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.
Happy Friday, everyone! It’s time for a Perfect Picture Book review and activity. And if you’d like some more wonderful picture book reviews, please hop over to Susanna Hill’s blog.
It was hard to decide which picture book to review for today. Since I’m following Kristen Fulton’s 52 Weeks of Charting Non-Fiction Picture Books, I’ve got a ton of amazing non-fiction to chose from. And because I’m also participating in Carrie Charley Brown’s ReFoReMo , I’ve got a huge pile of picture books that I’m reading as mentor texts.
Hmmm…maybe I can combine both challenges and use a book that is one of Kristen’s 52 which I will also be using as a mentor text for a picture book I am writing.
Title: When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky
Written and illustrated by Lauren Stringer Read the rest of this entry
Happy Friday, everyone! It’s time for the first Perfect Picture Book review and craft activity of 2015.
I’m going to be participating in Kristen Fulton’s 52 Weeks of Charting Non-Fiction Picture Books, so I can guarantee that quite a few of the reviews this year will be non-fiction ones. I discovered the ‘new’ non-fiction picture books when I enrolled in Kristen’s Non-Fiction Archaeology course last June…for those of you who have ever thought about writing in that genre, I urge you to check out her stellar class.
Before I took the class, my idea of a non-fiction book was based on what I had read as a kid. Back in the day, most non-fiction books, even those for kids, were BORING. But not anymore! And there are many different types of non-fiction…kids might not care, but parents, teachers and librarians might want to make the distinction.
For more detailed information, you can go here:
RUNNING WITH THE HORSES
Written and illustrated by Alison Lester
Publisher: NorthSouth (2011)
Ages: 5 and up
Themes: Conquering fears, Lipizzaner horses, war
“A long time ago, a young girl named Nina lived in a palace that stood in the heart of a graceful old city. The palace was home to the Roayl Academy of Dancing Horss, where Nina’s father, Viktor, was the stable master.”
From Amazon: “Nina and her father live in a beautiful riding school famous for their Lippizaners–precious, rare performing horses. Nina loves the horses that her father looks after, but she also loves Zelda, one of the old carriage horses who she sneaks out to see. It’s a perfect world for a little girl, although she has to compete with her father’s work for his attention. But a war is coming, one that will threaten their lives and the very existence of the school.
When the city is under attack, Nina and Father are in charge of fleeing with the horses to a safe place across the border, but can they pass enemy soldiers, bombed out bridges and the fearsome cold of the Alps to get there? And can Nina save her beloved Zelda, too?” Read the rest of this entry