Publishing Opportunities

Ink Splat Challenge: Clone Yoda Complete


Today’s writing challenge response comes from Arush Sharma, age 11.


Arush took the challenge from our April 2018 Ink Splat. The challenge said:

Open a book with your eyes closed and point to a word. That’s your first word. Do it again. That’s your second word. One more time and that’s your third word. Now, set a timer for ten minutes. Write as much as you can without stopping or looking. Mine what you like out of the rubble when you’re done.

Arush’s words were “clone,” “Yoda,” and “complete.” Here’s what he came up with:




Clone Yoda Complete
by Arush Sharma

“Clone Yoda complete,” said my assistant robot who helped me out in my laboratory when I was doing experiments. The experiment this time was cloning, which I had mastered, but the clone was the all-time famous Yoda from Star Wars! The government had ordered me to do the secret experiment and told me to give the plans when it was successful. Now, it was time to see the result.


“All right, Rob,” I told my robot, “Lift the glass and show me the result of this tedious cloning.” I tried to open the glass and reminded myself to wait for the robot to open it.


The glass slowly made its way up and the steam inside flowed out, showing bits and bits of the result. After all the fog lifted, I saw if my experiment had come successful. What I saw made me jump in excitement. Inside of the master bedroom sized glass stood three three-foot tall green figures standing in an array, just like in a marching band. They wore cream-colored robes and had elfish ears. They each had about three fingers, and were donning lightsabers twice their size. It was successful!


“Hooray! The future of the United States stands unharmed!” I exclaimed. Rob sent out fireworks in the lab made it a cheerful atmosphere, although there stood another problem.


I walked over to the huge stand where the Yodas stood still, looking at the atmosphere and fidgeting with the fireworks. I asked, “Hey, who are you?”


All of them looked at me and said in unison, “The Yodas we are from the far away galaxy. Who are you?”


I tried to think of an answer. “Uh, I am the guy who created you using an animatronic Yoda toy. I, uh, created a machine that would clone the animatronic, and then I created a DNA creator that would give you life, which is why you are talking to me and not killing me.”


The Yodas just stared at me, as if they were infants trying to learn trigonometry. I simplified, ”I used a guy and cloned it and gave you all life.” I walked up to one of my cabinets with whatnot in it and pulled out an animatronic Yoda, the exact same one that was used in the movies. “This is you,” I said.


The Yodas finally opened their mouths and murmured something, though you could clearly understand that they were impressed by how this could have happened. And the process was very complicated. But now, I admired my result. It was time to tame them.


“So, guys, what are you going to do?” I asked them.


They looked at each other and said something in some other type of language. After what seemed to be a heated argument, one finally piped up and said, “Come up with a decision we have. Like to live with you, we would.”


“Aw, you guys… I didn’t expect this from you. I was planning to send you away even though you didn’t want to.” As I said this, their grins turned into upside-down smiles. “But if you insist, you could live with me.” They cheered.


I was about to institute some rules when they did what you would call a party. They flashed their lightsabers bright green and waved them around the laboratory.


Then, I made an important discovery: They were very immature, unlike the actual Yoda, who was really 900 years old, so he couldn’t exactly be immature. But, these Yodas acted like kids. They spoke in the same accent and the same style but they were still acting like kids.



If you want to take a writing challenge, head on over to our Ink Splat collection and pick your favorite! Then submit by your work by emailing We can’t wait to hear from you!



Announcing the 2018 Inklings Book Contest Winners and Finalists

This year, there were 242 young writers who submitted their works to the Inklings Book Contest. Wow! Many thanks for sharing your work with us. We consider it an honor to get to read it.  Below is the list of winners and finalists. If that’s you, we’ll be in touch soon!



