WNYC Radio host Brian Lehrer
Write. Rewrite. Stop.
These three words, dispensed tersely from award-winning radio-journalist and WNYC Radio host Brian Lehrer, comprise his best advice for teen writers and especially for all of you who plan to enter the 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. To elaborate a bit—just a bit—here are his tips:
- Write every day. If you want to make it at something, do it all the time.
- Write long, write medium, write short….but keep writing.
- Write along with your life. Write about the mundane things that happen in your day and you’ll wind up finding meaning in them that you didn’t know was there until the writing made you start to think.
- Write about things outside your life: Notice the things that capture your interest. Make a note of what they are. Write about why THAT made you stop and think. Then check ‘em out more fully (see next tip!).
On October 3rd, we partied like it was 2013—The Best Teen Writing of 2013, to be specific! Our book launch party for the newest edition of our annual anthology of Award-winning writing featured guest host, WNYC Radio host Brian Lehrer, who interviewed Loretta López, 2010 Portfolio Gold Medalist and the book’s Editor. Here’s a brief excerpt:
In your introduction you write about the role of technology today and our quick access to information. Can you speak more about that?
A lot of our experiences right now are very passive, about just watching. What I love about this book is that every writer in this book took the time to sit down, face themselves and pay attention; be frustrated in the process of writing and I like that.
Did you find frustration in the writing process? You told me you are writing a novel. What is your approach to writing?
I realized a while ago that if you just wait for inspiration to hit you you’re going to wait a long time. I write every day for at least two hours– I force myself and set my alarm. Then I go out and see people, return and dive back into a fantastical world I’m creating. Read More
2013 Scholastic Awards winner Sam Duffy (center) at the National Constitution Center, with his dad Christopher (left) and the Alliance’s Senior Manager of National Programs, Scott Larner
In 1870, a distinguished gentleman from Mississippi was duly elected to the US Senate. But when he presented his credentials in Washington, he was less than warmly welcomed. Why? Less than 5 years after the end of the Civil War, Hiram Rhodes Revels was the 1st African-American to serve in this post!
On September 17, 2013, Revels made history again by becoming a high-tech “leaf” on National Constitution Center’s popular exhibit, The American National Tree. The 15-year-old young man who wrote an essay to honor him, Sam Duffy (2013 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Gold Key winner), chose him precisely because of the obstacles Revels faced:
“It is fitting that Senator Revels is recognized here at the U.S. Constitution Center, because when Hiram Revels was being proposed as the first African American senator of the United States, his opponents challenged his capacity by making constitutional arguments about his citizenship because of his race. I was born in New York City in 1998, and I have boundless freedoms as a native-born American citizen, but when my great uncle John Kim was a graduate student in Missouri in the 1950s, he was not allowed to go into restaurants, hotels and bathrooms because he was not white.” Read More
ASPCP member Khalil Abdellah. Photo Credit Zac Henning
Guest post by Sam Reed
Imagine a place where young men are allowed to connect with their passion for rap music, video games, comics, movies, poetry, sci-fi, and what have you. Imagine a space where boys from diverse communities work alongside emerging rappers, game designers, filmmakers, and established poets and artists. For over 60 boys who participated in the Boys Write Now workshops in Philadelphia this summer, these connected learning spaces became a reality.
In August, I helped organize a series of writing workshops for boys in grades 7-12 in collaboration with the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and their regional affiliate partner the Philadelphia Writing Project. Check out the pre-workshop video below, which was filmed and edited by Tessa Kerpan, a senior film major attending Creative and Performance Arts High School in Philadelphia. Read More
Deanna Miller. The line began to blur between her fantasy world and her real world. But sometimes, just sometimes, there was an air of symmetry between the two. Grade 12, Age 17. 2012 Gold Key, Digital Art.
In a recent blog post, Start.Write.Now: Fantastic Journeys, we featured the 2013 Gold Medal-winning Science Fiction/Fantasy story, The Lions’ Den. After reading and relishing it, we couldn’t help asking ourselves once again: how did she do it? Seeking a satisfactory answer, we went right to the source: 18-year-old author and Texas native Mary Elizabeth Dubois. Check out our Q & A with her below. And flex your fantastic imaginations and fingers, because the 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards launches on Monday, September 16!
What inspired you to choose this genre to write Lions’ Den?
I am usually inspired to write when I am in the middle of a crowd. The idea for my submitted piece, “The Lions’ Den,” came to me in the middle of a crowded pizza shop in New York City. I don’t need time, space, or comfort to write. All I need is an idea and my iPhone notepad app. Coffee and Earl Grey tea don’t hurt, either.
As far as the science fiction genre goes, I knew this theme needed to come across as futuristic in order to appear relevant and be understood. I’ve always been obsessed with the idea of the marching man. The man who continuously strives to better himself and create a peaceful world in which to live, and yet, comes to the end of his life realizing he has created nothing. Read More
Daniel in the Lion’s Den by Briton Riviere (1840-1920), painted in 1892.
The genre of fantasy allows a writer to travel through time, revisit ancient tales and reset them in the future, give voice to the outlandish and stretch our abilities to imagine and believe in the story we are being told. In “The Lions’ Den,” Mary Elizabeth Dubois (2013 Gold Medalist) soars back to biblical times for inspiration, and uses the apocryphal episode in which Daniel is placed in grave danger because he worships God. See if her re-imagining rings true for you—or at the very least, weaves its own magical web!
The Lions’ Den
Walking was such a treacherous thing.
She had been walking and walking and walking since she was a small child. Barely breathing, they taught her to walk. Before she learned how to eat or say her name, she was taught to walk.
Treacherous, treacherous walking. Read More