Class assignment leads to an award winning story

Madeline Hittel, Reporter

What started as a writing assignment for senior Chelsea Keen’s Creative Writing class turned into an award winning short story. It was among the state of Indiana through Purdue’s Department of English Creative Writing Contest.

Keen’s English teacher Josh Brown suggested that his class enter a piece they had written, as he does every year, not knowing one of his own students would be awarded in the top two in her division.

Keen’s assignment for Brown’s class was to write a short story about making a deal with the devil, and in Keen’s story, the main character made a deal with the devil so she could have a friend. Ironically, as Brown said, the story was entered into a humor category. Keen believes her story stood out among the rest because of an ironic twist.

“A lot of the kids made it to where the character wanted someone dead or they wanted power, and I thought, ‘Well, I’ll make a different kind of twist,’” Keen said.

Keen couldn’t believe that she had actually placed in the contest. She thought it had been a mistake, thinking she would hear back from the contest judges to tell her that she hadn’t placed. Although she had doubt, she was excited that she had placed.

“Honestly, up until I went to the banquet, I kept checking my phone because I thought they would send me another email saying it was a mistake,” Keen said. “I remember freaking out. I was jumping up and down, and I told everyone I knew, even teachers that I didn’t have anymore.”

Brown encourages his students to enter the contest each year with a story written for his class or one on their own. Keen was the first of any of his students to place in any writing contest. Brown believes that Keen is set apart from the rest by her love for writing and always wanting to get better.

“She enjoys writing, which makes her better,” Brown said. “Writing is one of those things that you only get better by doing it and by reading, and she does a lot of it.”