ROSEMOUNT - Local residents are urged to unlock their childlike imaginations and build writing life skills. Rosemount Area Arts Council is partnering with Friends of Robert Trail Library for the third short story writing contest.

"We are looking forward to getting the entries because they are always fun," said Ann Loch, chair of the writing contest and member of the ArtBlast committee.

The literary event is one in the RAAC's annual ArtBlast, a weeklong, citywide community celebration of the arts from June 22-29.

The short story contest is for amateur writers only and stories must be original and never before published.

The short story contest is open to three age categories: grades 3-7, grades 8-12 and adult.

Entries are due June 5 and winners will be announced June 25 at Rosemount Central Park amphitheater after ArtBlast's melodrama presentation at 7:30 p.m. Gift cards will be awarded for first, second and third places in each age category ranging in value from $10 to $100.

Youth contests

Youth from third through seventh grade are asked to write a short story using one starter phrase:

• I opened a fortune cookie and, instead of my fortune, there was a map ...

• At first I thought it was a cat, but it was ...

• Sitting at the end of the dock, with my feet dangling in the water ...

There is no length limit for these stories. Email entry to rosemountarts@gmail.com by June 5, 2019. Include name, address, phone, school, and grade completing in June 2019.

Short story starter prompts for grades 8-12 are:

• I crouched behind the car, trying not to make a sound ...

• I was walking in the mall when I saw a mannequin in the shop window that looked just like me, and then it blinked ...

• I was walking in the park when a shadow seemed to follow my path ...

Writers should select one prompt to start the short story and the length can be between 1,200 and 3,000 words. Email entry to rosemountarts@gmail.com by June 5 include name, address, phone, school, and grade completing in June 2019.

Writing prompts aid youth in getting started, Loch said, as a retired elementary teacher who taught for 35 years.

"It helps them get focused in on something and in the past we have asked them to respond to something like a painting of Norman Rockwell that could get them going as a story starter," Loch said.

When asked what value can be found in short story writing, Loch said, "I think it allows you to be able to express yourself and it is fun to see that people have the opportunity," she added.

Children can use their imaginations and express it on paper.

"It is nice to have them writing and using their creativity and imaginations and not just to write texts but they are working on a story," Loch said.

Adult contest

An adult short story contest is also open. This contest also is promoted to students who attend the Dakota County Technical College.

"It is great to give other adults this great opportunity and it is amazing how many adults have a passion for writing memoirs, mysteries and adventures," she said.

Winning entries will be posted on the RAAC website if writers grant permission.

Adults can write on any topic that follows the structure of a main character that faces a particular problem or set of circumstances or conflict and attempts to meet the demands of the situation, fails or succeeds in doing so, and experiences a definite outcome of failure or success.

The short story length is 2,400 to 5,000 words. Email the entry to rosemountarts@gmail.com by June 5 and include name, address and phone number.

"Put on your thinking caps, sit down and start writing and maybe you will become the next award-winning writer in the Rosemount area," Loch said.