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Three Writing Strategies That Can Help Young Writers Stand Out

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If you're looking to submit writing for one of the writing contests for middle school students, you want to make sure that your ideas are fresh and that your writing is something the judges are impressed with. Young writers have an advantage of having some great creative ideas, but there are some things you can do to help make your writing even more impressive in a contest. Here are some strategies to keep in mind when you are crafting a submission. 

1. Avoid Cliches.

Sometimes it can be hard to think of a great ending for your story, but don't sell yourself short by relying on a predictable conclusion. For example, one way that people often end their stories is by throwing a "twist" at the reader and saying the whole plot was just a dream. This ending isn't as satisfying because the reader of your story was invested in your ideas, and they want to see those ideas finish on their own. If you can't think of a way to end your story without resorting to this type of cliche ending, try thinking of the ending you really want, and then work backwards to see how the beginning might have to be.

2. Master your dialogue.

Talking characters can help out your writing a lot. Dialogue is a great tool for indirect characterization; it helps to show your readers what your characters are like without you, as the author, needing to tell them. For example, instead of saying that Maria is a terrible friend, why not show Maria having a conversation with one of her friends where she tells a lie or conveys an insult? This helps your readers to see Maria in action. Dialogue in a story also makes a plot seem more lifelike because people talk in real life all the time. A story with silent characters often won't be as powerful.

3. Set the stage with poetic language.

Young writers are just learning about the world of abstract comparisons, so including these in your stories shows both daring and maturity in your talent. Poetic language devices, like metaphors, similes, and personification can really help your readers to visualize the story. Instead of saying, "It was so hot on Monday that I was sweating all day," you can say something like, "It was so hot on Monday I felt like an kernel of corn popping in the sun." The comparisons bring the story to life and will help you stand out from other writers your age.