2010/2011 Prompts

Here are the writing prompts -- with deadlines -- for the 2010/11 YWP Newspaper Series. Submissions are due on Fridays by midnight. Enter early and often. Get published! Get famous!

To submit, click on Create a Newspaper Entry 2010/11 in the left sidebar. For more info: click here.

For more info about the Newspaper Series, click here.

Publishing Partners: Work that is selected for publication appears in: The Burlington Free Press (Hometown section on Wednesdays), Times Argus (Tuesdays), Rutland Herald (Mondays), Brattleboro Reformer (Saturdays), The Valley News (Tuesdays), St. Albans Messenger (Wednesdays), Addison Independent, Essex Reporter and the Colchester Sun. PLEASE SUPPORT THESE FINE NEWSPAPERS. Buy a newspaper on the day the YWP page appears.

All the work printed in the newspaper, plus selections by our judges that could not fit onto the newspaper pages, will also published on this Web site along with pdfs of the newspaper pages.


Here are the prompts:

10. Heard in the halls … Take a snippet of conversation you hear in the hallway or at the mall or in some public place. Create a story that finishes the sentence or the conversation. Make it up. Alternate: Character. Create a character. Describe her/him and show us what he/she likes the most, hates the most; what is he/she good at? Bad at? Who likes him/her? Who doesn’t? What’s annoying/engaging about the character? Tell a story about this character’s secret…. Deadline: Dec. 3.

11. Grades. You are assessed, tested and graded throughout your school careers. Does it help? Does it get in your way? Do you wish more things were graded? Less? Why? Alternate: Cheating. How much cheating happens in your school? How do you feel about it? What have you done about it? Tell a story if you’d like, but no real names. Deadline: Dec. 10.

12. Ancestry. Where are you from? Who in your family immigrated to the U.S.? Where did they come from? How did they get here? Write a journal entry as if you were one of your ancestors; make it contextually accurate, i.e., suitable for the time, place and journey and make the details as accurate as possible – specifics that may have actually happened to you or your ancestor. Include a photo if you have one. Alternate: Shopping. If you could buy one thing, what would it be? Why? Deadline: Dec. 17.

13. Closet. You open your closet door: What do you see? Alternate: General. Send us your best work in any genre. Deadline: Jan. 14.

14. Alien discovery. An alien visits our planet. Write about what is most confusing to the alien about the way we live our lives. Alternate: Mistakes. Have you or someone you know ever made a terrible mistake? Write a story or poem about it. Can all mistakes be forgiven? No names please. Deadline: Jan. 21.

15. Clothing. What do you wear? Why do you wear what you wear? Write about clothing, style, expression. Alternate: Kyrielle. Write a poem in Kyrielle format; rhyme scheme is a/b/a/B (refrain repeated in all stanzas). Deadline: Jan. 28.

16. Time travel. Write a story about traveling to a different place or time. Your story can be real or made-up, but make it believable. Alternate: Obsession. What are you obsessed with? Deadline: Feb. 4.

17. Fire. Imagine that your house has caught fire and everyone has escaped but you. Presuming everyone has made it out alive, but you have time to grab ONE object; what would it be? Why? Alternate: Community issue/Current event. Choose a topic – an event, a situation, a trend – that pertains to something happening in your community, the state, the nation, the world. Write about it. Tell us how it affects you, or could affect you. Tell a story. Tell us what you’d like to do about it. Deadline: Feb. 11.

18. Photo #2. Write about this picture. Alternate: General. Send us your best work in any genre. Deadline: Feb. 25.

19. Discovery. Write about a moment when you discovered something new. You found something or you understood something or you came upon something or some place you had never seen before. Alternate: Sad. Write a poem or tell a story about your saddest moment. Deadline: Mar. 4.

20. Friends. Write about a moment in which someone you know and care about proved they were a friend. What did they do? How did they support you or what you believe? Alternate: Renewable energy. Do people in your family or community think it’s important to support the development of renewable energy in Vermont? What are they doing to promote it? If the people you know don’t support the use of renewable energy, tell us why. Deadline: Mar. 11.

