Contest Winner - Brinton Culp

Contest Winners


Brinton Culp

Winning Entry:  Skinny Bones and Catrina

You can submit an entry and become a contest winner too! Learn more about our contests >

Welcome to the Winner’s Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL students. Please congratulate Brinton Culp on her recent contest win! 


What contest was your winning entry submitted to?
Holiday Story Contest 2016 

How many writing contests have you entered?


Tell us the title of your entry and a short summary of the story.
Skinny Bones and Catrina: A Day of the Dead Celebration is a story told in rhyme that follows Skinny Bones, a skeleton who wakes up during the night of Day of the Dead. He finds Catrina, the upper-class skeletal figure originally created by José Guadalupe Posada, and invites her to accompany him to town. The pair encounter both mishaps and fun as they live anew and celebrate the holiday.

What inspired your winning entry?
As a Spanish teacher I lead my classes in exploring the history and customs of Day of the Dead. This story was inspired from our research about this holiday.

How has entering this contest helped your writing?
Contests give me that extra nudge to polish my work. I had written this particular story a while ago, but I pulled it out and read it with new eyes. I also took it to my critique group and they provided insightful feedback. So I sat down, reworked some things, and gave it a shot. The webinar with the contest was also extremely helpful. I will be going back to this story to try to make it even better.

Are you a full-time writer? If not, what is your “day job”?

I am a part-time middle school teacher, teaching Spanish and a class here and there of creative writing, and I am a full-time mother of two boys ages 8 and 10. I squeeze in time for writing between lesson planning and laundry. 

How long have you been writing?
I’ve loved writing since 1st grade, but I’ve been writing with the hopes of getting published for about 10 years (which is when I took the Writing for Children and Teenagers course from the Institute of Children’s Literature!)

What will you do with your piece now that it’s been recognized?

I first plan to revise even more, then I would like to submit it for publication.

Any fun plans for the prize money?
I am taking out my critique group for chai and lattes!

What do you do when you’re feeling discouraged or blocked? Do you have any tips for your fellow writers?
Tip #1: Take a walk. It really helps to clear the mind and get fresh ideas flowing.

Tip #2: Eat chocolate. Chocolate = happiness = better mindset for writing.

Tip #3: Read something fun. (I like to say I am researching while re-reading Harry Potter for the 7th time.)

If you could go to the yard sale of any character in the history of children’s literature, whose would you go to, and what would you buy?
I would go to Fred and George Weasley’s yard sale in the hopes of buying one of those wands that magically turns into a rubber chicken.


Is there anything else you’d like to share about your ICL experience?
ICL has been great in helping me stick with writing and learn and grow in my craft. The Writing for Children and Teenagers course provided me with invaluable information and feedback. The contests have pushed me to polish my work and follow guidelines. I’ve greatly enjoyed and appreciated ICL!

Nicole Groeneweg Winners Circle

Nicole Groeneweg

Contest: Narrative Nonfiction Picture Book | 4th Place


May 31, 2024

Read More »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

Post comment

Become a better writer today
IFW Logo Small

1000 N. West Street #1200, Wilmington, DE 19801

© 2024 Direct Learning Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

Licensure & Memberships

Recommended for college credits by the Connecticut Board for State Academic Awards

College credits obtained through Charter Oak State College

Approved as a private business and trade school in the state of Delaware

Institute for Writers LLC BBB Business Review
IFW Facebook 1
IFW Instagram
IFW Podcast

© 2024 Direct Learning Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.


1000 N. West Street #1200, Wilmington, DE 19801

© 2024 Direct Learning Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. 

Institute for Writers LLC BBB Business Review