Friday, April 15, 2011

Spilling Ink Writing Contest for Young Authors

It's The 2nd Annual SPILLING INK WRITING CONTEST for Grades 4-8

It's spring and we're jumping right into a writing extravaganza  using  the fabulous book SPILLING INK co-authored by the dynamic writing team, Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter. SPILLING INK is a humorous and inspiring book of advice, questions, and writing prompts for young writers. I'm holding a copy in my hand right now that's been donated by Anne and will be sent to the 1st place WINNER of the Contest (along with other prizes). YOUNG AUTHORS can purchase a copy of their own through Scholastic at a very affordable price!
You'll definitely want to check out the web-site for the book. Here's the link:   Just click and go! By the way, even if you're not a teen or tween, you'll find a lot of good advice in Spilling Ink that will inspire you. Ever have trouble with sub-plots? Need I say more?

First, you'll read about the authors who are participating, and then you'll learn all the prizes and how to enter this fabulous contest!
Just in case you don't already know the FANTASTIC authors who have donated books for the contest, here's a little bit about them:

Anne Mazer is the author of over forty books for young readers, including the award-winning The Salamander Room, the Sister Magic series, and the bestselling The Amazing Days of Abby Hayes series. Her favorite thing about being a writer is being able to write in the middle of the night in her pajamas. I've known Anne for twenty years, and she is amazing and lots of fun. She sparkles!

Learn more about Anne here:

Ellen Potter is the author of the award-winning middle-grade Olivia Kidney series, as well as the middle-grade novels Pish Posh and Slob. Ellen's favorite thing about being a writer is that she gets to spend the day with Mongolian yak herders, psychics, and bank-robbing wood sprites without ever leaving her house.

Learn more about Ellen here:

K.L. Going is the award winning author of numerous books for children and teens. Her first novel, Fat Kid Rules the World was named a Michael Printz Honor Book by the American Library Association, and was included on YALSA’s Best Books for Young Adults list and their list of Best Books for the Past Decade.  K.L. began her career working at one of the oldest literary agencies in New York City. She lives in Glen Spey, NY where she both writes and runs a business critiquing manuscripts. She’s also a mom to the world’s cutest child.
To visit KL on-line go to

Wendy Townsend, a graduate of the Vermont College MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults Program, teaches workshops for children’s writing at Empire State College and at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College. She is a lifelong lover of animals and nature and has shared her home with many large lizards since she was eight years old. In 1993 she co-authored and illustrated Iguanas: A Guide to Their Biology and Captive Care. Her first novel, Lizard Love was published by Front Street Books in 2008. Her latest title, The Sundown Rule, was published by namelos this spring!

Clara Gillow Clark--That's me! I write, teach, blog, and make cloth dolls. I studied writing at New School for Social Research in Greenwich Village and SUNY Binghamton. I'm the recipient of  International Reading Young Adult Choice Award and Bank Street College Best Books 2004. Read my bio here:  It's a little out of date, but some things don't change! In case you didn't guess, I LOVE kids!

 Now, onto the SPILLING INK CONTEST!!!

To celebrate young authors, I'm sponsoring a Writing Contest for grades 4-8. If you know of a young writer or if you are a teacher, librarian or interested parent, please pass this information along.  Thank you!
The contest will run from April 15th until May 1st. The winner will be announced on May 7th. Anne Mazer and Wendy Townsend are acting as judges this year.All cash prizes are donated by me!

First prize: $25 Cash prize and autographed books by Anne Mazer, Ellen Potter, and Wendy Townsend, plus publication on my blog.
2nd prize: $15  Cash Prize, and autographed books by Anne Mazer, K.L.Going, and Clara Gillow Clark, plus publication on my blog.
3rd prize:  $10 Cash  Cash Prize, an autographed book by Clara Gillow Clark (that's me), and publication on my blog.
All entries must be sent directly to me  If you attend a private/public school,
the entry must include the name of your school and your Librarian or English Teacher or Reading Specialist or Writing Teacher. (They may enter for you if your school computers don't allow access) You may enter more than once, but your entry must use one of the writing prompts below in about 200-300 words. Longer entries will be automatically disqualified.

Writing Prompts from SPILLING INK the Book:
Writing Prompt #1: I DARE YOU Rewrite a scene from your life. Think of something that happened today. Something that wasn't perfect--maybe something that was even downright mortifying--and rewrite it as you would have wanted it to happen. (Tip from me: Remember that scenes have a beginning, middle, and end!)

Writing Prompt #2:  I DARE YOU Think of two people you admire. Now think of the thing you admire most about each of them. Combine those two qualities into one person and write about that person in the following situation: She or he is walking down the street and a strange man hands your character a small sealed carton and says, "Don't let anything happen to this!" Then the man sprints away. What does your character do next?
Writing Prompt #3 from Wendy Townsend and ME: Is there a pet you wish you could have? Is it a wild animal? Maybe a goldfish, cat, dog, white mouse, a lizard or a snake? Perhaps, your pet is imaginary? You really really want this pet. Write about all the ways you might go about getting this pet. Now write a scene where you put that plan into action.

