Writing Contest Winners Announced

Abby Lawson wins first place and Halen Strevig second place in the Writers Club Fall contest


Image by Pexels from Pixabay

This fall, the Writers Club held a contest where students interested in writing compete with others to submit the best writing piece. The results meant that senior Abby Lawson won first place and senior Halen Strevig who came in second. 

Lawson wrote a poem and Strevig wrote a short story.

“Shocked, very shocked. Honestly, I was hoping for a second, knowing that I couldn’t win it. I’m even shocked that it happened,” Strevig said.

Lawson says her inspiration comes from watching the TV series: The Watcher on Netflix. She likes the idea of watching the watcher, like in the show. 

“When thinking about being watched, my mind immediately went to paintings. We stare at them, admire them and critique them. The poem is about what might happen if they started to stare back. It’s a fairly abstract idea. I wanted the reader to be able to create their own interpretation of what was happening, and what it meant to them. More broadly, it’s about a fairly macabre cycle, or a feeling of being trapped, without knowing whether you’re the one doing the trapping,” Lawson said.

While Lawson describes getting her inspiration from media outlets, Strevig states that he gets his from his vivid dreams. The story he writes tells of a man dying and then getting promised a second chance in the afterlife. Strevig shares more about his creative process. 

“It’s really hard to describe because I don’t have a process, but if I had to say something about that I’d say that it’s usually just short. I usually don’t spend too much time writing because I like to take time to think about what I’ve just written,” Strevig said.

While Strevig doesn’t have much of a process,  Lawson describes an entire process she works on when writing.

“My writing process started with pictures and feelings. I knew I wanted the end result to be off-putting and thought-provoking. I started to just describe pictures that ultimately ended up being connected. I sectioned it off into beginning, middle, the first ending, and the second ending. Each section grew on the last but also had a different central focus,” Lawson said. 

Both contestants are considering entering the upcoming winter writing competition. Strevig has even said he already finished writing his story and submitted it to the upcoming competition. We’ll see if they can make it to the top two again in this competition.

“It’s given me confidence in my writing style. It also reminded me to take the pressure off myself and just enjoy the prompt given. I genuinely enjoyed writing my poem for the fall competition. I think that’s why it did so well,” Lawson said.

Lawson develops her character’s plot by reflecting on her own life because she believes it makes it more real. 

“If I’m writing a poem, I start with a word or feeling and just kind of see where it goes from there. But if I’m writing a story with characters and long plots, I often start with the ending and a vague outline of what I want to happen,” Lawson said. “I’ll give the character’s motives and small details to help me better understand them as I write. The outline gives me a place to go, but more often than not, I end up going off script.”

The Writer’s Club is holding more competitions in the future where aspiring writers can get their work out there. For the writers that didn’t reach the top two, there are still more chances to show the Writer’s Club what you are made of.

“Just start writing. Start with a word, a phrase, an idea, or anything that evokes emotion in you. The hardest part of writing is starting. Remember that you can go back and fix it later; it doesn’t have to be perfect the first go round,” Lawson said. Most importantly, write for yourself. Don’t write to impress anybody or try to be as good as you think someone else is. Your writing style is unique because it’s yours, hold onto that.”