  • Padma Madhyasta, Grade 3
  • Shinjini Samanta, Grade 3
  • Liana Zhu, Grade 3
  • Jeein Choi, Grade 4
  • Sanjay Ravishankar, Grade 5
  • Ksenia Baatz, Grade 6
  • Amann Mahajan, Grade 6
  • Anna Birman, Grade 7
  • Adam Collins, Grade 7
  • Alexa Friesel, Grade 7
  • Nuala Kilroy, Grade 7
  • Anna Yang, Grade 7
  • Mito Funatsu, Grade 8
  • Eva Salvatierra, Grade 8
  • Ember Summer, Grade 8
  • Max Wang, Grade 8
  • Allison Gable, Grade 9
  • Claire McNerney, Grade 9



  • Maryam Ali, Grade 3
  • Akshita Anand, Grade 3
  • Larrabee Mitchell, Grade 3
  • Aarna Patil, Grade 3
  • Dalia Shapiro, Grade 3
  • Micha Shapiro, Grade 3
  • Sara Al-Khasib, Grade 4
  • Carly Bankston, Grade 4
  • Adelaide Chan, Grade 4
  • Eliza Coleman, Grade 4
  • Ruthie Gawley, Grade 4
  • Mahika Katariya, Grade 4
  • Ching Yi Mak, Grade 4
  • Nathan Petchdenlarp, Grade 4
  • Lily Shi, Grade 4
  • Aanya Signh, Grade 4
  • Sahana Srinivasan, Grade 4
  • Lila Tierney, Grade 4
  • Malia Wright, Grade 4
  • Elaina Xu, Grade 4
  • Alexa Zhang, Grade 4
  • Angeline Alex, Grade 5
  • Claire Blecourt, Grade 5
  • Alyssa Bick, Grade 5
  • Christine Chang, Grade 5
  • Harshita Dasot, Grade 5
  • Lochlan Kominar, Grade 5
  • Sagnik Nag Chowdhury, Grade 5
  • Carolina Ruiz, Grade 5
  • Arush Sharma, Grade 5
  • Natalie Strohman, Grade 5
  • Amelia Tan, Grade 5
  • Kayla van Waes, Grade 5
  • Katherine Yang, Grade 5
  • Zoe Burris, Grade 6
  • Olga Sofia Dominguez Salcedo, Grade 6
  • Maizie Ferguson, Grade 6
  • Sofia Gamez, Grade 6
  • Rachel George, Grade 6
  • Amy Gillson, Grade 6
  • Collin Goel, Grade 6
  • Emma Healy, Grade 6
  • Ava Hendrix, Grade 6
  • Katherine LaWer, Grade 6
  • Dylan Lefever, Grade 6
  • Claire Lignore, Grade 6
  • Vivian Lin, Grade 6
  • Jenessa Mazerlev, Grade 6
  • Reid Rademacher, Grade 6
  • Suchitha Reddy, Grade 6
  • Stella Scott, Grade 6
  • Himangi Sharma, Grade 6
  • Natalie Sharp, Grade 6
  • Julie Shi, Grade 6
  • Yetta Tan, Grade 6
  • Madeline Tsang, Grade 6
  • Julia Vajgel, Grade 6
  • Claire Wong, Grade 6
  • Natalie Wong, Grade 6
  • Arhana Aatresh, Grade 7
  • Natasha Anguelouch & Mia Rodriguez, Grade 7
  • Mia Bartl, Grade 7
  • Mackenzie Cacciaguidi, Grade 7
  • Lisa Fung, Grade 7
  • Mikaela Kwan, Grade 7
  • Shannon Ma, Grade 7
  • Clara Markel, Grade 7
  • Amanvir Parhar, Grade 7
  • Calvin Ray, Grade 7
  • Fiona Reenan, Grade 7
  • Claire Reiger, Grade 7
  • Lexie Richert, Grade 7
  • Sonoroa Shaw, Grade 7
  • Ava Taylor, Grade 7
  • Laasya Babbellapati, Grade 8
  • Jacob Blaum, Grade 8
  • Erin Chang, Grade 8
  • Subhajit Das, Grade 8
  • Maya DeBolle, Grade 8
  • Inés García, Grade 8
  • Maggie Lee, Grade 8
  • Eva Lim, Grade 8
  • Jacquelyn Lo Bianco, Grade 8
  • Polina Runova, Grade 8
  • Roberto Sanchez, Grade 8
  • Gianna Sandoval, Grade 8
  • Maivi Trinh, Grade 8
  • Jade Wang, Grade 8
  • Lily Wang, Grade 8
  • Kaashvi Agnihotri, Grade 9
  • Sophia Bertoldo, Grade 9
  • Sonia Kulasooriya, Grade 9

Submit to the Inklings Book Contest…We’ll Write You Back

If you’ve spent any time with us, you’ve probably gathered that it’s Inklings Book Contest season here at Society of Young Inklings. We’ve been talking about our writing contest since January and now we’re in the final days of the submission period. As we wind down, we wanted to share the heart behind the contest. It’s not about competition—it’s about encouraging young writers.


