give you hope? Do you feel you are heard? Are there other issues you feel you need to voice?

 
/node/22067

What's Next? -- April 20 School Walkout

[totalcount]

Another National School Walkout Day is being organized, in memory of the students shot at Columbine High School.

Are you participating? Are you including discussion of and action around the broader issue of youth gun deaths in urban areas? 

Write about what you are planning, thinking, wishing -- or, when the day comes, what you did.  Include pictures and sound.

 
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Earth

[totalcount]
The Earth needs your help. Climate change is real. Write an urgent message to your fellow humans that will get their attention. Be specific about how to take immediate action. Write, and you’ll be entered into a drawing for YWP’s environmentally friendly chocolate!

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Shannon Ripp]

 
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Contrast

[totalcount]
Write the internal dialogue of a character who is constantly flipping between being filled with hope, and being filled with despair.

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
 
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Train

[totalcount]
Listen to this sound. Now write about a transformative change this sound spurs in a character.

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Shannon Ripp; Sound Credit Sounds of the Train]
 
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Screenplay

[totalcount]

You have just been hired by a big-shot Hollywood producer to write the opening scene of a screenplay of your favorite book. Share it with us. (Remember to include the title of the book.)

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, Erik Short] 
 
/node/16898

Wonder

[totalcount]
I wonder why … Finish the sentence. Use it at the beginning or end of a story. 

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Grace Safford]
/node/16960

Green Up

[totalcount]
Vermonters! Participate in Green Up Day. Write about the most interesting object you find, the best conversation you have, or the observations you make as you clean up the state.

[YWP Photo Librry; Photo by Grace Safford]
 
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Yellow

[totalcount]
Take pictures of things that are the color yellow. Make a slideshow. Write an accompanying poem or commentary on the photos.

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
 
/node/16956

One

[totalcount]
Write a serious conversation between two characters. Just write the dialogue, nothing else. Now, delete everything one person said so that only one side of the conversation remains.

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
 
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Last

[totalcount]
Write a poem or a story that begins with the line, “This is your last chance.”

[YWP Library; Photo by Shannon Ripp] 
 
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Writing

[totalcount]
Record the sound of yourself writing. Post the piece you were writing, and your audio clip, to YWP.

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Shannon Ripp]
 
/node/16717

Literary Nonsense

[totalcount]
A great example of Literary Nonsense is the poem “The Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll (or really anything by Lewis Carroll). You use an odd object or idea to explain a large concept or philosophical question. In short, you make sense out of nonsense. Write your own literary nonsense poem. Maybe a teacup holds the secrets of life. Maybe what an apple and an orange have in common is their ability to explain why humans act the way they do.

[Photo Credit:...
/node/16034

Advice

[totalcount]
Share the best advice you've ever received — or figured out yourself — about performing. [Photo Credit: Beverly Gartland]
 
/node/16039

Pastoral

[totalcount]
Describe a place (a river valley, a mountain path, a beach) where you feel at peace. Why does this place speak to you?  [Photo Credit: Kevin Huang]
/node/16955

Sound1-Play

[totalcount]
Listen to this recording of a park. Record your own sounds of a park. Or playground. Or a sporting event. Take photos to accompany your soundtrack. Post your slideshow and audio.
[Photo credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Livia Ball; Sound credit: "Ambience, Children Playing, Distant, A.wav" by InspectorJ, Freesound.org 



 
/node/9279

Attic

[totalcount]
Attic. In the attic of your grandmother's house, you find a box labeled with your name. What’s inside? Do you tell anyone else about it or keep it a secret? Is it surprising, shocking, heart-warming, disturbing? Does it change your opinion about your grandmother or someone else in the family?
 
/node/533

OMG!

[totalcount]


You are moving. You've finally...
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Embarrassing

[totalcount]
Embarrassing. Write about your most embarrassing moment. Can you laugh about it now or is it still too painful?
 
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Setting

[totalcount]
Take a photo or photos of a setting that you find inspiring. Post the photo(s) and write a short explanation of why this place touches you.
[Photo credit: YWP Photo Library, phone by abouttosnap, YWP Community Leader & Photographer)
 
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Invention

[totalcount]
What is one thing you wish had never been invented? How would your life and/or the world be different without this invention?

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Shannon Ripp]
/node/16946

Sound3-Glass

[totalcount]
Listen to this audio clip of someone walking on broken glass — let it inspire you. Write about what you are hearing. Maybe you use glass as a metaphor in a poem. Write.