21. Through the window…. Use these words in a story or poem. Alternate: Favorite book. What is your favorite book? Tell us why you like it. Or, pick a favorite author and write 250 words in that writer’s style. Deadline: Mar. 18.

22. Flight. Sometimes I feel like taking off and going to …. Alternate: Advertising. We are bombarded with ads in newspapers, on the radio, television, and on the internet. How does it affect you? How does it affect others? If you want, pick an advertisement that you find really annoying – or compelling – and write about it. Deadline: Mar. 25.

23. Elder story. Get a picture of an elder in your family or your community. Write a story about that person and incorporate an anecdote. This must be a short piece – 150-300 words. Upload the photo with your story. (NOTE: The photo MUST be large file (same size as actual photo or, if digital, at least 3” by 5”), high resolution (200 dpi or higher or taken at high or highest resolution of camera; or scanned at highest resolution) .jpg format) We will publish the photo with the story if it is selected. Alternate: General. Deadline: Apr. 1.

24. Vermont What is it really like to live here? If you were to tell a story about living in Vermont to someone from Africa or Australia, what story would you tell to show that person what it was like. No odes to maple syrup or mountains or fall leaves. Tell the person a story that would show him/her what your life is like. Alternate: Serendipity. Tell a story about a weird coincidence that happened in your life or imagine one happening to you. Deadline: Apr. 8.

25. Adventure. What was the best adventure you ever had? Write about it. Alternate: Photo prompt #3. Write about this photo. Photo prompt #3. Deadline: Apr. 22.

26. Tall tale. Make up the wildest excuse you can think of for not doing something. But as wild as it is, there has to be some thread that makes it believable – almost. Alternate: Misunderstood. Write about a time when you were completely and utterly misunderstood. Deadline: Apr. 29.

27. Decision. Think about a moment when you made a decision that had big consequences, or create a character who makes a decision. It could be a big decision or a small one, a quick one or one you spent a long time thinking about. Write about what would have happened if you had chosen to do something different. How would that have affected others? Alternate: My proudest moment … Tell us about a moment when you felt proud about something you did or accomplished. Deadline: May 6.

28. Rant. Write about something that bothers you. Show your emotions. Keep it civil and engaging. Convince the reader you are right. Alternate: Walls. Are you someone who puts up walls or takes them down? Tell a story about a time when you did this. Or, if you prefer, tell a story about a wall you got past. Deadline: May 13.

29. Rewards. What rewards are worth working toward? Alternate: General. Deadline: May 20.


The deadlines for the following prompts have expired.  Please do not submit any work any work in response to them to this year's Newspaper Series.

1. I am … Tell us who you are, where you are from, what defines you. Do it in a poem or an anecdote. Alternate: Freedom. What does it mean to you? Tell a story about a time when you felt free. Deadline: Sept. 24.

2. Photo prompt #1. Write a story or poem about this photo. Alternate: Attic. Imagine coming across a wooden box in the attic of an old house. What’s in it? Who did it belong to? How did it get there? Write a story or poem about it, or about something you have found in an attic you have explored. Deadline: Oct. 1.

3. Haunted. Have you ever been in a house where things go bump in the night? Do you believe that some buildings or places are haunted? Is there one in your town? Tell us a story about it. Make it believable. Alternate: Vampire. Write a story or poem that finishes this sentence: “I am a vampire ….” Deadline: Oct. 8.

4. Afghanistan. Write a story, poem or essay about what that word means to you. Alternate: General. Send us your best work in any genre. This prompt is repeated regularly throughout the year. Deadline: Oct. 15.

5. Mannerisms. Write about a funny or annoying mannerism you’ve observed in someone. Or, what are your own annoying mannerisms that you wish you could change? Alternate: If I ran the world, I would . . . Write a story or poem that finishes this sentence and tell us the first thing you’d do and why. Deadline: Oct. 22.

6. Red. Write about the color red. Alternate: Grateful. Go beyond the cliché: Write about one thing for which you are grateful that no one knows about or no one expects. Deadline: Oct. 29.

