NOTE: All the information below pertains to the 2018 Conference. If you or your group is thinking about attending the 2019 Conference, feel free to explore last year’s contests to get an idea of what we do. The 2019 contests will be announced here and on our twitter @tbyouthwriters in August.


All write ahead contests are due by midnight of October 28th. One entry per conference participant. Register for conference before submitting.

Downloadable Version of Contest Information

Email with questions.

Elementary Contests

  1. Poetry– Little things matter too! Write a tiny poem (5 lines or less) about tiny things.
    • Judge: Lexi Velte, W.I.N.D. alum, FGCU
    • Tip: It can be anything small in the world, like a penny, a leaf, a bug, or anything else that’s miniature. Make it feel big using your words.
    • Submit Here
  2. Short Story(Fiction)– Begin your story “As we entered the graveyard, we…” Entries must be between 350 and 1000 words
    • Judges: Kayla Halls and Doreen Coreen, W.I.N.D. alums
    • Tip: Be creative! Use lots of imagery and have fun!
    • Submit Here

Middle School Contests

  1. Poetry– Write a poem that evokes ALL the senses. 20 lines or less.
    • Judge: Bob Swartz, TBAWP T.C., I.C.E. Writer Facilitator
    • Tip: You don’t have to use those words in your poem. Just make me see, hear, touch, smell, taste and/or feel something.
    • Submit Here
  2. Short Story (Fiction)– Begin your story with the sentence: “The city gates opened to something quite unusual.” Entries must be between 500 and 2000 words.
    • Judge: Roan Vaughan, W.I.N.D. alum
    • Tip: Don’t limit yourself on your ideas and think outside the box! Don’t be afraid to have fun.
    • Submit Here
  3. Non-fiction– Title your piece “The Lasting Effects of ______” and fill in the blank with an event from history. In your piece, discuss how that event continues to affect our day-to-day lives. Entries must be 800 words or less.
    • Judge: Tedra Tatelbaum, TBAWP T.C., I.C.E. Writers Site Directer
    • Tip: Stay creative. Just because it’s about history doesn’t mean it should be boring. I want to be entertained as much as I want your insights.
    • Submit Here

High School Contests

  1. Memoir Poetry– Write about the first time you experienced something. Your poem need not begin “the first time” but it must be clear from the beginning what experience you are writing about.
    • Judge: Mari Aviles, TBAWP T.C., I.C.E. Site Director
    • Tip: For inspiration, read “Oranges” by Gary Soto.
    • Submit Here
  2. Short Story (Fiction)– Your character wakes up to find themselves in a “strange” place. Entries must be between 1,500 and 6,000 words.
    • Judge: Franki Robinson, TBAWP T.C.
    • Tip: Focus on using description to create a vivid setting.
    • Submit Here
  3. Non-fiction– Write a journalistic essay on a big idea of your choosing. Blend research with narrative techniques as you explore a topic from a fresh angle. Must acknowledge your sources. Entries must be 1000 words or less.
    • Judge: Jessica Phelps, TBAWP T.C.
    • Tip: Try to blend your research with narrative techniques. Write from a fresh angle on your topic and make me think. Book reference:  The New Kings of Nonfiction, read intro by Ira Glass.
    • Submit Here
  4. Fiction Screenplay– Leo Tolstoy said, “The best stories don’t come from ‘Good versus Bad’ but ‘Good versus Good.” Write a story of ‘Good versus Good.’ Entries must be in proper screenplay format and between 5 and 15 pages.
    • Judge: John Eric Vona, TBAWP T.C., Director of Youth Programs
    • Tip: I don’t care about camera angles. I need to care about your characters. Please tell a complete story.
    • Submit Here