Junior Authors wanted

Fourth annual summer contest open to kids 10 to 17

Writer and children's storyteller Laura Thomas has once again teamed up with the Corporation of Delta to offer a province-wide summer writing contest for budding authors.

The contest is free to enter and open to any B.C. resident between the ages of 10 and 17. There is also a special incentive category for children six to nine years old.

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Last year, 50 young scribes from Prince George, Invermere, Vernon, the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island submitted short stories. Thomas, who has been donating her time and talents to this free-to-enter contest since she came up with the idea four years ago, hopes even more aspiring writers will send in stories this year.

When asked what inspired her to create the contest, Thomas said, "It was the new talent shows on TV. I don't think we are ever going to see a show called Canada's Next Great Writing Star, so starting a contest that encourages kids to try and get published seemed like the next best thing. I know from experience that it's always more fun to write when you have a specific goal and know that someone will be reading your work."

Contestants are asked to send in three copies of an original short story of up to 1,000 words on any subject.

"I like to give young writers the freedom to write about what they care about," said Thomas.

Thanks to donations by Delta businesses, the contest is free to enter and the top six in each category will receive prizes. As in previous years, the winning stories will be published in the Delta Optimist. Children who enter the incentive category will receive copies of Thomas' stories on CD.

Thomas said the judges -- herself, former MacMillan editor Joanne Ashdown and children's author Darlene Foster -- are looking for short stories that focus on a life-like character that has a specific problem that is either resolved or not during the story. She also said the winning stories tend to be short on plot and long on vivid, sensory details.

The contest is open now and closes Aug. 31. Entries can be mailed to JA Short Story Contest, c/o South Delta Recreation Centre, 1720-56 St., Delta, B.C., V4L 2B1. Winners will be announced in late September.

Complete details are online at agentstory.net.

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