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Shannon Ripp; Sound Credit Walking on Broken Glass]
 
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Squirrel

[totalcount]
Write the inner dialogue of a squirrel trying to find the nuts she buried for the winter.

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Grace Safford]
/node/16963

Sports

[totalcount]
Describe a memorable moment playing your favorite sport. Use detail to help your readers feel like they’re right there with you.
[Photo credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Brandon Beauchemin]
 
/node/16906

Ask

[totalcount]
Ask someone for a writing prompt. You could ask a parent, a teacher, a friend, a waiter — anyone. Write based on the prompt they gave you, even if you don’t like it at first.

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Grace Safford]
/node/16899

Nature

[totalcount]
Make a sculpture out of natural things on the ground in the woods or in your backyard— sticks, rocks, leaves, etc. Don’t harm or disturb the habitat. Take a picture and post it. The most creative sculptor will receive YWP’s delicious, environmentally friendly, locally produced chocolate!

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Shannon Ripp]
/node/16029

Food

[totalcount]
Write a rant about your least favorite food. Don't be afraid to tell that unruly turnip or stinky dill pickle what you think of it.  [Photo Credit: Laura Cavazos]
 
/node/16915

Photo 4 - Married

[totalcount]
These two have been married for many years. They’re having a small disagreement today. What’s the conversation they’re having?

[Photo Credit: Kuhnmi, Creative Commons License]
/node/16919

Mundane

[totalcount]
Write about something seemingly ordinary — a chair, a wall, a tack — and make it extraordinary.

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Grace Safford]
/node/16900

Footprints

[totalcount]
You see a set of mysterious footprints leading from the woods behind your house and down your street. You follow them. What happens?

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
 
/node/20403

Write awful

[totalcount]
Use cliches, mixed metaphors, tense changes, whatever you're not supposed to do when you write an essay.

#vtwrites18

(Photo credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Molly Noel)
/node/19781

Banned

[totalcount]
Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were told last week that the Trump administration is prohibiting them from using seven words or phrases in official documents. The forbidden words are: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.” (Washington Post, Dec. 15, 2017) What do you think of that? This challenge was sparked by today's Daily Read -- 7 Words by Icarus Blackmore. Read it...
/node/16023

Civility

[totalcount]
Why have we become so uncivil to each other? Why can't we all just get along? Thoughts?
[Photo Credit: Aliya Schneider]
/node/18568

Smile

[totalcount]
/node/19828

VTWD18

[totalcount]
Vermont Writes Day is coming in February 2018! Write the challenges for YWP's Day of Writing (when everyone -- everyone! -- stops to write for just seven minutes.) Write one or a list of hundreds. A team of YWPers will select the best. (Exact date of VtWritesDay TBD soon!)

 
/node/16966

Sound2-Bells

[totalcount]
Your character is walking, hands in pockets, when they hear this sound, or they are on a bike speeding past a field. Let this sound and setting inspire your story.

[Photo Credit: Perriscope, Creative Commons License] [Sound Credit: RCA, Freesound]


 
/node/16967

Fractured

[totalcount]
Write a fractured fairytale, a reimagining of an established fairytale — aka, Peter Pan is a girl, Alice in Wonderland is set in 2017, Little Red Riding Hood is set in New York City, etc.

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Grace Safford]
/node/16968

Photo 2 — Friends

[totalcount]
Write about the friendship between these two leaves, both fallen, but one wrinkled and crumpled, the other still vibrant and colorful.

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Tapan Napal]
/node/19941

New Year's Wish

[totalcount]
What are some of your hopes and wishes for the coming year? Write of an intention for good or change in yourself or for others. 

Humor would be nice, too.



 
/node/16903

Photo3-Diner

[totalcount]
Write a story based on this photo.

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Grace Safford]
/node/17579

what's below

[totalcount]
Write a short poem or story about what you think is below the water. Be as descriptive as you can! Have fun!
/node/20402

Social media

[totalcount]
Imagine if all social media -- Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc.  -- shut down. Would that be a good thing or a bad thing? How would it affect your life?

#vtwrites18

(Photo credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Mikayla LeBlanc)


 
/node/16969

Inspired

[totalcount]
Find a piece of writing you like on YWP. Create a piece of art — a drawing, a photo, a painting, — based on that piece. Include a link to the piece that inspired you. (And send a comment to the author to let them know.)

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Shannon Ripp]
/node/20401

Prez

[totalcount]
Write a letter to the president. Tell him one thing you want him to do – and why.

