Mackenzie Carroll


(1st place)

 By Mackenzie Carroll, 8th grade, East Valley Middle School

    Ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved writing. I would write in journal after journal or do any writing assignments I could for class. It goes hand in hand with my love of reading. My parents have encouraged me from an early age to follow my dreams and to read, so that’s exactly what I did. As I read, I began to wonder, could I write something like this? Could I write something so memorable that even when I am long gone people can still remember me and say, “She was an amazing author! I loved every one of her books.”

    That’s what I set out to do. I began to write plays with some friends, and then I went solo. In my third grade year, I read “Sign of the Beaver” by Elizabeth George Speare. I loved the story, though at the time I did not agree with the ending, so I decided to write my own sequel to the first book. I never finished it, but I still remember grabbing some clean sheets of paper and a manila folder to keep them in, taking a seat at the kitchen table and putting my pencil to work.

    In my fourth grade year, a friend and I, Jackson, began to write our own play. We called it “The Secret Admirers”. We both got about two pages in before we couldn’t agree on the subject anymore. I got confused with some of his ideas as he got confused with some of mine. We decided to do our own versions. That was the first fully finished draft of anything I ever wrote just for fun.

    Over the years, that enjoyment of writing has grown into infatuation. In my seventh grade year, I began to write a book. I called it “Surf’s Up”. It took me several months to finish because I had about two months of writer’s block and couldn’t think of an ending. Finishing that book made me realize that I wanted to become an author when I was older – I even planned to beat Christopher Paolini as the youngest author to make the Guiness Book of World Records.

    I’ve written two other books since then. The one problem I keep running into is how to publish my books. My next door neighbor, a wonderful lady who has adopted my siblings and me as her “virtual children” is also a writer. She had been searching for years to find someone to get her book published. A few months ago she found a publisher. It is my hope that when I feel I am ready to actually publish (after I finish revising some more) she can give me a hand in it.

    My education has an important role to play in this as well. I’ve been learning what to write and what not to write in books. My wonderful, patient teachers and my editor (our librarian) have taught me how to be detailed but not overly detailed. They also help me with my punctuation. I am (I regret to say) a bit comma-challenged. I love to use commas where they don’t really belong, or I forget to use them in the right space. I applaud my teachers for their patience. I also applaud my Aunt Kellie Hannum, who is an English teacher at Skyview Hi gh school. She helps me with some of my grammar when I need her input. All of these people I’ve mentioned and others (my mom, dad, brother and sister) have helped and will help me to achieve my dream as a writer.

    Once I’ve achieved that dream and have gotten at least two books published, I hope my love of writing and the ideas for books continue to flow. I plan to continue writing as I have, through religious (Christian) inspiration. My dream is that when people read my books they can connect with the main character or even with one of the minor characters. I also pray that maybe my books change their perspective on religious people. I won’t deny that there are very corrupt people that pretend to be Christians. I want to show this world that there are good people out there who are religious. My mission is to end our bad reputation. I also hope to show my readers that there is still beauty on earth, just as there is healing from pain.