Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Write Across Ontario

From November 1 to February 1, 2012 you can participate in a creative writing contest for high school students in Ontario! Three young adult authors have provided story-starters. Using one of these story-starters, you can continue the tale however you see fit. One story from each grade (9-12) will be chosen as the winner, with first prize participants getting their work published online in the Open Book Magazine, as well as $500!

For full contest details, visit, and feel free to check out the story-starters below!

#1 Written by: Miriam Toews
My parents split up three months ago, in the fall, but they said the three of us would still go to this Mexican resort for Christmas because we already had the tickets and all that. By the time Christmas rolled around my mom said no way, she’d changed her mind and my dad said okay, it’ll just be me and him going to Mexico. Then, on the day we were supposed to leave, my dad wasn’t at his place and I couldn’t reach him on his phone and I said to myself thanks guys, you’ve really pulled out all the stops this year, and I went anyway. I mean I went into my dad’s spare room and took his “rainy day” money and my ticket and all the hotel information and I called a cab to take me to the airport.

#2 Written by: Ian Rankin
He was out there again. Except maybe ‘he’ was a ‘she’ – it was hard to tell in the dark. Three nights in row, I’d looked down on to the street from my bedroom window and watched the shape standing there, almost hidden behind the tree that refused to die. I got the feeling whoever they were, they were only a year or two older than me… The first night I’d just stared for a while and then got bored. The second, I’d opened the window to shout something, but there’d been nothing there to shout at. Tonight, I was going to scramble downstairs and throw open the door. Really I was. Really.

#3 Written by Johanna Skibsrud
I don’t know which one of us saw it first. Suddenly—just—there it was. Glinting a little in the sunlight, half-hidden in the tall grass. A key. The old-fashioned kind. Parts of it rusted so badly it looked as though, if we picked it up, it might crumble away in our hands. How long had it sat out there, like that, I wondered. Rusting in the overgrown grasses at the edge of Mrs. Ellis’s front-yard. Ten years? A hundred? How many times had we just walked on by? More to the point, though—what was different about this time? Why had we both, all of a sudden, paused—our eyes drawn to the same, almost invisible fleck of light, just barely glinting on the lawn? At first, when Ben knelt to pick it up, I wanted to put out my hand to stop him. But then I didn’t. And he picked it up. And held it. It looked surprisingly heavy in his hands. He turned it in slow circles, so we could get a look at it from all sides, and when he did so all but the most rusted bits—even in the diminishing sunlight—seemed to glow. I am not sure how, but in that moment I knew: nothing, after that, was going to be the same.

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