A smiling mentor standing next to a youth writing contest winner holding a copy of the 2017 Inklings Book.

Mentor Loraine McCormick with Inkling Louisa Pflaum at our 2017 Inklings Book Party


I started Society of Young Inklings because in second grade I had the chance to meet an author and talk with her about my writing. She looked me in the eye and said, “You’re an author.” Her belief in me made me believe in myself. When I started publishing books for young readers, one half of my lifelong dream came true. Society of Young Inklings came out of the other half of my dream—finding ways to connect creative youth with pros. The Inklings Book Contest is one of the most impactful ways we make that connection.


Writers deal with silence all the time. It’s heartbreaking to work on a piece for months (usually years!), work up the courage to submit it to an agent or editor, and receive only silence in reply. Our mentor team understands this reality. We know how silence feels because at one point or another in our careers, we’ve all experienced it. The reality of the publishing market is that agents and editors don’t have time to reply to every submission … in fact, they can only reply to a very small percentage of what comes across their desks. We wanted our writing contest to be different. We’re delighted that the Inklings Book Contest offers us the opportunity to band together and do what no one of us could do on our own. While one of us couldn’t possibly write back to 300 applicants, a team of pro volunteers absolutely can—which means that none of our writing contest applicants will have to hear that discouraging silence. Whether they win, are a finalist, or simply receive a note of encouragement in response to their application, every writer has the opportunity to learn and grow when they take part in the Inklings Book Contest.


If you’re a youth writer and you haven’t already, start working on your submission and send it in by March 15. We can’t wait to hear from you. If you’re an educator, a parent, or someone who knows a creative youth who has a voice that needs to be heard, please share the Inklings Book Contest. And if you’re a creative pro and you want to be part of this amazing collaborative feedback extravaganza, let us know. We’d love to have you as part of our community.


We dream that each year, more youth and more pros will come together for this meaningful collaboration. We’re celebrating youth voices and creative growth. Each application that flies into our inbox is another point of connection—one youth to one pro—and we all grow and gain perspective from the process.


In creativity,

Interview with an Inkling: Inklings Book Contest Winner, Toby Jacob

As you know, the Inklings Book Contest is here! So, today, we’re interviewing Toby Jacob, one of our 2017 Inklings Book Contest winners.  As you’ll read, at first, she didn’t even want to submit to the contest! We’re sure glad she did. Maybe you’re on the fence, too, wondering if you should send in that story or poem you’ve been working on. We hope you’ll be encouraged by Toby and submit today.


Toby Jacob, Age 14


How did you hear about the Inklings Book Contest?
There was a flyer in my creative writing classroom.


What made you decide to submit?
At first, I didn’t want to submit because I didn’t think I could win. But a good friend of mine convinced me.


Did you submit a story or a poem?
A poem, titled “Storm.”


What is it about?
It’s about personal experiences that I had with a kid at my school for most of elementary school.


How did you feel when you found out you were one of the winners?
I was so crazy happy and also really nervous about other people reading my work. But mostly I was really happy.


Tell us about the mentorship and revision part of the contest. What was your revision focus? Was it hard to revise?
I spent a lot of time trying to revise my poem so that it was shorter and more coherent. It was really hard for me to say goodbye to some parts because I really liked them, but in the end, all the edits that my mentor Naomi and I made were for the best. I had a ton of fun working with her and I learned a lot.


What writing have you been working on since?
Since I won the Inklings Book Contest, I continued mentorship with Naomi and right now we are working on a short story. It’s been so helpful to have someone to help guide me through this whole process. I’m really appreciating her help in creating and improving my writing.


