By Indiana Nash
NISKAYUNA- For some middle-schoolers, writing is a thing done only in school, at the demand of a teacher.
But for Katherine Sumner, writing extends well beyond the classroom.
“It started in second grade when we were assigned a writer’s notebook,” Sumner said.
She was recently recognized by Cricket Magazine for her piece “How the Sun Gained it’s Light.”
Cricket is a literary magazine for students in elementary and middle schools, which features stories and offers writing assistance.
Sumner has been reading it since she first dove into writing in second grade. But she only just entered one of their writing contests in 2016.
Although Sumner did not win the top prize for her Cricket Magazine story, she was selected out of nearly 300 other entries and her work will be mentioned in the next issue.
The rules of the contest were that writers must submit a 500 word story with a mythological theme.
Sumner decided to create an alternative myth about the sun’s light and where it came from.
Now that the contest is behind her, Sumner is looking into other contests with Cricket and beyond.
“I’m working on a semi-autobiographical book called “Journey of a Swimmer,”” Sumner said, “I want to experiment with different genres.”
While most of her work is fantasy and fiction-based, she’s using her experiences on the Niskayuna Wild Turkeys, the Niskayuna modified, and the Schenectady JCC swimming teams for the background of the autobiographical piece.
“It’s easier in some ways because you don’t have to make up an entire world,” Sumner said.
Another activity that’s helping her out with writing is the Capital Region Spelling Bee.
After winning the spelling bee at Van Antwerp, she’ll be going onto compete on the regional level at Proctors.
Sumner also had the opportunity to compete at the regional level last year, so she’s feeling more prepared for her chance this year.
Sumner finds that attending writing workshops has helped her hone her writing style.
“Last summer I did a fantasy writing camp at St. Rose where we planned out characters and made a giant map of our world,” Sumner said.
The workshop helped her better plan out future stories, like the one that Cricket Magazine honored her for.
“It has to have some uniqueness. It has to be creative and it can’t be completely perfect,” Sumner said of what she believes makes a story ‘work.’
These are some of the things she’ll be keeping in mind as she enters into the next writing competition.