ALL READERS: Leave a comment here to win an autographed copy of any one of my books--your choice!
YOUNG AUTHORS: Enter the writing contest for a chance to win a $$CASH PRIZE, autographed books by the featured authors above, and a GUEST SPOT on my blog by submitting your writing here:  Good luck writers! I look forward to hearing from you soon. Remember the deadline is May 1st!


  1. It sounds like a great contest. I'm sure there will a great number of entries. Good luck to all the young writers out there!

  2. I will put this on my blog on Monday. :)

    Great contest.


  3. Sioux--Thanks for your support!

    Margo--You're the BEST! Thanks for spreading the word.

  4. Great idea. I will send the link to my students. Well, they were my students. Now, they are elementary teachers. I'm sure you'll get some entries from them.


  5. Gayle, Thanks so much! I really appreciate your support!

  6. Is it time for the 2nd annual contest already?! Thanks, Clara, for always being a great encourager of children's writing and reading. Good luck to all the entrants!

  7. If I can figure out how to do it I'll pass the info on to a group I belong to and they will in turn tell some others. Thanks a lot. This is a great contest and if I had time I'd do it in a heartbeat!

  8. Hi Toby and Betty--Thanks for you good wishes and support!

    Betty--just e-mail my link to anyone you know with kids in grades 4-8 that like to write!

  9. What a fun contest! Is it open only to kids in the U.S.? If not, I'll mention it to my son's teacher. :) Have a great weekend Clara!

  10. It sounds like fun! I can't wait to read the winning entries.

  11. Your contest sounds intriguing! Best of luck with it :)



  12. Alison, Lorrie, and Rachael, Thanks so much for joining the celebration! Thanks for the good wishes!

  13. What a cool contest and wonderful way to encourage young writers.
    I will mention it on my blog next week.

  14. Hi Donna, Thanks so much for the shout out on your blog! You're pretty cool, too!

  15. I think what you are doing is great! I wish I had started writing as a young child.The Spilling Ink Handbook sounds like a winner, too. I bet it has lots of great info in it.

  16. Hi Elizabeth--Thanks for joining the celebration!

    Janet, Thanks for your supportive words! You would love the Spilling Ink book--it's chock full of great stuff for us, too!

  17. This is so wonderful. I have two kids that fit the age requirements so I'll definitely have one or both enter. Thanks again!

  18. Hi Lisa,

    Welcome to my blog, and thanks so much for joining the celebration!I definitely look forward to hearing from your young writers!

  19. I passed the information along to friends with kids the appropriate age. Hope you get lots of entries.
    Kathy Wiechman

  20. Hi Kathy,

    Thanks for your good wishes and for spreading the word about the Spilling Ink Contest!

  21. Argh! I just realized my son's school is on vacation for the next two weeks, so I won't be able to tell them about this. :(

  22. Alison, Your son could still submit something! Yes?

  23. Oh, I LOVE this contest! I'm not in the schools anymore, but I know some wonderful homeschoolers who love to write and will pass this along on Finders and Keepers (my blog re: children's writing stuff).

  24. I got several responses to my fb post about your contest!

  25. Hi Cathy, Thanks for spreading the word!

    Hi C.Lee, Thanks for posting on fb!

    My blogger buddies are awesome!!!!

  26. Hi, Clara! I stopped over from Cathy's blog and am excited to share this contest with my 6th grader. She loves to write and this book would be perfect for her! Thanks for a great contest, we're looking forward to participating!

  27. Welcome, Debra Mayhew! I'm thrilled that your daughter will be making a submission for the contest! Thanks for stopping by!

  28. Clara---Check out my April 21 post. I have an award for you...

  29. This sounds like a fun contest! I'll tell my 5th grader about it.

  30. Natisha, It would be awesome to have your 5th grader enter! Thank you so much for joining the writing celebration!

  31. Thanks for posting about this. I put it on FB. Lots of my friends have kids in this age range.

  32. Welcome to my blog, Anne E. Johnson, and thank you so much for spreading the word about the contest on FB!

  33. Great contest, Clara. NExt year maybe you'll consider using "Teaching the Story: Fiction Writing in Grades 4-8" as a springboard to your contest. I just FB'd this-- hope you get lots of kids!

  34. Thanks for spreading the word, Carol! I'll e-mail you about the contest!

  35. Oh! I love this idea. It's probably too late for me to spread the word this year, but if you're holding a contest again next year and are saving a list of people to notify, please include me. Good luck to everyone!

  36. Clara, I am forwarding your blog to my granddaughter Laurel. She is 11, and writes wonderful poetry. She just might want to enter the writing contest!!

  37. Fun!!! I told my daughter about this, she said she didn't want to. I think she's scared to step out of her comfort zone of sharing with others. In time, she'll be entering like craze! :D

    YA Paranormal Romance Darkspell coming soon!


  38. Sounds like a great contest...Great job you have done..