High School Writing Contest 2018


Tri-Valley Writers Presents

7th Annual High School Writing Contest

“My Story, My Vision”


All students attending high schools in Danville, Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton, and San Ramon.

Important Dates:

February 18: Submissions accepted

April 8: Deadline for submissions

Early May: Winners announced

May 20: Awards ceremony, 2:00-4:00 p.m. at Livermore Library



  • Poetry: Writing in verse. May include prose poetry, free verse, song lyrics, spoken word (i.e., rap). Up to 30 lines (title not included).
  • Personal Essay (non-fiction):  A self-revelatory work dealing with an individual experience. 1200 word max. (title not included).
  • Short Story (fiction): Writing that is not factual yet conveys an author’s point of view. All genres accepted.  1200 word max. (title not included).


1) Students may submit up to two pieces.

2) Submit online at www.trivalleywriters.org

3) A separate cover letter must accompany every entry, and include: Name, address, phone, email, high school, grade level, age, title of entry, and category selection.

4) No illustrations, graphics, or photographs accepted.

5) Student’s name must not appear on the piece itself. Name should appear ONLY on the cover letter.

6) Entry Instructions: Title: At the top left, Page Number: At the top right, Font: Times New Roman or Arial at 12 point, Spacing: Double spaced, except for poetry which can be single spaced.



Helpful Tips:

The judges will focus on several areas when they evaluate the writing selections. You may want to keep these areas in mind as you edit and polish your piece before submission. Happy writing!


Quality of writing

  • Is it compelling and interesting?
  • Does it evoke emotion in the reader?
  • Is a sense of tension and/or conflict present?


  • Is the pacing – speed and rhythm of the story – appropriate for the type of story?
  • Are the characters well-drawn and multi-dimensional?
  • Are multiple senses used?


  • Are spelling, punctuation and grammar correct?
  • Are the tense and Point of View (POV) consistent?
  • Is there a good use of dialogue?



Quality of writing

  • Is there “meaning” to the writing, and is that conveyed well?
  • Is it compelling and interesting?
  • Does it evoke emotion in the reader?


  • Can the reader feel and/or visualize the images presented?
  • Are the rhyme and/or rhythm natural and sensible, or artificial and forced?
  • Does the poem lead naturally to its conclusion?


  • Are spelling, punctuation and grammar correct?
  • Are the line endings/line breaks used effectively?
  • Does the word choice enable the poem to reach its intent?

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