Thanks again to Toby for talking with us!  If you’re ready to submit to the Inklings Book Contest or you want to learn more, check out

Featuring Salim’s Battle by Avery Yue

Congratulations are in order for our newest young author, Avery Yue. Avery (age 11) recently revised and published her book, Salim’s Battle through the Your Name In Ink Program.


Avery with her brand new book!


In the Your Name in Ink Program, professional writers mentor youth through a 6-9 month revision process which results in a printed or published book, just like Avery’s. Click here to learn more about the program.


Salim’s Battle by Avery Yue

Calli has been trapped on the island of Baraka for what was two years in her life – but was actually two decades. When she learns about the evil snake named Salim who is trying to create a fictional army to take over the worlds, Calli has to take action. She teams up with Nick, the mischievous kid who fell to her island after touching a blackboard, and Archie, the wizard who is really bad at spells, but actually pretty good at comic relief. They battle lava monsters, meet funny people, and add an opinionated wolf, a small dragon, and a sad frog to their team. Calli’s story will take readers into a place of confusing worlds, including a land of lava and a backwards planet, wizards, talking pets, and a chipmunk who turns people evil.


 All proceeds from book sales will benefit our scholarship program for future Your Name In Ink young authors. 


Click below to buy your own copy of Salim’s Battle.


Calling all Youth Writers: The Inklings Book Contest

Learn more about the Inklings Book Contest and RSVP here!


Enormous thanks to previous Inklings Book author, Carmen Bechtel, for designing and animating this inspiring video! Thanks also, to her sister, Annabelle, for the fabulous voice-over.

At SYI, we’re thrilled to feature the creativity of youth, and we are so grateful for this true Society of artists, of all ages, who support and encourage one another.

Want to join us?

Fantastic! Here are three ways you can take part:

  1. Sign up for the Inklings Book Contest.
  2. Work with a mentor in person or via Skype.
  3. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

P.S. You can also sign up for our monthly writing challenge and author feature, the InkSplat, below.

Inklings Book Contest 2016 Results!

This year we received 200 applications from young writers across 7 states from over 35 different cities. Thanks to our star judges we have 23 winners and 58 finalists.


David Shannon: Internationally acclaimed picture book author and winner of many awards including Book Sense Best Picture Book, Golden Kite Award, and New York Times Best Illustrated Book List. 

“Loved these stories – so imaginative and well-written. Usually it’s one or the other, even with grown-ups! It was really a pleasure to read them.”  –David Shannon

Jennifer Fosberry: New York Times best-seller and author of the Isabella books.

“Wow what a difficult yet enjoyable task to judge these stories. I found it interesting to see that different authors showed different strengths and also different places to improve and grow in their craft. They were all so good.  I am impressed at the level of story-telling and writing that I have seen with the Young Inklings competition.” –Jennifer Fosberry


  • Anabel Orozco “Kai’s First Kiss/El Primer Beso De Kai” (Grade 1)
  • Dillon Mareth – “Mike’s Beaver Tail” (Grade 3)
  • Natalie Sharp – “The Skating Goat” (Grade 4)
  • Sahana Srinivasan – “The Mystery of the Disappearing Pets” (Grade 2)
  • Samantha Vargas “Dusty” (Grade 2)
  • Sydney Goodwin – “Unspoken” (Grade 4)
  • Zoe Friedman  “My One-Inch Tall Life” (Grade 2)



Laura Ruby: Author of Bone Gap and winner of many awards, including the Printz Award.

“I was so impressed with the range of stories submitted, everything from historical fantasy, to folk tale, to humor.  But more than that, I was impressed with the sheer talent of these young writers.”   -Laura Ruby 

Mandy Davis: Author of forthcoming middle-grade novel, Superstar.

“What a treat it was to read the writing of these talented young writers! While the pieces were all very different from one another, they all had one important thing in common: the unique voice of each writer shined through on the page.” –Mandy Davis


  • Aidan Wen – “Earth and Sky” (Grade 8)
  • Benjamin Hayes – “Whalewatching Past Westerndon” (Grade 5)
  • Erin Gray – “Saving Billy” (Grade 6)
  • Judge Cantrell – “The Ghost of the Underworld” (Grade 6)
  • Manasi Garg  “The Girl with the Light-Up Shoes” (Grade 7)
  • Maya Lopez  “A Journey to a New Land” (Grade 7)
  • Samantha James  “Hocus Pocus” (Grade 8)
  • Xiomara Guevara – “Silver Lining” (Grade 6)



Tim McCanna: Author of 6 forthcoming picture books including Bitty Bot which comes out in October 2016. 

