The Voice Issue 29: May/June 2017 - Page 64


Lauren Riley, Essex Jct., VT

editor's note

In the summer, when the days are long and our to-do list at Young Writers Project is even longer, we spend a lot of time prepping for the coming school year. There is one task on that list – especially when we get some YWPers and interns involved – that I particularly like: the brainstorming and creation of new writing challenges.

We start with, oh, several hundred ideas – toss out half of them, add a few more, work them over, polish them, toss out a few more, add, delete, add, delete … and on it goes. I hate to admit it, but despite all that thinking and refining, paring down and tossing out, we can still end up with a few flops every year. (Hmmm… this year, that would probably be Cellular: Keep a log of how many times you look at your phone in a day (roughly 6 am-10 pm). Is it more or less than 46 times, the U.S. average for all age groups? Write about how your cell phone affects your life…. Most of you said, Pass! Too much like homework. Sometimes, though, a challenge really strikes a chord. This year, that would have been: Home: Where do you feel most at home, most confident, most strong, most you? OR: Lamp. “A lamp flickered on in the house …” Write a story or poem that includes this phrase. We had a huge response to these.

The successful writing challenges, invariably, come from you – the YWPers who write to the challenges all year. You know what works. You know what you would like to write about, what piques your interest. You are our best resource! And so, in anticipation of our summer brainstorming sessions, please lend us your brains! Submit your best, freshest, most ORIGINAL, funny, inventive, thought-provoking writing challenges – click here or on the challenge opposite to get started!

Here’s one we really liked, sent to us recently by YouKnowWho: “I think a great challenge would be if you could design your own planet, solar system, or galaxy then write about it. You could describe the places on your planet, the size, the moons and the life forms (if there are any). I think that would be an awesome challenge to do and play around with. I'm already thinking of planets!" Thanks, YouKnowWho! It's on the list! Oh, and did I mention there will be chocolate prizes? Yup! Chocolate is great for brainstorming!

- Susan Reid, Editor, The Voice