Category: writing

Camp NaNoWriMo Young Writers Contest: Honorable Mentions

In April, the Camp NaNoWriMo Young Writers Contest challenged writers to submit a 300-word story that began with a storm. From over 600 fabulous entries, we chose two Grand Prizes and three Honorable Mentions. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we did! 

Honorable Mention (High School) by Annabel

Violet is cooking breakfast when she hears Nana hollering from outside. It’s raining, and the droplets leaking from the ceiling echo in the tin pail next to her. The scent of mildew and bacon hangs heavy in the air, and at the sound of her grandmother’s voice, Violet flinches. She turns off the gas and runs out of the kitchen, her feet slapping against the tile. Nana doesn’t like to be kept waiting.

Her slicker hangs on a coat hook in the foyer. She pulls it on and rushes outside, slamming the door behind her…

Read the rest!

Honorable Mention (High School) by Bethany

“It’s a pretty heavy storm.” His brows furrowed skeptically at the rain beating against the window. “Are you sure you need soup now?”

I nodded and snuggled down further under my mountain of blankets. “I’m having intense cravings for warm soup,” I said and coughed dramatically. “Plus, it’ll help my throat.”

“I can’t believe we’re out of Ramen.” He sighed and glanced at his watch. “I’ll make a quick trip down to Walmart. It won’t take long.”

I smiled. “Thanks.”

He grabbed his coat, keys, and umbrella, pausing momentarily at the door. “See you soon, sicky.”

He never made it back home…

Read the rest!

Honorable Mention (Middle/School) by Violet

The wind and rain swirls around me. My tattered cloak whips behind me in the wind. My red dragon, Ember, whines next to me. Alexandria Knight here, beast tamer extreme. Lightning strikes next to me. I can tell immediately that it’s no natural lightning. It moves, scouring the ground, like it’s looking for me. Ember shoots a bolt of flame into the lightning. It dissipates. I touch the brooch keeping my cloak on to summon Shadow, my faithful wraith.

“Shadow, something’s wrong with this storm! It’s not natural.”

Read the rest!

“Celebrate yourself. To know and love thyself is to have lasting wealth.”

“Celebrate yourself.
To know and love thyself is
to have lasting wealth.” – Nicholas A…

“You breathe life to my heart. But you are also the one who takes life out of it, in an instant.”

“You breathe life to my heart. But you are also the one who takes life out of it, in an…

Camp NaNoWriMo Young Writers Contest: Grand Prize (Middle/Elementary School)

In April, the Camp NaNoWriMo Young Writers Contest challenged writers to submit a 300-word story that began with a storm. From over 600 fabulous entries, we chose two Grand Prizes and three Honorable Mentions. This week on our blog, we’ll be sharing those winning stories with you. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we have!

Grand Prize Winner (Middle/Elementary School) by Ainsley A.

Pitter patter, pitter patter.

The sounds echo through the room, surrounding me in a gray, looming light as I lie in my bed. I turn my head toward the window that is covered in streaks of droplets that slide all the way to the bottom of the pane and leak into my room.

I get up from my bed and open the window, letting the rain whip into my room with a deafening scream.

I’m not worried about this rain, even though it’s been raining for weeks on end. Some years ago, global warming went through the roof: warmer than it’s supposed to be in 50 years, and it’s all happening at once.

But it’s supposed to stop soon.

I crawl out onto the sill and close the window behind me. I take the leap to the fire escape and nearly fall the five stories to the ground from our Los Angeles apartment. I hold on and pull myself up and start the climb to the roof.

I climb the slippery metal stairs that creak below my feet, grasping to the cold rail. I finally make it to the roof and look out towards the ocean as the rain falls to the asphalt roof below me.

Pitter patter, pitter patter.

I come here a lot to think. About anything, really. Just think. And stare, out into the large blue. That builds up a wall so suddenly it can’t be. I take a step back. What’s happening?

A wall of blue, coming straight for the city; towards me. I can do nothing but stare as the wave starts to crash through Los Angeles, knocking down buildings, heading faster and faster towards my apartment, racing above my head. It reaches me, higher and higher.
I hold my breath.

Pitter patter, pitter patter.


Ainsley A. likes to write in her free time after school, but is also an avid reader and loves science-fiction and fantasy. She plays soccer (her favorite sport besides robots, if that even counts), and loves writing random bits of illogical, weird things that come to her mind, which sometimes lead to her story ideas. Ainsley is currently in 6th grade, and her favorite subject is Social Studies. (She also may have a slight obsession with space corgis.)

prompt 987

No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.

                                                           —Abraham Lincoln

Camp NaNoWriMo Young Writers Contest: Grand Prize (High School)

In April, the Camp NaNoWriMo Young Writers Contest challenged writers to submit a 300-word story that began with a storm. From over 600 fabulous entries, we chose two Grand Prizes and three Honorable Mentions. This week on our blog, we’ll be sharing those winning stories with you. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we have!

Grand Prize Winner (High School) by Megan Mechelke

It was raining in the Library. Ropes of sloe-black ink slithered from the rafters like roots in a desert.

Cashmir, the janitor, scratched his graying tuft of hair. “Looks like another pipe’s burst, Frank.”

Frank, the ferret, poked his wriggly pink nose out of Cashmir’s pocket. “I swear to Joe; don’t they pay someone to keep this place up?” 

“That’s us, Frank.” Cashmir flipped the peeling red switch and with a creak-pop-squelch and a low thunder roll, the emergency ventilation system coughed itself awake. A slimy river of ink skittered over his shoe, muttering to itself in a language long dead. “Looks like the basement’s flooding.”

“They don’t pay me enough for this,” Frank grumbled, burrowing down indignantly.