“What an incredible range of poetic work from these Young Inklings! Sometimes quiet, sometimes fierce, sometimes super funny. But always fresh, inventive, and engaging. Exceptional work from an exceptional group of young writers.”  —Tim McCanna


  • Colin Chu  “Ten” (Grade 2)
  • Kendra Mills “Leaves” (Grade 1)
  • Jasper Micheletti – “Beautiful Long Curly Hair” (Grade 2)
  • Juliana Baltz –“Whale Eating Contest” (Grade 3)



Marilyn Hilton: Author of Full Cicada Moon and Found Things, winner of the 2015-16 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature.

“Poetry expresses the breadth and depth of the human experience using an economy of words. As a reader and writer of poetry, it was a joy to see how these young poets chose to express their personal and unique perspectives of the world. All the writers deserve huge congratulations for their work, and I felt truly privileged to be able to read them.”  – Marilyn Hilton


  • Cianna Brown  “Races” (Grade 7) 
  • Karishma Miranda  “Broken Beyond Repair” (Grade 6)
  • Rafael Stankeiewicz  “Long Lost Love” (Grade 8)
  • Sophia Zalewski  “The Storm Inside Her” (Grade 8)

Congratulations, winners! Be sure to check your email. You’ll be meeting your mentor and start working on your revisions soon! To see the list of finalists click here.

These were tough decisions. We were highly impressed with all of the talented writers who submitted their stories and poems, and can’t wait to tell each of you exactly what we loved about your work. Soon, all applicants will receive a special letter from our team about your submission. Be sure to watch your email inbox–we’ll be sending those letters throughout the month of April.

A HUGE thank you to our Inklings Book Sponsors! 

TrueLeaf_Color_5in_300dpi SBR Logo

Only A Few Days Left To Submit Your Story!

IBC page 1We are getting so excited for the Inklings Book Contest 2016! 

March 15th is just around the corner, and we can’t wait to see which wonderful stories and poems will make up this year’s anthology. This year, we’ve brought on some superstars judges to help choose the winners! Submit your story or poem now to have it read by one of these illustrious authors… 


Tim McCanna (1st-2nd grade fiction judge) author of 6 forthcoming picture books including Bitty Bot which comes out in October 2016. 

Jennifer Fosberry (3rd-4th grade fiction judge) New York Times best-seller and author of the Isabella books.

David Shannon (5th-6th grade fiction judge) internationally acclaimed picture book author and winner of many awards including Booksense Best Picture Book, Golden Kite Award, and New York Times Best Illustrated Book List. 

Laura Ruby (7th-8th grade fiction judge) author of Bone Gap and winner of many awards, including the Printz Award.

Mandy Davis (1st-4th grade poetry judge) author of forthcoming middle-grade novel, Superstar.

Marilyn Hilton (4th-8th poetry judge) author of Full Cicada Moon and Found Things, winner of the 2015-16 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. 


Stories and poems must be submitted to the Inklings Book Contest by March 15! Find out more and submit your story or poem here.


Your Stories Matter!


Submit your story or poem to the Inklings Book Contest 2016



The Inklings Book is a professionally published volume that features short stories and poems by twenty young writers whose submissions are chosen from the annual Inklings Book Contest.

Any 1st – 8th grader can submit a story or poem for the contest. We’re looking for exceptional submissions with a strong point of view and for writers who are committed to the revision process. All contestants will receive a personalized editorial letter from our team of authors to help you take your writing to the next level.

IBC Page PIc


Contest winners will receive two sessions with a mentor who will guide you through a focused revision process, and a copy of the Inklings Book 2016 with your story published in it!


Stories and poems must be submitted by March 15! Find out more and submit your story or poem here.


Getting Into Character: December 2015

The Ink Splat


The book and author spotlighted in this Ink Splat is Clementine For Christmas by Daphne Benedis-Grab. We even have an author interview! Submit a response to the challenge and you may have a chance to be published online! What are you waiting for? 

