Writers' Club of Pasadena
Pasadena, Texas

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Writers' Club of Pasadena
Pasadena, Texas


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The Red Bowl Contests


The frequency of the assignments for the red bowl contests is every other month.

The assignment may consist of any subject matter. Members are asked to consider making it something they are currently working on for publication or a contest submission, though it can be anything the author chooses. The intent is for all club members to help each other to improve their chances for publication or simply to sharpen their writing skills. Previous submissions may be resubmitted for future “Red Bowl Contests.” The ultimate goal is to learn.

The only restriction is to maintain a maximum of 750 words or no more than two and one-half pages typed, double-spaced (no exceptions). This is to give everyone an equal share of time for the critique. Authors are encouraged to bring several copies of their work to assist in critiquing within the small group. This allows the members of each critique group to take notes and suggestions to help the author. Pen and paper for note taking is encouraged.

At the Meeting:

1. We will break into small critique groups. The number of members present and the number of submissions for critique will determine the size of the groups.
2. Someone other than the author should read a submission to the group. This is to allow the author a chance to hear his/her work.
3. The group is to give constructive critiques to help improve the writer’s work.
4. This is to continue for each submission. The exact method is up to the individual group.
5. Each group will award a first place submission.
6. The first place submissions will be given to the vice-president of the club for publication in The Pasadena Pen and on the Website.
7. The general membership will then vote on the choice for First Place either by phone, e-mail, or in person to the Vice-President who will announce the top three winners at the following meeting. Deadline for voting is 12:00 am the Friday before the meeting where the winners are announced.
8. The Red Bowl will be available for deposit of loose change or whatever a member wishes to contribute to the winner the day the submissions are critiqued as well as the following meeting. The Vice-President will hold all funds received from the red bowl until the first place winner is announced. The full balance of the red bowl will be awarded to the first place winner.

If you prefer the structure of a stated assignment you may use this as a guideline for improving your writing skills.


Describe a world that exists only in your own mind. What does the landscape look like? What do the animals and people look like. Be sure to include at least one character. How do they behave? Use this assignment to learn to describe a location using more dialog and action than description.


Think of the movie ‘A Christmas Story’ or ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. This assignment can be fiction, non-fiction, a story, an article or even poetry. It can be any holiday. Use this assignment to learn to express inner emotion. Try this exercise from Bernard Selling’s book ‘Writing from Within’.

Begin by taking yourself back to an event that holds within it some of your deepest feelings and emotions. When you have finished writing about the event, check your work to see that you have written it in the present tense, added your feelings, and written some dialogue. …Try to include inner monologues as well. Be sure to write your feelings in an interesting and vivid way. Explore what goes on in the various parts of your body when a feeling occurs and express the feeling in this manner.


How does change affect people? Remember: ‘Who moved my cheese?’ Use this assignment to learn to show conflict and tension through characterization. Try this exercise from Rachel Ballon’s book ‘Breathing Life into Your Characters’.

Write a scene in which a character experiences a highly stressful event. How does you character deal with the stress? Write about the conflict your character faces by just experiencing one of the SRRS’s top five stressors (below). Describe how your character behaves when dealing with the stress.
Certain behaviors give clues that an individual might have emotional problems. Some of the most common behaviors are excessive moodiness, constant worry, ruminating, sudden mistrust of others, suspiciousness, unreasonable belligerence towards others, hypochondria, and spending more time in fantasy than in reality. To have these behaviors doesn’t imply emotional illness, but continual frequency of such problems means the person needs professional treatment, Neurotics also develop many defense mechanisms against anxiety. The background of troubled people plays an important role in their emotional life.

Social Readjustment Rating Scale
Life Event Life Change Unit Value

Death of a spouse 100
Divorce 73
Marital separation 65
Jail term 63
Death of a family member 63
Illness or injury 63
Marriage 50
Fired from job 47
Marital reconciliation 45
Retirement 45


Just play with this one. Write a nature poem as defined in Michael J. Bugeja’s book ‘The Art and Craft of Poetry’ A poem in which nature plays an integral role, emphasizing terrain and life (including humans) in a natural setting, season, metaphor, symbol, situation of theme.


A Tribute to the Season
Nature Against Human
Human Against Nature
Human-Nature Relationship
Nature as Metaphor for the Human Condition
Nature as Symbolic of the Human Condition
Human Encountering Nature
Nature as Reflection of Mood
Nature-Human Celebration
Essence of Nature
Isolation From Nature
Nature as Reflection of God