“They don’t pay you at all, Frank.”

The Thought Library was the nexus of every nascent pondering in all the universes, and Cashmir was Head Custodian. Naturally, he barely made minimum wage.

“For a Thought Library, there sure is a lot of ink,” Frank observed.

“Yep.” Because what were thoughts without ink to give them life? That, Cashmir reasoned, was why people put engravings on tombstones. Thoughts died, but the written word was life eternal.

Here lies Cashmir…

…and then what?

“…and it makes such a flimflamming mess…”

Well, thoughts often did.

“What do they think they’d do if we left, huh? What if we just up and disappeared? Who’d fix their pipes then? No one, that’s who.”

Cashmir came to an abruptly disturbing realization. For a man who practically ran the Thought Library, he’d contributed very few thoughts of his own.

What if they just disappeared?

What would he leave behind? Is this how he would be remembered?

Here lies Cashmir…

Cashmir abandoned his toolbox in an oily swirl of ink and began to write.


Megan is a word-enthusiast with a passion for writing, reading, and the theatre. Megan will be entering her senior year of high school this fall. Her other interests include corny TV, fresh strawberries, and too-loud music; she also enjoys borrowing far too many books from the library and falling asleep while reading. Megan is currently working on a total rehaul of an ancient draft, but she is easily and frequently distracted by the thousands of new ideas stirring in her mind.

prompt 986

Write a vignette about a healthcare worker who is fed up with sick people. It can be funny or dark or even heartwarming. In fact, you could try all three. Have fun!

Congratulations, You’re a Writer!

What does it take to call yourself a writer? Sometimes, using this word is a challenge and an act of courage. Today, writer Lakiesha Edwards shares how NaNoWriMo has helped her embrace her own identity as a life-long writer:

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be a writer. People will tell you that there are certain qualities you need to be a writer: things like knowing how to spell, being aware of grammar rules, liking English as a subject, and actually enjoying sitting down and putting words on a page. But the truth is, all you need to be a writer is to write. All of those details are tools to help you get there. 

I made this discovery after just jumping out here on the web once I wrote my first book. I’m pretty new to the whole writing world online, and I think it’s wonderful that places like NaNoWriMo exist. With NaNoWriMo, I found the support I’d been craving to help me push past the rough spots of writing: advice for overcoming writer’s block; encouragement to write every day; the drive to finish my work in progress rather than stall it with editing at the wrong times; connection to a community of other writers; how to have fun with the project I’m working on; and, most importantly, how to just write, write, write nonstop and keep my momentum up without getting burnt out. Even after the event months are over, NaNoWriMo is here for me, and for all of us writers.

If you feel that your dream is to be a writer, you’ve come to the right place. There’s a whole welcoming world of bold people to share your thoughts, feelings, and emotions with. I like to dream that just through telling my story, I’ll someday be able to pay my mortgage, car insurance, put children through college, etc. But even if it never ends up being my paid profession, I still absolutely love to write. 

“My friend, you’re a writer!”

My family members always know when I’m around because I write all over envelopes, phone books, wherever there’s enough space for me to write anything. I knew I wanted to be a writer since I actually learned how to write. I wrote so much in school they knew I would have no problems when it was time to take out our class journal. My mother still keeps notes in her purse that I wrote to her in 1998!

Do you ever have dreams about writing, the kind where your words are prancing in your head? And even when you wake up and do your morning routine, you’re still thinking about it while brushing your teeth, trying to master the story in your head? When you’re supposed to be working, do you find yourself conjuring up the plot of your story, hardly able to wait to get back to your writing board? While you’re on break, instead of taking your normal break, do you decide to finish the ending of your story? 

My friend, you’re a writer!


Lakiesha Edwards is 41 years old, but has loved writing since she was 12 years old. She writes poems and music, and has poems in an anthology through Eber & Wein. Lakiesha’s hobbies (besides writing/reading) include volleyball and giving lots of good relationship advice.

Top image licensed under Creative Commons from lecates on Flickr.

Meet Our New NaNo Intern, Helena!

We feel so lucky here at NaNo HQ to be able to work with some excellent interns! Today, meet our second super-awesome helper for the summer, Intern Helena Li:

Hello, World! Summer in the East Bay for me means it’s the summer of Oakland, farmers’ markets, the New Parkway theater, endless goings-on, coffee, sunlight, ocean, and hills. This year, summer in the East Bay also means it’s the summer of NaNoWriMo—a summer full of stories. It’s hard to imagine a better way to spend the next few months.

This will be my third summer in the East Bay, though it’ll be my first to venture out of the bubble of Berkeley University (and summer classes) into the real working world. I think about how it’ll go in hope and anticipation, though I’m also at times nervous because of my lack of experience—a catch 22 of sorts. But if I’ve learned one thing from writing, it’s that lack of a complete outline is no reason not to start writing (otherwise I’d never get any of my schoolwork done). If my lack of experience had stopped me from starting, I wouldn’t be typing away surrounded by the wonderful NaNoWriMo team right now.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that summer for students (who aren’t taking summer classes) means being jettisoned from the tight structure of school into the hazy, nostalgic space of freedom, away from deadlines and obligations. Wholly unprepared, we must relearn to function in the real world by relearning to be the author of our own stories; whether that means traveling and all the preparation that comes with it, or completing an internship and learning how to write a cover letter.

This summer I look forward to hearing your stories while learning from the NaNoWriMo team about how to carry on after school ends.


Helena studies Applied Math and Philosophy in Berkeley where she is often found hanging around the English department. Dedicated to words and observation, she spends her free time wandering the hills, browsing books and vintage stores, writing poetry, and fighting artificial busyness.

prompt 985

This is how it always begins.