‘The power of a pencil’ | VailDaily.com

‘The power of a pencil’

Caramie Schnell
A local student gets to work on their story at a writing workshop at the Bookworm of Edwards.
Jackie Cooper | Special to the Daily |

If you go ...

What: Children’s Writing Workshop with Lindsay Eland.

Where: Bookworm of Edwards.

When: 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Cost: $5, includes snacks.

More information: Visit http://www.bookwormofedwards.com. This event is the kick off for the Bookworm’s annual children’s writing contest.

Annual Children’s Writing Contest guidelines

Submissions will be judged on voice, creativity and strength of writing. Read the following instructions carefully before completing the online application. Submissions that do not follow these instructions will not be considered. The submission period closes on April 3 at 6 p.m. Any stories received after this deadline will not be judged.

Entrants must be enrolled at an Eagle County School (public, private or home school) and be in grades 3-12.

Entries must be previously unpublished.

Your submission must be a fiction or non-fiction short story, NOT an essay. Short stories have plot, characters, setting and dialogue.

Electronic submissions in Microsoft Word will be accepted. Hard copies will not be accepted.

Submissions must be double-spaced and typed in 12-point Times New Roman font.

Number the pages.

Do not include illustrations as they will not be judged.

Do not include a cover page.

Multiple or team submissions will not be considered.

Page requirements:

Grade 3: 3 to 5 pages

Grades 4-5: 5 to 10 pages

Grades 6-8: 5 to 15 pages

Grades 9-12: 10 to 15 pages

Submit your submission at http://www.bookwormofedwards.com.

Hearing the furious scratch of pencil lead dancing across notebook paper is one of writer Lindsay Eland’s favorite parts of leading children’s writing workshops. Seeing their hands shoot into the air after she asks if they’d like to share what they wrote is equally fulfilling, said Eland, a Summit County-based author who returns to The Bookworm of Edwards on Tuesday evening to lead a writing workshop aimed at children in grades three through 12. The workshop kicks off The Bookworm’s third annual Children’s Writing Contest.

“I believe in the power of story, the power of reading and the power of a pencil in the hand of a child — be they 7 or 17,” Eland said. “They are the next generation of authors and if there is any chance that I can encourage, inspire or help them on that journey, I’ll do it.”

Eland has been involved with the contest since its inception three years ago. She is the author of two young adult novels, “Scones and Sensibility” and “A Summer of Sundays.” Her next book, “Six Times Revenge,” will be released in 2016. She lives in Breckenridge with her husband and four children.

“Using writing exercises and examples from books, the kids know and love, the workshop aims to give them the tools to begin brainstorming, planning, writing and revising a story all their own,” Eland said.


The first year The Bookworm hosted the contest, they weren’t sure what kind of response they’d get. Around 25 local students submitted stories for that first contest. Last year that number jumped to 100.

“We’re expecting it to double again,” said Franny Gustafson, the children’s director at The Bookworm of Edwards. “But who knows, we could even triple it.”

Some of the themes in last year’s stories include travel, historical fiction, dragons, school and super powers, Gustafson said.

“We have found that we have some incredibly talented writers in this valley and it has become incredibly popular,” Gustafson said. “The kids get a chance to get published in a book. But even if they don’t get published, they get a chance to complete something and be creative.”

Each year The Bookworm prints the winning entries in a book called “Ungoverned Children.” Last year, 11 entries made the book.

The title is based off a famous quote by Mark Twain:

“The irritating thing about ungoverned children is that they often make as orderly and valuable men and women as do the other kind.”

The primary goal of both the competition and publication is to encourage kids to keep reading and writing. Writing is a way for kids to explore their emotions and everyday experiences and to express themselves.

“It’s a wonderful creative outlet,” Gustafson said.


The Vail Public Library is partnering with The Bookworm of Edwards this year to provide an upvalley kick-off location and weekly writer’s support for students who are participating in contest. Weekly writing sessions will take place at Vail Public Library beginning Wednesday from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. Members of The Bookworm staff will lead a writing workshop in the library’s community room. For the remainder of March the weekly writing sessions will offer support and a dedicated place for students to write. Children can spend time working on their story and get revision tips. Snacks will be provided. These writing afternoons are free and open to children in grades three through 12.

Entries for the contest are due by April 3 at 5 p.m. An awards ceremony and book-signing party will take place May 22. The winning stories will be printed in the Vail Daily as well as in this year’s edition of “Ungoverned Children.”

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