Library corner: Scare up a good story

Chris Newell
Grand County Library District
Lyla, fourth grade, from West Grand Elementary School, proudly displays her Scary Story Contest certificate. She placed third in the fourth-grade division for west Grand County in 2022
Scary Story
Scary Story Contest Deadlines:
  • Fraser, Granby, Juniper libraries – Saturday, Oct. 14, by 4 p.m.
  • Kremmling, Hot Sulphur Springs libraries – Saturday, Oct. 21, by 4 p.m.

Fall is in the air (yikes!), so it’s time for all budding young writers to scare up a good story for Grand County Library District. All future writers in grades K-8 are encouraged to pick up their pens and pencils, wake up their imaginations and begin creating some spine-tingling tales.

Contest rules and guidelines are available at your home library, and a signed entry form is required to officially submit a story for judging. Contest judges from all over Grand County will be recruited to read and score stories based on creativity, suspense and creepiness (no excessive violence, please).

The top three winners from each grade level in West Grand County and the top three winners from each grade level in East Grand County will have their ghoulish stories published in a special Grand County Library District book.

We have solicited some advice and words of wisdom from celebrity middle school and high school educators from around the county to provide their guidance and expertise. Hopefully, they will be able to help young writers shake off the cobwebs and get the creative juices flowing.

  • When writing a scary story, you should paint a picture in the reader’s mind by using sensory details and figurative language. – Natalie Mears, English teacher, East Grand Middle School
  • My best advice to students is to plan their stories before they begin writing. Draw a plot map or plot mountain and fill in characters, setting, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution. Then begin writing. The best writers always begin with a plan. – Sarah Bole, English teacher, Middle Park High School
  • My advice is simple: Remember your audience and avoid gore and violence; The scary story does not give you a lot of words – limit your characters to just a few and keep your timeline and setting simple; Try to use descriptive language and “show” your readers versus just telling them how scary it was. Were you so scared you screamed for your mom and couldn’t catch your breath? Show that to the reader rather than just saying you were scared; And most importantly, have fun with your story. Create a fun twist and unique characters that make your story memorable. – Kim Cameron, language arts teacher, West Grand School District

No hocus pocus – those are some excellent words of wisdom! Sometimes all you need is a key word or two to get a scary story rolling. Follow some of this advice to conjure up a nightmare-ish tale that will be sure to scare the socks off our judges.

Visit your local library for entry forms and guidelines.

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