Best Midwestern High School Writing 2013 Winners

The Touch of Insanity

Melissa Layton

Melissa's mystery shows knowledge of her topic, mental illness, and she develops her characters well. She follows the guidelines discussed in class for creating mysteries, including having at least one red herring and withholding something from the reader until the end. She uses dialogue effectively and gives sufficient information about the setting.

As in all of her writing, Melissa uses strong words and phrases (e.g. Blood stains dappled the floor), and her constructions are clear, smooth, and clean. She also has an effective closing.

To be answered by the student


This piece follows the investigation of the attempted murder of Dr. Sylvia Robin, a therapist for Graystone Mental Health Hospital. Using literary techniques such as foreshadowing and irony, the mystery draws readers in. It enthralls them with its fast pace and intriguing characters. While keeping the readers guessing, the story also allows them to make predictions of their own. Clues and subtle hints capture the readers’ imaginations and encourage them just as they encourage the detective who is investigating the attack. Will Detective Riley be able to solve the case in time to save Sylvia? Will you?