Welcome to the RPLA Showcase
2016 Unpublished General Catch-All Category
Backpack Blues by Melody Dean Dimick
In Backpack Blues, as they try to complete their senior year at Mountain Top High unscathed, Cora and her classmates face bullies led by Ross, the football quarterback, and the self-proclaimed cool kids.
At the 2016 Royal Palm Literary Award Banquet, author Melody Dean Dimick won First Place in the Unpublished General Catch-All category. Each year at the RPLA Banquet, authors experience the joy of earning accolades for all the hard work that is often done in the privacy of the home with little to no recognition. We’re showcasing the best of the best with our First Place winners spotlight. Not only does RPLA recognize extraordinary talent, but we’re giving readers an opportunity to sample excerpts from the winning stories.
Click the link to read a sample:
Q & A with Melody Dean Dimick
Q: Where do you get your story ideas?
A: My story ideas come from my life, especially experiences in the classroom, from newspaper clippings and magazine articles, from bits of overheard conversations, and from rumors. Backpack Blues, my RPLA-winning book, was inspired by Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology. Masters gave voice to the people in his town. I wanted to give voice to teens, especially those who feel alienated.
Q: Anything in particular about your award-winning RPLA entry that you’d like to share?
A: Backpack Blues is a young adult work set in a fragile world, the rural Mountain Valley High School, located in the extreme northeastern section of the Adirondack Mountain range. Ace Jackson serves as a master of ceremonies, but each student shares the limelight for a moment. Backpack Blues celebrates the resourcefulness it takes to make it in the classrooms, halls, and locker rooms of contemporary schools, but also reminds readers no one ever leaves school totally behind. Because it didn’t really fit any of the other genres, I entered Backpack Blues as a novel in verse in the general category. It probably should have been entered as a poetry collection since I employed many types of poems, including blackjack poems. If used in the classroom, the collection could serve as a springboard for student writing.
Q: Whom do you credit with inspiring your writing?
A: My former students and Edgar Lee Masters inspired me to write. Works of art inspire me. I often write to right wrongs. When I see something in society that needs to change, I write. Contrary to what many publishers and editors I’ve met seem to believe, students love to read poetry when they are allowed to respond to the poems they read. Most of my students loved to write poetry, especially when I explained song lyrics are often poems.
Q: Any tips for new writers?
A: Hire an editor. A work should be polished before submitting to a publisher, RPLA, or other contests.
Thank you for sharing, Melody, and congratulations! Visit her website: www.melodydeandimick.com
A message about supporting literacy in Florida:
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We could significantly fund the literacy efforts of our organization. No money out of your pockets…just some invested time to set this up.
How easy for us to make a difference. To see all of our work, please read the pages of our website www.floridawritersfoundation.com. You’ll be proud.
Tom Swartz, President, FWF