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Ironwood student takes third place in UP writing contest


April 28, 2018

IRONWOOD — Luther L. Wright fifth grader Sarah Lauzon received a third place writing award Friday from Gretchen Preston, vice-president of the Upper Peninsula Publishers Authors Association, and Larry Buege, Valley Cat series author and contest coordinator.

The Dandelion Cottage Short Story contest was developed by Buege after his granddaughter wrote her first book at age 11. Buege figured other kids could also be inspired to write short stories, as well.

Buege said the short story submissions caught him by surprise, as this was its first year in operation and he did not know what to expect.

Stories were limited to 5,000 words and he didn’t expect any of the young authors to approach that many words, but almost all of the submissions did.

The quality and length of the submitted stories caught him by surprise, said Buege.

The scoring was so close that two third place awards were given out, with Lauzon competing with high school kids.

Other winners were:

—First Place: Katie McEachern, Negaunee.

—Second Place: Emma Locknane, Gwinn.

—Third Place: Anna Laakso, Republic-Michigamme.

—Honorable mention: Sierra Hendrickson, Negaunee.

Buege said each contestant represented his or her school as one of its two best writers, which alone is an honor.

LLW only had one submission this year, but Buege said he expects Ironwood will have two next year.

The contestants received critiques from at least three judges for their efforts as a means to provide feedback and help improve the young authors’ skills in writing.

Buege said the plan next year is to offer $250 for the U.P.’s best short story, written by a K-12 student. They expect even wider participation.

Buege offered advice to budding authors to get a leg up on the competition for next year:

—Start writing now, do not wait until Jan. 2. Quality cannot be rushed.

—Most short stories are written in the first or third person, consider the pros and cons of each before writing a story.

—When the story is finished, put it in a drawer and let it age. Retrieve it in a month or two and give the story a fresh look.

—Use friends, parents, teachers and siblings to review the story, without asking them what they think of it. Ask them what they do not like about it.

—Read and analyze how the author uses dialogue and sentence structure.

Lauzon is racking up victories as an avid reader and writer, according to Susan Clausen, her fifth grade teacher. She won the 2018 fifth grade Upper Peninsula spelling bee and Buege commented how much of a better speller Lauzon is than he ever will be.


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