Hamilton East Public Library logo

My Account

Hours & Location

Get A Library Card

July 27, 2021

Teen Writing Challenge

By Christy Franzman

Aspiring teen writers, or teens who want the chance to win gift cards (no judgement here!), can submit their original short story for HEPL’s Teen Writing Challenge! Get creative with the sentence starter provided below and write your own original short story. Who knows? Maybe you will be the next James Patterson, April Henry, or Karen McManus?


Students in grades 6-12


Entries are due Friday, October 1, 2021 by 6:00pm


An original short story beginning with this sentence starter: “Had I known what I would witness that night, I would never have…”




1st, 2nd, 3rd receive gift cards of $50, $30, $25, respectively (winners can choose gift cards from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target, or Starbucks)


  • Entries must begin with sentence starter provided for contest and go along with current theme
  • Submissions must be original works of fiction and no plagiarized
  • Entries must be 3,000 words or less
  • Only one entry per student
  • Stories must be submitted by 6:00pm on Friday, October 1, 2021
  • Entries must be typed and submitted via email to Christy Franzman, franzmanc@hamiltoneastpl.org
  • Content should be appropriate for general teen audience
  • Entries must include the author’s name, grade, school, email, phone number, and address


  • Judges for the contest will be a mixed panel of HEPL staff (adults) and Teen Advisory Board (TAB) members who do not have entries in the contest
  • Submissions will be judged anonymously with only the author’s grade level visible to judges (grade level/age of author will be considered when judging)
  • Judges will be looking at the following criteria:
    • 3,000 words or less
    • Story is reflective of Mystery/Suspense theme
    • Appropriateness for general teen audience
    • Creativity and originality of the story
    • Organization and flow of the story
    • Overall entertainment and readability

Winners will be announced Friday, October 15, 2021. Winning authors will be asked to return a signed permission form allowing HEPL to post their awesome short stories on our website.

Just remember, you can’t win if you don’t participate, so what do you have to lose?! We can’t wait to read your short stories! Good luck!

If you have any questions about the contest, please feel free to email me: franzmanc@hamiltoneastpl.org.