County teen pens memoir
in short story collection
takes his teachers advice
Helen E. McKinney
(January 2008) When Adam Smith wrote a story
five years ago in seventh grade, he had no idea at the time that it
would end up as a published short story. Smith is now excited to see
his personal narrative in print on the pages of Chicken Soup for
the Teen Soul: Real Life Stories by Real Teens.
Currently a senior at North Oldham High School, Smith
wrote what he referred to as a memoir piece for an English class requirement
when he was a student at North Oldham Middle School five years ago.
It was about my first dance with a girl in middle school,
said Smith, 17, the son of Chris and Beverly Smith of Prospect.
He recalls that there is a slight bit of humor in it. Its
a fun little story.
As a seventh-grader, he had the chance to read School Dance
on a local radio station. Once a week WFPL radio station would broadcast
stories written by community members. The teacher who gave him the assignment,
Vickie Wheatley, had also written a story and was chosen to read hers
along with her student at that time.
My teacher encouraged her students to send off their work to be
published, said Smith. Wheatley encouraged Smith to submit his
story to Teen Inc. magazine, where it was first published. Chicken Soup
publishers collaborated with Teen Inc magazine by choosing stories from
back issues for inclusion in their latest book.
Smiths story was selected from thousands of other potential stories
for inclusion in Chicken Soup for the Teen Soul. Stories
provide insight about the tough issues teens face every day concerning
friends, school, work, family obligations and their future.
School Dance began as a routine personal memoir assignment
for a unit of English classwork. Students chose their own topics, but
Wheatley said, It was a requirement that all my students send
at least one piece out to be published.
Because it is so difficult to become a published author, Wheatley said
she thinks Smith has been very fortunate with the success of School
Dance. Im glad hes getting the recognition he
very richly deserves.
considering his future
as an author with
the recent publication
of his short story.
While he doesnt see writing as a career is in his
future, Smith thought his story was selected because of its merit and
the way it captures my thoughts and feelings.
The fact that it is about the seemingly simple act of asking a girl
to a dance makes it a universal story. It relates to a lot of
other people, he said.
He knew how to get across his feelings in very few words and in
a humorous way, said Wheatley. She remembers that it was his voice
and style of writing that always gave his work a unique perspective.
Smith got a taste of the publishing world in re-submitting School
Dance to Chicken Soup publishers. He received a letter of invitation
from the publishers, enabling him to skip the usual proposal and query
guidelines. But he did have to re-send the story in a certain manuscript
format and include an authors biography of himself. He was paid
$250 for his efforts.
His mother was always his proofreader because she studied a lot
of English in college, he said.
I had read the story before it was submitted and thought it aptly
captured what it is like to be a middle school boy, said Beverly
Smith. Adam has always been an avid reader and writing has always
been encouraged at home.
His mother was a little surprised when the Chicken Soup publishers chose
his work for their book. But she said she is proud of her son. I
believe that Adam could be a published writer again one day, and I will
encourage him to write throughout his life.
As a reader, Smith said a lot of different genres interest him. Many
titles read in his Advanced Placement Literature class appeal to him
as well as The Kite Runner, The Lord of the Rings
and The Bourne Identity series. He is a self-declared big
Harry Potter fan.
Smith has not let a little bit of fame go to his head with the recent
publication of his work. He is focused on graduating from high school
and applying for college at his top choices, which include Xavier University
in Cincinnati, Murray State University and Centre College.
Creators Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen first published the Chicken
Soup for the Soul books in 1993. More than 100 million copies
have been sold, and 145 titles have been printed in 37 languages.
Health Communications Inc. released the book on Oct. 15, 2007. It sells
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