High School Writing Conference

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Ozarks Writing Project (OWP) invites students in grades 9-12 to the Missouri State University campus for a day of writing. Some of the most talented teacher-writers in southwest Missouri will conduct sessions including script writing, parody, slam poetry, comic books and graphic novels, making money from writing, flash fiction, and a writing marathon.


December 2017—Date TBA


Strong Hall, Missouri State University

Strong Hall is a beautiful four-story building, located just off Holland Avenue. It will comfortably hold all our classes, giving attendees the ability to mingle in one central location.

Students may be dropped off in the half-circle drive at the west doors of Strong Hall. From Grand Street, turn north on Holland Avenue. Take the second right following the entrance to the Bear Park South parking garage. (The O'Reilly Catholic Student Center is directly across the street.)

Bus parking is available in Lot 44, located north of the Bear Park North parking garage on Elm Street.

The closing session will be held in Plaster Student Union. Please dress appropriately for the walk across campus.

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Registration is now closed for the December 2016 event.


December 2016 Sessions

Let One Go - Parody writing, the most fun type of writing! We will read and watch some parodies and then write our own to share! Let's make fun of things! Everyone knows you high school kids are good at that... (Amy Sampson, Monett)

Making a Picture Talk: Using Images to Inspire Story - This session will give you all the information you need to write a story or poem based on an image. Choose an image from our files or bring a photo of your own choosing, and we'll plan the rest during the session. Where will an image take you? (Jana Parrigon, Pierce City)

Sequential Literature: Writing Comic Books and Graphic Novels - With great power comes great writing! Comic book stories unfold through a series of panels, snapshots that capture the interesting or thrilling moments of a story. As a collaborative medium, a comic book writer must describe each panel for an artist to interpret for the page. During this session, you’ll learn how to develop your idea into a short story for a visual medium and try your hand at creating your own comic book or strip. (Michael Frizell, MSU)

Shock Factor Hooks - Use your life experiences to hook your reader, and make your writing authentic and appealing. Writing developed during the session will fit all post-high school paths from career to college. (Megan Winterrowd, Lebanon)

Six-Word Stories - Can you tell a story in only six words? How much of an impact can so few words have? The answers to these questions and the challenge of a six-word story may surprise you! This class is offered in the computer lab. (Audra Vanhooser, Bolivar)

Slam Poetry - Learn to write poetry with a spoken performance in mind. You’ll discuss the techniques that help a writer connect with an audience and explore how writing for a spoken word performance can add power to your message. (Amber Culbertson-Faegre, slam poet)

Small Stories, Big Appetite! - Can you find your character's flaw or heroism or design your story's plot twist in 100 words? Flash fiction and 100-word story writing takes your reader to the edge of their seat in a hurry, then leaves them wondering "What did I just read?!" You’ll create pocket-sized pieces of literature, some of them worthy of submission for contest or publication. (Casey Daugherty, Republic)

Take a Stand: Make a Statement - The complex world you're inheriting will require innovative, thoughtful solutions. Learn to confront problems with possibilities. The writing activities in this session will unleash your imagination and unlock your creative brain. (April Smith, Monett)

Whose Story Is It, Anyway? - Have you ever heard a story about yourself and thought, "I'm glad someone told me, because I had no idea I did that!" This session will explore the importance of telling your own story rather than someone telling it for you! (Julie Morris, Macks Creek)

Writing Marathon -  Set yourself free to write in several campus locations under the supervision of an experienced marathon leader. What usually happens is you stop thinking; you write; you become less and less self conscious. Everyone is in the same boat, and because no comments are made, you feel freer and freer to write anything you want.  (Betsy McQueen, Branson)


Have questions?

Colleen Appel, conference coordinator, will answer them for you.  You may contact Colleen at Appel7208@MissouriState.edu


Our presenters need your help! You can ensure that 350 motivated high school students have an amazing writing experience.

Volunteers are needed to do the following:

  • Greet students with a smile.

  • Take attendance.

  • Assist with technology.

  • Support presenters.

  • Connect with students who do not have partners.

  • Give students encouraging feedback.

  • Monitor hallways.

  • Assist with setup and cleanup.

Volunteer sign-ups for the next event will open up about a month prior to the conference. If you have any questions, email Jessica Maly for more details.