#vtwrites18

(Artist credit:​ Denys Almaral)

 
/node/16893

Once

[totalcount]
What is the one thing you think everyone should do at least once in their life? Write from your own experience or research.

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Grace Safford]

 
/node/16894

Don't

[totalcount]
Don’t run with scissors. Don’t chew with your mouth open. Don’t talk to strangers. What is another “don’t” tip that you learned -- and maybe you learned it the hard way? Describe.

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Grace Safford]
 
/node/19347

Real Americans

[totalcount]
You are putting out a call to the "real" Americans (whatever that means to you).
Some things to consider....
Who are they?
What makes them real as opposed to others who may not be?
What is your call a call to do?
What do you want them to know?
What do you want them to do about the condition of the country?
How should they treat their fellow Americans?
Who will answer the call?
#voices4change
...
/node/22504

Spring Photo Contest

[totalcount]
It's spring, and YWP wants your photos! Step outside and take some pictures of people, places, things... anything! If photography is not quite your jam, all scanned visual art is always welcome too, and considered on a level playing field.

Prizes include online and/or print publication in:
  • The Voice
  • The Crow on Medium.com
  • Burlington Free Press
  • Vermont Public Radio and Vermont Digger 
...as well as a...
/node/16021

Grumbling

[totalcount]
You're sitting in the dentist's office and you hear a grumbling in your stomach. You look down toward your belly button to see ... Finish the story. [Photo Credit: Neil Williamson, Creative Commons] 
 
/node/16015

Planet

[totalcount]
Create a planet like Earth, except there is one major difference (for instance, there is no gravity). What is that one difference? What is it like on the planet? Does it have a name? Who are the characters who live there? [Photo Credit: Nate Ertle]
 
/node/16912

Phone

[totalcount]
Go without your phone for 24 hours. Reflect on your experience.

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Grace Safford]
/node/16920

Kid

[totalcount]
If you could be a kid forever, would you be? Why or why not? What would it be like to be in “kid-ville” forever? Describe.

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Shannon Ripp]
/node/16922

I Like

[totalcount]
Starting with the phrase, “I like…” write a list or a run-on sentence of things, people, places you like. Load on the description. Instead of “I like movies,” expand on it -- “I like watching scary movies late at night with a bowl of salty popcorn and my buddy Chump at my side.”

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Shannon Ripp]
/node/19484

State of Union

[totalcount]
How do you feel about the way things are going in America right now? What ticks you off? What encourages you?
Vermont High School Students, you have a special incentive: Sen. Bernie Sanders invites you to write a 250-500 word essay focusing on what you believe are the major challenges facing the nation and how to solve them. Go to www.sanders.senate.gov/stateoftheunion to submit your...
/node/16908

Window

[totalcount]
Look out your window. Describe what you see. Now include a person or an animal wandering through the scene. How does the landscape shift? What do you see and sense?

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Grace Safford]
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Fad

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Write a rant about the weirdest fad of 2017. 

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Grace Safford]
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Young

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Write about something you wish you had known when you were younger.  [Photo Credit: Kevin Huang]
 
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Bake

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If you could "bake" or create a best friend, what ingredients would they have? (A dash of humor, a cup of empathy?) Write your recipe.  [Illustration Credit: angela weasley]
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Dog

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You find a lost dog. Write about the journey you take to get it back to its home. What are your thoughts as you get to know the dog?  Does your relationship with the dog change as you travel together? What happens?

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
 
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Forest

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Write a poem using a forest as a metaphor for either confusion or indecision. 

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Shannon Ripp]
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History

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Research historical events that happened on your birthday, or in your birth year. Write from the perspective of someone who experienced the event.

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
 
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MLK

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America today. Look at the people, events and issues we are facing now. Draw on inspiration from the life, works and values of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to write, compare, suggest a path forward. Or just rant.
#mlk #voices4change
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I Am

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Start or end a piece of writing with the phrase, "I am the one who ... ", to describe who you are, what you love, what you dream of, etc. 

#vtwrites18

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Shannon Ripp]
 
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Valentine

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Write a Valentine's Day poem to a pet. Let the little critter know how much they mean to you. Post a picture of the pet with your poem.

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Grace Safford]
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Love

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Write a love poem without mentioning the word “love.”

[Photo Credit: Sheila on Moonducks, Creative Commons License]
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Cows

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Write a dramatic poem, dialogue or humor piece about the conversation between these cows.

