Are you ready for a whole lot of fun?
As many of you know, I’m a BIG fan of writing contests and challenges. I love them because
- they encourage writers to write
- they push us to submit our work
- they engage us in the kid lit community and provide us with positive feedback and inspiration.
March 2nd is the birthday of the incredible Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Last year I put together a little contest based on Random House founder Bennet Cerf’s 1960 challenge to Seuss to write a children’s book using only 50 words. And the classic Green Eggs and Ham was born. It’s true that the story has over 700 words…but only 50 unique words.
My challenge is a bit different…yout MAX WORD COUNT for the entire story is 50.
If you are currently writing picture books…or just reading them, you’ll notice that the average word length for many is getting shorter and shorter. So I thought, wouldn’t that be a great challenge…to write a story for kids with only 50 words? With a beginning, a middle, and an end. I wondered if I could do it. I opened the challenge to everyone. Much to my surprise and amazement, there were 128 entries! And now it’s time to DO IT AGAIN.
Please put on your thinking caps and get busy writing. You have a couple of weeks until you need to post your story. Here are the guidelines:
#50 PRECIOUS WORDS WRITING CONTEST
- Write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, using only 50 words…they can all be different words, or you can use some of them over and over…just as long as the total word count for the story is 50 or less.
- It can be prose, rhyme, free verse, silly or serious…whatever works for you.
- Title is not included in the word count.
- No illustration notes please.
- The contest officially opens on Thursday, March 2nd, in a special post on my blog.
- Between March 2nd and March 6th, post your story on your blog if you have one and put the link in the comments of my #50 Precious Words Challenge blog post OR post the entire story in the comments of my #50 Precious Words Challenge blog post. Last year, because the stories were so short, eventually, we had all of them in the comment thread. Please make sure you put your name in the post.
- Deadline for posting the story or the link in the comments is Monday, March 6, at 11:59pm.
- Winners will be announced Thursday, March 9.
- Winners? Of course, there will be winners…and prizes, too! The book prizes are limited to USA addresses, please.
- A critique from my beloved agent, Essie White (some of you may remember that the winner of last year’s contest chose Essie’s critique as her prize…and she subsequently signed with Storm Literary Agency!)
2. A seat in author Susanna Leonard Hill’s amazing Making Picture Book Magic online writing class (the first writing class I ever took and it set me on the path of writing wonderful picture book manuscripts).
3. A seat in author Kristen Fulton’s incredible Nonfiction Archaeology online writing class (that was the class that opened the door for me to discover the joy of writing nonfiction picture books).
4. This next prize can be chosen by two people…there are TWO 50% off coupons for Alayne Kay Christian’s ART OF THE ARC online writing class (this is the next class I would love to take).
5. OR…if you have already taken Alayne’s awesome class, you can choose 50% off an in-depth critique from her (when Alayne says it is an in-depth critique, she isn’t kidding. I had one of those…it is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious).
6. A manuscript or query letter critique from author Rebecca Colby.
7. A picture book critique from author Lori Degman
8. A picture book critique from author Anna Forrester.
9. A fiction picture book critique from author Ariel Bernstein
10. A picture book critique from author Rosie Pova
11. A book on the craft of writing from author Rosie Pova
12. A copy of Bunny’s Book Club from author Annie Silvestro:
13. A book on the craft of writing from author Maria Marshall
14. A copy of Hello, My Name is Tiger from author/illustrator Jennifer P. Goldfinger.
15. A copy of LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL plus an adorable SEAL NECKLACE from author/illustrator Patricia Keeler.
16. A copy of CLAMS ALL YEAR by Maryann Cocca-Leffler.
17. A picture book critique from me and a copy of my parent-teacher book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.
I am exceedingly grateful to all of these kid lit pros who generously donated prizes…to find out more about these wonderful people, please click on each link above to visit their websites…follow them on social media..and buy their books!!!!
Please help spread the word and share this around your social media…the more the merrier… #50PreciousWords.
Are you excited?
And I just can’t wait to read all of your precious words.
P.S. Don’t forget…this is NOT the post you will be using for the contest entries…that post will go live on March 2nd.
I usually post a picture book review and craft on Friday. But, as I mentioned last week, I’m taking a short blog break. This month I’m enrolled in Kristen Fulton’s Non-Fiction Archaeology class AND participating in her WOW NonFicPic week of writing. I’m overwhelmed with all that I am learning and doing – but loving every minute of it. I took out a total of 144 non-fiction picture books from the library this month to help me with my research and writing.
Plus, I’m trying to establish my first vegetable and herb garden here in New Hampshire – I forgot how much bending is involved when you plant and weed.
Getting back to gardening reminded me how similar it is to writing, revising and submitting.
With gardening, first you do your research: what plants will grow in your area and how will you care for them. Then you do the work: Plant, weed, fertilize. You give it time and perhaps a few prayers for sunny days and gentle rains. And then, if all goes well, you reap in the harvest.
With writing, you also need to do your research. You think about your passions, find out if there are other books out there on the subject, read and study other books to use as mentor texts, check out various agents or editors who might be looking for your kind of writing. Then you work. You write and revise and write and revise and write and revise. You submit your story to critique groups. You revise again and again. You submit to Rate Your Story or get professional critiques. You send your story out. Next, you give it time and maybe pray a bit for an agent who is blown away by your story or an editor who is looking for just that title. And finally, you reap the harvest when an agent offers you representation and an editor offers you a book contract and children who read your book say, “Please, read it again!”
I stopped by here to post the link to an article on submissions – Alayne Kay Christian has a brilliant on-going series and she invited me to participate – what an honor!
I hope you will all visit her blog – and after you read what I wrote, I know you will want to check out the previous posts from other writers in this incredible kid lit community. The ‘All About Submissions’ series is a wealth of information and stellar resources.