At a glance
What: Steamboat Student Writing Contest
Who: Steamboat Springs students in grades six through 12
Deadline: March 3
Contest Rules: Original, unpublished fiction; 500 to 2,000 words; typed, double-spaced, in 12-point font.
Contact: Lisa Ruff at 871-3606 or Tracy Stoddard at 871-3562
Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs High School Gifted and Talented teacher Lisa Ruff says it's a shame the creative writing talents of many students often are never subjected to an appreciative audience.
Ruff created the Steamboat Student Writing Contest last year to give students in grades six through 12 a venue to display their fiction-writing abilities. The deadline to submit entries for this year's contest is March 3.
"Many of our students aspire to be published authors," she said. "In academia, we provide areas for them to publish research, but we often don't give them opportunities to get creative works published."
The rules for submission stipulate that the literary work be an original, unpublished short story; 500 to 2,000 words long; and typed, double-spaced and in 12-point font. Entries should be submitted to Ruff or Steamboat Springs Middle School teacher Tracy Stoddard.
To encourage middle school writers - who may be nervous about competing against high schoolers - to compete, Ruff split the contest this year into middle school and high school divisions. The top three entries from each division will win gift certificates of $100, $50 and $30, respectively, courtesy of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.
The contest is sponsored by Erica Fogue, owner of Epilogue Book Co. She said the depth of talent among local students inspired her to partner with the Steamboat Springs School District.
"We wanted to provide a venue to show their creativity and talent," said Fogue, who will host an author reading March 13 at her bookstore for each of the six contest winners.
"I hope it builds an audience for literacy in Steamboat," she said. "And it's something special to see young authors reading their work and hanging out with each other as writers in an environment that is not school."
If the adage holds true that writers fill their paper with the breathings of their heart, as the English poet William Wordsworth once wrote, then Ruff said the student-author reading truly will be a powerful evening.
"It's powerful when authors come together and share their craft," she said. "To hear an author read their piece to an audience can be chilling. It's a great opportunity for them to explore what affecting an audience feels like."