[YWP Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
 
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Photo 6 - Recurring

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A character keeps seeing this image in their dreams. Why? Does this place exist somewhere? Does it have special meaning to this character? Does your character have to go and find it? What happens? 
[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Harlie Johnson]

 
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Puns

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Make a list of words that could be turned into puns (words with several meanings or words that sound similar but have different meanings.) For instance, ‘olive’ becomes ‘all of,’ or ‘I love.’ Have fun with it. Put your best puns together in a poem. 

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Shannon Ripp] 

 
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Photo 7 - Crowd

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How do you stand out from the crowd? Write from the perspective of the red-headed pin in this photo. 

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
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Sky

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Write one sentence that describes the sky today. Add a photo!
 
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First

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Write about the first time you tried something new – a food, a sport, a language, an idea, a ride at the fair. What did you discover?
[Photo credit: YWP Photo Library, Madeline Reed]
 
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An ode to words ...

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Take a view of this and then write something in which you appreciate the words you choose, play with the words, have fun with the words, make them sing.

 
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Found

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Take five lines from books in your house, or five of your favorite quotes, and use them to make a poem. List the books or the origins of your quotes at the bottom of your piece. [Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library]
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Photo 5 — Collage

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Create a collage like this one of you or a friend doing an activity involving your hands, such as knitting, drawing, cooking, playing catch, etc.

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Mya Dusablon]
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Ancestor

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Who is one of your most interesting relatives? Famous or infamous? Well-known or unknown? Go digging for a good family story.

[Photo Credit: YWP photo Library, photo by Shannon Ripp]
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Winter/17

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Editor's Note: We've extended this a week for all of you who haven't gotten your submissions in!

Tell a story about your experience of winter in short descriptive poetry or prose. Be original. Avoid cliches, (please, no hot chocolate, no sleigh bells). The best will be selected for presentation by the Vermont Stage Company at its annual Winter Tales production at FlynnSpace in Burlington in December.

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo...
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Morning

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Start your story with the line, “It was a beautiful morning and nothing was wrong.”

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Grace Safford]
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Loss

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Write about what it’s like to lose a longtime friend. How does it happen? Where do you go from here? Real or imagined. No names, please!

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Grace Safford]
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Ogdoad

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Find out what this word means and how it was used in ancient Egypt. Create your own poem or story using the word ogdoad.
[Photo credit: YWP Photo Library, Grace Safford]
 
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Fortune

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You feeling lucky? Go to http://www.myfortunecookie.co.uk/ and "open your cookie."

Tell us what your fortune says and us it to write a story, a poem, a rant, a lament. Whatever. Just go with what you're given.

Good luck!

 
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Apples

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If you can, visit an apple orchard. Take photos and breathe in the apple air! Post your photos as a slideshow. Write a poem about the experience.
[Photo credit: YWP Photo Library, Grace Safford]
 
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Peace

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Where do you see the greatest opportunity to create peace in your community or the world? Write an essay or poem about what you can do to promote peace. This challenge is part of Peace Day, Sept. 21. More info:http://www.peaceoneday.org. Also click here to see what Vergennes Union High School does on Peace Day!
[Photo credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Jonathan Palmer]...
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Fear

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What is a fear you have that is sure to make people say, “That’s weird.” Write an example of how the fear has played out – or could play out – for you.
[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, Christi Tassie]


 
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Dare

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Your friend dares you to enter the creepy house at the end of the street. You enter, and inside, you find something that you least expected. Tell the story.
[Photo credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Will Barr]
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Haircut

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Rant about the worst haircut you’ve ever gotten. What did you do about it?

(Photo credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Kevin Huang, YWP Photoshop)
 
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Go

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Today, your usual way to school is unavailable, and you really need to get there! It’s up to you to find an alternative. Write about your experience traveling by foot, bicycle, school bus, city bus, pony, skateboard (anything other than a car). What and who do you see along the way? How is it different from your usual trip? Do you learn something cool or surprising? Real or imagined.
Vermont writers! Bonus: Your stories will be considered for publication to...
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Color

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If you had to give up seeing one color, which color would it be and why?

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Grace Safford]
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Power

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You have developed an odd but somewhat useful superpower. Maybe you have the superpower to never get bug bites, or you have the power to predict traffic jams, or the power to clean your room by blinking three times. What would your odd superpower be?

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Evan Friedman]

 
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State of the Union

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President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union address. What did you think? What did you like? dislike? What did you think was missing? Write something. We want to know what you think. We want to know how the speech made you feel.