7. Hunting. Share your favorite hunting story or write an essay about how you feel about hunting. Alternate: Facebook. Imagine, for a moment, that Facebook was no more. It was done. You go to the site and it tells you it no longer exists. What would you do? How would you communicate with your friends? Deadline: Nov. 5.

8. Winter Tale. Tell a story about winter; it can focus on the holidays or the season – the weather, the outdoors, and the emotions. A dozen selections will be given dramatic presentations by Vermont Stage Company in early December. Alternate: General. Send us your best work in any genre. Deadline: Nov. 12.

9. Three. The number three. Use it in a story or poem. Alternate: Golden Rule. What does it mean to “do unto others?” Tell a story about how you’ve seen it applied locally or globally. What struggles have you had trying to live by it? Family stories, personal experiences. Deadline: Nov. 19.

2010-2011 Prompts.pdf800.85 KB
River's picture

Thanks for the prompts! I'm

Thanks for the prompts! I'm excited to see a couple of mine in there!

I have a problem: When I click "Create A Newspaper Entry", it takes me to the 09/10 prompts. I can't submit an entry for this year's prompts.

Lucid Ninja

You're welcome. Thanks for all your help in creating them!

Sorry about the problem you're encountering with creating entries for this year's prompts. We're working on it and will have it fixed asap.


River's picture

Thanks! I'm looking forward

Thanks! I'm looking forward to it!


Photo Prompts

For some reason I can't see photo prompts 2 or 3. Are they not there, or is it a problem with my computer?

ThingsHappen's picture


I can't seem to see them either...

Writer at heart♥,

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Photo prompts

I'm not sure why you're not able to see them. They are there, and are accessible for me via the "Click here" link in the Photo Prompts box at the top right corner.

fullyalive54's picture


the new 2010-11 prompts will be up soon?
cause they're not up yet, it still takes us to the 2009-10 prompts

thanks :D

Dream in Chocolate ♥

River's picture

Just wondering...

I'm just wondering, am I allowed to submit one of my already public blog entries for a newspaper prompt? I wrote it and published it before I knew what the prompts were, but now it seems like it fits. Okay, not okay?



gg's picture

YES, submit blogs...

....we are happy to look over pieces that were originally posted as blogs. In fact, we encourage it. The idea here is to post things for critique, make revisions, polish and submit. So go for it!


geoff gevalt

ywp farmhand & general instigator


Look up in the air is it a bird or a fly? nope its someone flying!

Did he use magic? if he didn't then what is it?

He's flying away so lets go get him before its to late

hurry hurry he's almost gone! catch up and see what it is!

But he's flying fast like superman

I can't catch up

he's gone he's gone to bad we couldn't see him

but if he ever does come back I promise we'll catch him. 



I am a vampire who is the

I am a vampire who is the most powerful of them all.  I have been living for centauries.  Of course living for eternity has its price.  I have seen many of people who were close to me get killed in a war or omit battle in a war.  I don’t hate living for the rest of my life.  There are some good advantages to it.  It is fascinating ho human’s creativity come this far.  I remember seeing nothing but candlelight but now they even have alights that come on when you clap twice.  One of the things I hate about being a vampire is the bad food I have to eat.   I usually chase a wild anima imp my back yard and eat it raw.  The humans have all sorts of tools to make the taste a little better.  It was nine fifty sharp when I woke up this morning.  I wore my hiking shoes and spoted a dear that look like it has good hunk of  meat.  I marched straight toward and right befor I was about to wrestle it to the ground another thing beat me to it.   My eyes turned red. Which was full of anger.  How can this thing come out of nowhere and steal my breakfast.


   Intresting begining. I would love to see where this goes. Personaly I feel that Twilight burned out the vampire faze. It's good to see that some one doesn't care that "it's over" and still enjoys a good demon story. Continue, continue, continue! :)

Blessed be

warriorkitten's picture

what is

what is kyreille form poetry?

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"Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens."
- Jimi Hendrix


when are the 2011-2012

when are the 2011-2012 prompts being posted? soon hopefully. :)