A note from Sarah
First of all, a special announcement: summer camps! Check out the website for our summer camp collaboration with the Society of Young Inklings. Right now we have three camps available that we’ll conduct via Zoom, but we’re working on bringing you more! We hope you’ll get creative with us this summer.
What have you been doing to keep yourself busy during social distancing?
I’ve found that in my spare time, I’ve been reading and cooking more than usual and have recently started a small garden. I hope you have also found some enjoyable hobbies to occupy yourself during this time. If you’d like to share what you’ve been doing, consider submitting a piece to our blog.
I really liked the prompt for this week’s Flash Contest, from Stone Soup contributor Molly Torinus, which is what got me thinking about hobbies in the first place. Molly asked you to think of your favorite superhero (or supervillain!) and imagine what they do in their down time. I can’t wait to read what you’ve come up with! In a similar vein, Stone Soup contributor Anna Rowell wrote a Daily Creativity prompt on Wednesday that asked you to take one of your favorite characters and create a story about how they would act during the time of coronavirus.
Both of these prompts ask you to dive into the world of fan fiction. If you’re not familiar, fan fiction is when a writer takes fictional characters or their worlds and adds onto them in their own story. While it’s fun to make up a story entirely of your own creation, sometimes it’s comforting to anchor your story with elements from books that you’ve read or movies you’ve seen. Maybe you’ve become attached to a character and want to place them in a new situation of your own invention. Or maybe you want to create a story where the characters from your two favorite stories meet! The possibilities for fan fiction are endless.One famous example of fan fiction is Death Comes to Pemberley by author P.D. James. The book takes place after the happily-ever-after conclusion of Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice. James takes the existing characters, like Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, and places them in a new genre: murder mystery. Could you do something similar with one of your favorite books and imagine what could happen after “The End”?
If Molly or Anna’s prompt inspired you to write a fan fiction of your own, think about how you can expand your piece into something longer. What elements of the original story or character do you want to keep? And in what ways do you want to expand and explore new ground?
Winners from Weekly Flash Contest #7
The week commencing May 11 (Daily Creativity prompt #36) was our seventh week of flash contests, with another record number of entries including one from our youngest-ever Flash Contest entrant! We had fun meeting time travelers from different eras from ancient history (even dinosaurs!) to the present (yes, some time travel was projected into the future—it’s complicated!), and it was even harder than usual to choose our favorites. We commend all of the entrants for their imagination, and for the creative ways they found to bring their characters from the past into life in the present using clothes, language, and misunderstandings about contemporary everyday life to make them real.
This week, we are announcing our five winners, whose work is published below, plus five honorable mentions. Congratulations, everyone!
(work published on this page)
Isabel Bashaw, 10, Enumclaw, WA
Samson Brown, 12, Cary, NC
Ava Shorten, 10, Mallow, Ireland
Michela You, 11, Lexington, MA
Xuyi (Lauren) Zheng, 10, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
“The Time Watch” by Hannah Nami Gajcowski, 10, Bellevue, WA
“Lace, Frills, and Clever Jokes” by Samantha Lee, 10, Thomaston, CT
“Prehistoric Visitors” by Sean Tenzin O' Connor, 4, Bishop, CA
“Panic From the Seventies” by Lauren Oh, 12, Cary, NC
“A Dose of Time” by Ella Yamamura, 12, Cary, NC
Remember, we are running the Flash Contest every week during the COVID-19-related school closures and shelter-in-place arrangements. It is always based on the first Daily Creativity prompt of the week. The prompt is posted on Monday, entries are due by Friday, and the winners are chosen and announced the following week.
Highlights from the past week online
Don't miss the latest content from our Book Reviewers and Young Bloggers at Stonesoup.com!
Himank,12, illustrated a piece called “Utopia for Animals,” which shows how COVID-19 has impacted life for animals.
Read an update from the Stone Soup Book Club’s fifth meeting.
A poem from Marjona, 11, a student in Uzbekistan.
Daniel, 10, reviews the book Heat by Mike Lupica. The book is about family, friendship, and baseball.
Emerson, 12, wrote a poem called “Tick Tock” that emphasizes the strange quality time has taken during the time of coronavirus.
We posted a cartoon by Natya, 12, called “How the Handshake Has Evolved.” Check it out and consider buying a print of it to support a nonprofit in Natya’s area.
In her poem, Cora, 13, wonders about the way our lives have shifted since COVID-19: “Will it Ever End?”
Abhyudoy, 13, reads his poem “A Brief History of a Fictional Virus.”
Summer Camp: Young Author's Studio
Stone Soup is offering summer camp via Zoom in collaboration with the Society of Young Inklings. We’re calling it Young Author’s Studio.
We’re offering three weeks with three different themes.
Design a Novel: June 8–11, 2020 (9–11 a.m. PDT)
Character Lab: June 15–18, 2020 (9–11 a.m. PDT)
Design a Picture Book: June 22–25, 2020 (9–11 am PDT)
For more information, visit the Young Author’s Studio website.
From Stone Soup May 2020
By Sara Heller, 12 (New York, NY)
Art by Sage Millen, 12 (Vancouver, Canada)
The thin black straps from my leotard dug into my skin. My feet stung and ached inside my dirty, pink pointe shoes, and the humid room reeked of sweat. The teacher was saying something in Russian, pointing to the corner. Her face was very much like that of a hawk; her sharp eyes speared us one by one
Today was my second week at a Russian ballet sleepaway camp. Some of the best Russian teachers were brought to Connecticut to train kids in their style. I shifted my gaze to the corner, and my feet scraped the dusty, blue floor as I moved toward it. The words of the teacher passed through the translator, and her words hit me like a bucket of ice water. “Hops, from the corner, one by one!”
I watched as the girls around me bounced up and down. I, however, was struck with an overwhelming sense of fear. In my dance school, we only did pointe on the barre. Now I was supposed to know how to hop on pointe in the center? My feet had reached the corner of the room, and I found I was in the middle of the line. It couldn’t be impossible, right?
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