The Challenge: Getting To Know Your CharacterGetting into character 

Characters are the heart of a good story and the best, most memorable characters come alive as we read about them. Characters come to us in all kinds of ways but when you have one the next step is getting to know them, making them fully formed and three dimensional with their own backstory, preferences, and quirks. So once you have a character in mind, try interviewing them using the following questions and any others that feel relevant.

Where do you live and who do you live with?

How old are you and when is your birthday? What did you do for your birthday party when you turned 5?

What makes you happiest?

What is your deepest fear?

What is a secret you share only with your closest friends or maybe not with anyone at all?

What is your favorite kind of ice cream?

If you were an animal, what kind would you be and why?

What are six words that you would use to describe yourself?

What did you eat for breakfast this morning?

Not everything you discover about your character can or should be in your story – but knowing all this information makes the character come alive as you write.


Submit your response HERE!

Spotlight On...

Clementine For Christmas By,  Daphne Benedis-Grab 


Clementine comps hires-R1V2It’s the holiday season in Frost Ridge! Josie usually keeps to herself at school, but the holidays are her favorite time of year, and she comes out of her shell when she and her dog, Clementine, volunteer with the kids at the local hospital. Josie loves dressing up in silly costumes, singing carols, and helping to prepare for the big Christmas Festival. That is, until she learns that this year’s Festival has been canceled. Meanwhile, Oscar’s parents’ constant fighting makes his home feel like a battle-field. To make matters worse, he gets into trouble at school and has to spend the holiday season volunteering at the hospital – even though he hates Christmas. Gabby’s life seems perfect…but Gabby also has a secret that could ruin everything, and when she winds up in the hospital, she’s sure the truth will be discovered. As if things couldn’t get worse, Josie’s beloved Clementine disappears, Oscar’s parents separate, and Gabby’s secret is uncovered. Together, can Josie, Oscar, and Gabby find a way to save the holiday, or will this be the worst Christmas ever?



An Interview with author Daphne Benedis-Grab:

Daphne1. You’ve written more than one book set at Christmas time, what is it about this season that inspires you? 

I adore pretty much everything about the Christmas season: the carols, the tree trimming, the lights, the cookies. Then there are the deeper things that touch on the meaning and mystery of Christmas, that spirit of giving and friendship and love. I enjoy writing books that celebrate these things and also show the struggle to get past our own fears to a place of connecting with others.

2. In Clementine for Christmas, the story is told from multiple perspectives. How did you move the plot along clearly while still developing each character’s side story?

It took a lot of edits. But I started with an outline. I find that with the different characters, who each have their own arc and are also tied in the central story, I have to think the whole thing through. Each chapter has to turn the wheel forward, moving towards the final resolution, and for me that is the easiest to achieve if I map it all out before digging into the actual writing.

3. Clementine for Christmas has quite a surprising twist towards the end! What advice do you have in terms of setting up and revealing a twist?

I love a good twist and I’m pleased to hear it surprised you! I think the secret is having it carefully plotted, with seeds planted early on, so that a reader can go back, examine each event that happened, see the seeds and realize it all fits together and leads up to that twist. The trick is seeding it enough that it does make sense, yet not giving away too much because then readers will see it coming and it’s not a twist at all. I find for this to work, it’s important to have a critique partner read through an early draft and tell me how well it’s working and how I can make it even better.

4. There are many lessons to be learned from Clementine for Christmas: the value of friendship, learning to be oneself, the power of an apology and forgiveness – the list goes on! Which is your favorite and why?

All of these values are extremely important to me but there are moments in my life where one is especially central to my thinking, and right now that would be the power of apology, of owning our mistakes instead of denying them or hiding from them. It’s one of those things that is simple and easy to say, yet so hard to actually do.

5. Is there anything else you would like us to know about Clementine for Christmas?

That I hope readers connect to the characters and have moments that make them laugh, make them tear up a bit and leave them with something to think about. To me it’s essential that a book have an emotional impact and I very much hope that that’s what people experience when they read Clementine.


Thank you Daphne Benedis-Grab!

Clementine for Christmas is available on Amazon

Look for more information about Daphne Benedis-Grab and his books here!