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College Essay -- Tips

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(Photo credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by semacdonald, Sheldon, VT)

One of the most frightening things to write is the College Essay. How in the world can I write a compelling essay that will get me into college? A couple of things to keep in mind:
  • This is a part of your overall application. It's not the be-all and end-all;...
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Elements of Story -- Protagonist

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Creative Commons Photo by journey man

A story (whether it be a short story, novel, play or narrative poem has these elements:
  • A setting -- the place in which the action takes place. Sometimes the setting itself becomes a character or is important in shaping the characters.
  • A protagnist -- the main character, the...
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Digital Story -- The Photo/Audio story

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(A challenge for this resource: Elder Story)

This is an example of a simple audio photo story. The text is purposely not included so that you can listen to the story while looking closely at the photograph. YWP Founder Geoffrey Gevalt did this story in a relatively short span of time. First, he wrote a short essay about his uncle, Frank Glazer. He read it aloud and then did some editing. Then he decided upon the most important part, read it aloud...
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Photo Tips

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This set of slidshow tips are from YWP's old friend, Jean Luc Dushime, a photographer now living in California but originally from Rwanda. We appreciate his work which can be found here: http://jeanlucdushime.com/ or on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dushimejl/

 
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The Personal Essay

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Photo by Deanna Santo, Danville High School
 
What is a personal essay? YWP defines it as a piece that focuses on an insight, realization or belief about life that is significant to the writer. We believe that all good personal essays should include narrative, that is a story about a significant event -- this is what draws the reader in -- and can include what is...
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FAQ

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Do you have questions? We have answers!

THE COMMUNITY

Who runs this place?

You do. You just may not realize it right away.

This site is managed by Susan Reid, the executive director; Geoff Gevalt (gg), YWP founder; Anna Forsythe, publications coordinator; Rajnii...
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2018-19 Community Leaders

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Young Writers Project's Celebration of Writing, October 2018, Burlington, VT

Community Leaders are the heart and soul of Young Writers Project!
YWP's Community Leaders are those amazing writers and artists who put so much energy and love into this community that they deserve special recognition. This is a rolling list -- and we...
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Grammar Resources

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People are more likely to hold onto grammar rules if they learned them in a fun, easy to comprehend way. Here are some fun and creative grammar resources.

Websites

The Yuniversity 
This website is a treasure trove. It has grammar rules covering punctuation, syntax, spelling, and more. They even have essay writing resources. Plus, they post SAT words everyday with easy to...
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Editing Process

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Editing and revising a piece can be one of the hardest parts of writing. Yet, it is one of the most important stages of writing. Here is a suggested process to help you organize yourself when editing. 

1. Read your piece to yourself to find big problems. 
       When editing, let yourself be the first set of eyes. ONLY look at big picture items. Things such as topic/theme consistency, relevancy, clarity, voice, tone, imagery, order, message, and length are often...
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Basic Grammar: Punctuation

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Most people avoid learning about grammar like it's a 2:00pm test on a Friday. Yet, grammar is not only important for making your work polished and professional, but it's important in terms of comprehension as well. Here are five basic punctuation rules you should know. 
  1. The apostrophe. The common mistake people make with the apostrophe is that they use it to show that something is plural. The apostrophe should actual be used to show possession in a...
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Commenting -- Overview

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Commenting -- or exchanging feedback -- is an important part of the Young Writers Project community. This is where you can learn the strengths and flaws of your work or where you can get, simply, some affirmation. The exchange of feedback builds community and, frankly...

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Basic Recording Tips

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When recording someone, or yourself, there are a few tips that will make your experience go that much smoother. (NOTE: Check the ACADEMY to see if there are any audio workshops underway. You can jump in anytime.)

Renting. If you have a smartphone, you can easily record with that. And there are plenty of free apps for that. But if you want to have a slightly higher quality recording, many people opt to use an actual audio recorder. You can...
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Presenting

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Presenting can be scary. Whether you are giving a speech, doing stand-up, or reading a creative writing piece you wrote, it can be nerve-wracking. Almost everyone gets stage fright, even actors. But, knowing some helpful tips can get you through your presentation, and help you deliver it with a greater sense of confidence. 

Try these tips:
...
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Grammar Strategies

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The English language is complex, so it can be hard to keep all those rules in your head. You need a strategy.

Try these grammar strategies:
 
  • Catch phrases. People use odd phrases to help them memorize things. The phrase My Very Elderly Mother Just Sat on Uncle Ned can help you memorize the order of the planets. You can do the same to help you memorize grammar. For instance, F.A.N.B.O.Y.S stands for each word that can...
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Photojournalism

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Photography you use in newsmedia articles — plays by different rules than photography you do for artistic purposes. You have to be respectful, you need to respect the basic integrity of the photos (no dramatic altering of your photos via a photo editing software) and you need to be careful not to show a bias. 

Gathering Information. In any situation where you are gathering information from someone -- even if for a project that will only be seen in a private venue...
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Basic Grammar: Words

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An often very confusing part of writing is when to use what word and where to use it. More than once you've probably had someone tell you, "You said that wrong!" Here are a few common usage/grammar rules that often get mixed up by writers.

1. You and I vs. You and me. People have a hard time remembering which phrase you are supposed to say and when. To learn this rule, you just need to remember your subject pronouns and object pronouns. 

THE RULE...
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Details: Concrete vs. Abstract

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We want our writing to feel genuine, and to connect with our readers to the point where they can visualize our words in their heads. A great way to learn to connect to readers through writing is by understanding the difference between concrete and abstract details. A concrete detail/image, most of the time, will engage your reader, and make them have that visual and deep reaction to your writing. 

Concrete vs Abstract. A concrete detail/image is one that is grounded...
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Free Write -- Rationale

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Writing is like panning for gold or hunting for diamonds. If you get good at it, you gain a skill needed to succeed, to gain confidence, to fully participate in any learning activity and to be active in community life -- If you can express yourself, you are more apt to participate. Simple as that.

But learning to write well takes practice.

Your YWP digital classroom platform is a great space for students to practice -- to experiment, to play, to focus. Just about...
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Questions for Editing

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Editing your piece of writing is not about making sure the grammar or spelling is correct (save that for when you proofead the draft that for you is final); it's about making sure that the content is at its full potential.

In your first big edit of a piece of work, you want to make sure that you know -- and are conveying -- the main point, as in why you're writing this piece. It may take a few revisions to fully unearth the main concept. (Remember: The secret to...
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Free Write -- Tips

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A note from Geoffrey Gevalt, YWP Founder and award-winning journalist:

Sometimes, when you sit down to write, you can't see the trees for the forest. When, in fact, you're looking for the light. That one sparkling idea.

And it doesn't come. 

And that's why Young Writers Project has long believed that challenges, or prompts, offer you, the writer, a safety net. Can't think of something to write about? No burning issue? No startling...
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Setting -- Examples

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Photo of Toni Morrison, The Guardian, 2009

Sometimes, the best resource is to see how others do it. Notice how the following passages (from a couple of GG's favorite books) help evoke mood and tone and provide important details for the story -- all through setting. They also show how easily the setting floats into character development and/or  storytelling:
 

Beloved by Toni Morrison

124 was...