Rocky Mountain PBS StoryMakers Contest
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Introducing A New Spin On StoryMakers

For the past 10 years, Rocky Mountain PBS has celebrated young writers with the StoryMakers short story contest.  This year, we are asking all 6th, 7th and 8th grade authors in Colorado to submit a short, fictional story that captures a Colorado “sense of place.”  Whatever the story is that you imagine and want to tell, we want Colorado to be a primary presence. 

Colorado is a place, it’s a feeling, it’s a smell, it’s a picture….you can touch it, see it, taste it.  Setting includes more than just environment.  It includes any external details that reveal more about experiences, observations, characters (how they react and feel), etc. 

Setting can be an active force in a story; think of a farmer on the eastern plains terrified the drought will be so severe he’s not sure he can feed his family this year.  Or think of a young boy who loses his way hiking and is led back by a spirit of the Ute tribe.  Or think of a woman living far in the future who stumbles upon a strange cave high in the mountains in a place once called Colorado.  In this way, setting can be a character in the story….a central element that shapes and drives the narrative, the characters, the conflicts and the resolutions. 

Stories may only be submitted online (Word documents only/no Google docs!) through November 22, 2017.  


Click here for Rules and Guidelines (READ THESE FIRST!) 


StoryMakers is supported with a grant from Douglas County Libraries. 

StoryMakers At-A-Glance
  • Entries are judged on the integration of the Colorado as a “sense of place,” originality, creative expression and storytelling.
  • StoryMakers is in its eleventh year and each year we receive over 700 state-wide entries.
  • Finalists (eight for each grade) will be named in December 2017/January 2018 and invited to an all-day workshop (and station tour) facilitated by an instructor from Lighthouse Writers Workshop and a journalist at the Rocky Mountain PBS station in Denver on Saturday, January 20, 2018.
  • Awards Luncheon will be held in the Denver area on Saturday, February 24, 2018 and attended by all finalists and their families. Winners are announced and special prizes awarded. 
  • Winners’ stories are published on the Rocky Mountain PBS website.
  • StoryMakers is generously supported by Douglas County Libraries

For questions, email Susan Barber

Supported by Douglas County Libraries
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StoryMakers is also brought to you by:

StoryMakers Interview on KAFM

StoryMakers Interview on KAFM

Listen to an interview with radio KAFM in Grand Junction with teacher and StoryMakers’ authors from Holy Family Catholic School.

Congratulations to the 2016 StoryMakers’
Winners and Finalists!

Click on the story titles to read them online.

6th Grade
1st Place: Sive Kelliher - "The Desert" (Denver School of the Arts)
2nd Place: Lillian Sturhahn - "The Chocolate Shake" (Denver School of the Arts)
3rd Place: Lauren Brown - "Daughter of the Moon" (Coal Ridge Middle School)

Aditi Jegannath - "Be YoursELF" (Rocky Heights Middle School)
Kate Bestall - "The Jealous Goldfish" (Evergreen Middle School)
Stephanie O’Flaherty - "Lab Rats" (East Grand Middle School)
Rowan Hillhouse - "A Cinderella Story" (Denver School of the Arts)
Elizabeth Cronk - "Ayomide the Spotted Zebra" (Overland Trail Middle School)

7th Grade
1st Place: Sophia Feghali - "Stinky Bleu and the Death Cheese" (Holy Family Catholic School)
2nd Place: Julia Thomas - "The Sound of Red" (Denver School of the Arts)
3rd Place: Gabriel Jani - "As the Fog Lifted" (Logan School for Creative Learning)

Olivia Sherwood - "Growing Up to Be a Child" (Lesher Middle School)
Jonathan Paul - "Rebecca" (Trailridge Middle School)
Molly Brunswick - "The Scarlet Dragon" (Homeschool)
Ellen Rogers - "Paper Airplanes" (Denver School of the Arts)
Lekha Masoudi - "When the Bombs Stop" (Logan School for Creative Learning)

8th Grade
1st Place: Francee Schloesser - "The Mechanics of Forever" (Denver School of the Arts)
2nd Place: Aadi Nashikkar - "A Single Minute" (The Colorado Springs School)
3rd Place: William Bernstein - "The Traitor and the Virus" (Logan School for Creative Learning)

Layne Thompson - "The Space in Between" (Holy Family Catholic Church)
Ethan Moore - "Thomas Was Alone" (North Arvada Middle School)
Gina Carlo - "Mistakes" (Prospect Ridge Academy)
Natalie Wadhwa - "Necessities of Gnomes" (Denver School of the Arts)
Destiny Wrich - "Her Darkest Hour" (Holy Family Catholic School)

Parent Testimonial

"I wanted to thank you for the Rocky Mountain PBS StoryMakers program. My daughter took part in the competition and was a runner up for the 8th grade group. The whole process was so thrilling for her to be part of. When we were at the studio for the celebration in January, she told us she felt like a movie star. She loved learning to record her story and download illustrations, but most of all I think she loved the fact that so many people were involved in the whole process, and that most were involved through volunteering. 

She was so inspired... Our children need to feel important in order to succeed, and every small step counts. This support needs to be more than just parents and teachers. When our children see other adults and important people involved in their futures, it paints a bigger picture for them. Thank you for painting part of this bigger picture." 

-The Bretts, Eaton, Co.

Rocky Mountain PBS and Douglas County Libraries encourage teenagers to keep reading and writing.  

Thanks to everyone submitting a story and special thanks to our major sponsor, Douglas County Libraries