There’s still time to enter the 11th annual Inklings Book Contest! If you’re in 3rd-9th grade, and you’re up for a challenge, we invite you to join us for a writing sprint!

What’s a Writing Sprint?

It’s a fast-paced writing challenge, designed to move you from idea to draft in just one week. One thing our pro mentors know is that momentum is a writer’s best friend. Sometimes you think you need months, but what you really need is focus, commitment, and the motivation that comes with an achievable challenge.

What’s the Goal?

Between Monday, March 4 and Friday, March 8, you will write a short story or a poem to submit to the Inklings Book Contest. Then, you’ll have time between March 8 and March 15 to revise, polish, and submit your work. Just remember: don’t delay past midnight on March 15, 2019, because when the clock strikes 12:00 (PST), the contest closes for another year.

How Does the Sprint Work?

We’ve created a series of videos to help you plan and draft your entry. You’ll want to sign up for our free course to make those videos and the interactive writing tools that go along with them easy to access. You’ll also want to set aside a realistic amount of time for writing each day. We recommend 30-45 minutes. If you have to miss a day, you can always catch up on the weekend! As long as you’re ready to submit by March 15, 2019, there’s really no wrong way to tackle the sprint.

EDUCATORS, we have a version of our free course for you to use with your students, too. You can access that course here.

Prep Course for Youth Writers

It’s not too late! Sprint your way to a piece you’re proud to submit with this game-based video course.

Prep Course for Educators

Help your students sprint their way to a finished story or poem with this game-based video course.

If You’re Writing a Story:

Here’s your schedule.

Monday: Create your main character and draft an opening scene. Three videos to help:
  • How to Choose a Just-Right Idea
  • How to Start a Story
  • How to Create a Character
Tuesday: Map the world of your story, and write the next two scenes. Two videos to help:
  • How to Create a Fictional World
  • How to Create a Cast
Wednesday: Sketch the rest of your plot and draft as many scenes as you can. A video to help:
  • How to Create a Plot
Thursday: Draft the climax and resolution with strong characters in mind. Consider re-watching this video while thinking about your antagonist:
  • How to Create a Cast
Friday: Finish drafting with strong scene-building in mind. A video to help:
  • Show Don’t Tell


If You’re Writing a Poem:

Here’s your schedule.

Monday: Brainstorm at least three poem ideas. A video to help:
  • How to Choose a Just-Right Idea
Tuesday: Draft three short poems or one longer one. Use this video to help you get started:
  • How to Start a Poem
Wednesday:Try a narrative poem that features a strong character, and has a beginning, middle, and end. A video to help:
  • How to Create a Character
Thursday: Choose one poem and begin to polish it. Use this video to help you strengthen your poem’s imagery:
  • Show Don’t Tell
Friday: Experiment with adding line breaks and read your poem aloud to check its rhythm. Use this video to help you revise:
  • How to Revise Your Story or Poem

What’s Next?

Between March 8-15, we recommend that you make your draft the best it can be. Here’s one last video that is sure to help you finish strong:

  • How to Finish Your Story or Poem

Don’t forget to submit before the clock strikes midnight on March 15, 2019. You can submit your story or poem here.

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