Young Writers Project weekly writing challenges

Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages students to write, helps them improve and connects them with authentic audiences through this newspaper, YWP’s web site,, and digital magazine, The Voice; and other partners, including and

Students, grades 3-12, are encouraged to submit their best writing, photos, audio and video from inside or outside school for publication and/or presentation in response to these weekly challenges. For information on how to sign up for an account, submit work and get published, go to

January-May 2016 YWP Writing Challenges

Find the full list of weekly challenges at

'Artisan' by Apionid
‘Artisan’ by Apionid

Week 18

Moment. Use this phrase in a story: “‘Never forget this moment, my child,’ the old man said …” Alternates: Photo-Veggies: Some people like their vegetables to look just so … Use the photo, “Artisan,” by Apionid to tell a story. Due Jan. 15.

Week 19

Connection. You open a love letter that isn’t addressed to you, and the writer seems so familiar it’s as if the letter was written just for you. What do you do? Alternates: Ad: Create a commercial advertising any product, real or imagined, in any format (words, sound, images). OR Sound-Ice: Click the audio link on and write the story you hear or use multiple sounds for a soundscape (or sound story). Due Jan. 22.

Week 20

Myth. Invent the wackiest urban myth you can think of. Alternate: Love: They said I shouldn’t love you, but I can’t help myself… Why? And what happens next? Due Jan. 29.

Week 21

Voicemail: Write a poem in the form of a voicemail message. If possible, make it rhyme! Record it! Alternate: Superhero: Create a superhero. Keep it classic with a comic strip. Or you can make a slideshow, a dramatic soundscape, a portrait or a descriptive story. Due Feb. 5.

Week 22

School. What’s the best and the worst about your school? Suggest a practical solution to fix the negative. Be proactive. Alternate: Sound-Typewriter: Click the audio link on this challenge on and write the story. Due Feb. 12.

Week 23

Seuss. Write in rhyme! Create a cast of crazy characters! YWP honors the late Dr. Seuss who would have turned 112 on March 2. Alternate: Perspective: Tell a story from the perspective of something unconventional: a chocolate bar, a houseboat, a spider, etc. Due Feb. 19.

Week 24

Before: Think of one of your favorite places. Now imagine it 100 or 200 years ago. Tell the story. Alternate: Sound-Train: Click the audio link on and write the story or use this sound and others to create a soundscape. Due Feb. 26.

'Seapoint, Dublin, Ireland', by Giuseppe Milo
‘Seapoint, Dublin, Ireland’, by Giuseppe Milo

Week 25

Clouds: Imagine you have the ability to float up and walk on clouds. What do you do with this newfound power? Alternates: Photo-SeaStairs: Use the photo to write a story. OR General: Send us your best work. Due March 4.

Week 26

Wishes: What kind of magic happens at the bottom of a wishing well? Who handles the wishes? How? Alternate: Sound-Stirring: Click the audio link on and write. Due March 11.

'Fog at the Train Station', by Tambako the Jaguar
‘Fog at the Train Station’, by Tambako the Jaguar

Week 27

Fool. It’s April Fool’s Day and your character plays a trick that has everyone laughing. What is it? Alternate: Photo-Station: In the photo, what is the mood or atmosphere? Due March 18.

Week 28

Tweet: Tell a story in tweets (140-character segments). Alternate: Sound-Shower: Click the audio link on and write. Due March 25.

Week 29

Humbling: “I thought I knew the answer, but …” finish the sentence in a story. Alternate: Expectations: You meet your biggest idol. Who is it and what happens? Due April 1.

Week 30

Experiment: You’ve got a monkey in a cage, a basketball, a paperback of the latest YA craze and a bottle of pomegranate juice … what kind of experiment are you doing? (Feel free to imagine your own wacky scenario). Alternate: Gate: Use this phrase in a story: “She slipped out the gate and started to run …” Due April 8.

Week 31

Op-ed. Write an opinion piece based on a current news story. Take a side and make a persuasive argument. Keep it tight. Awoke: “I awoke to the sound…” unleash a poem with this line. Due April 15.

Week 32

Blue. “It was the most brilliant shade of blue I’d ever seen…” Work this phrase into a poem or story. Alternate: Framed: You have a photograph of a meaningful moment. Tell a story about what’s just outside the frame. Post the photo! Due April 22.

Week 33

Passage: You find a secret passage in the basement of your grandfather’s house. What happens? Alternate: Surveillance: Thoughts on government or military surveillance? Due April 29.

Week 34

Back. “Oh gosh, they’re back…” Use this phrase in a story. Alternates: Certain: Make a list of 10 things you know for sure. Due May 6.