It’s Sunday evening!
You’ve spent the afternoon baking princess cookies and building the world’s most awesome train track around the entire living room with the littles and now it’s time for pajamas and bed!
What on earth am I doing bugging you at this hour?!
Well, I’ll tell you 🙂
I’m trying to give you enough time to cogitate and write! 🙂
Three years ago, a bunch of folks asked for a contest to cheer them out of the winter doldrums!
The First Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest!
(Valentiny because, like the Halloweensie Contest, it’s not very long and it’s for little people 🙂 )
We had so much fun that we went ahead with the 2nd and 3rd Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contests and now it’s kind of a tradition! I mean, no one wants to get bested by a doldrum 🙂
So here we are! The reason I’m interrupting your Sunday!
Announcing . . .
The 4th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest!!!
~ for children’s writers~
The Contest: since writing for children is all about “big emotion for little people” (I forget who said that, but someone did so I put it in quotes!) and Valentines Day is all about emotion, write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone feels guilty! Your someone can feel guilty themselves or make someone else feel guilty. They may feel guilty for good reason, or just because they think they should! Your story can be poetry or prose, sweet, funny, surprising or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes someone guilty (can be the main character but doesn’t have to be) and is 214 words (get it? 2/14 for Valentines Day 🙂 You can go under the word count but not over! (Title is not included in the word count.) If you are so inclined, you are welcome to enter more than one entry – just remember you’ll be competing against yourself 🙂 No illustration notes please!
Post your story on your blog between 12:00 AM EDT Wednesday February 13th and Thursday February 14th by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list that will accompany my February 13th post. There will be no Would You Read It that week, and no PPBF, so the post and the list of links will stay up all week for everyone to enjoy. If you don’t have a blog and would like to enter, you can simply copy and paste your entry in the comments section of that post once it’s up. (Or, if you have difficulty with the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me and I’ll post it for you! Please copy and paste your entry into the body of the email – no attachments! And please do not submit emailed entries until the contest begins on Feb. 13!) Please only post your entry ONCE! Either on your blog and the associated link list, or in the comment section of my post! Otherwise it gets confusing 🙂
The Judging: over the next several days, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 6-10 top choices depending on number and quality of entries (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with the narrowing, so we’ll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Wednesday February 20th (or possibly a day or two later if the judges need extra time.) The winner will be announced Friday February 22nd or Saturday February 23rd depending on judging and voting time needed. (And there will be no WYRI or PPBF that week either so that everyone will have time to read and vote and so that we don’t confuse PPBF with announcing winners.) The dates of the judging/voting/winner announcements are subject to finagling depending on how much time the judges actually end up needing!
Judging criteria will include:
- Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
- Creativity in using guilt and success in making us feel the guilt!
- Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story!
- Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
- Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it.
- Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 🙂
The Prizes: As usual I’m still working on prizes. If anyone has anything fabulous to offer, drop me an email 🙂 But meanwhile, here are some of the awesome prizes just waiting to be won!
– “Skip The Slushpile” AND get a Query Letter Critique from Charlotte Wenger, associate editor at Page Street Kids, the picture book division of Page Street Publishing. She earned her Master of Arts in Children’s Literature from Simmons University (then College) and is a board member of the Mazza Museum’s National Advisory Board of Visitors. She enjoys working with debut picture book authors and illustrators and is excited about the 19 Page Street Kids picture books pubbing in 2019.
Charlotte will read the winner’s picture book manuscript of choice, then send an email letting you know she’s read your story and including one thing you did well and one thing you might work on to improve the manuscript. In addition, she will give you a query letter critique. Like all editors, she has a hectic schedule, so she will aim to fulfill the prize within 2 months of receiving the manuscript.
– Picture Book Manuscript Critique by the incredibly talented, multi-published author/illustrator Iza Trapani!
– Picture Book Manuscript Critique by the Queen of KidLit411 herself, Elaine Kiely Kearns, author of Noah Noasaurus, forthcoming April 1, 2019 from Albert Whitman!
– Top Ten Reasons for Rejection – a 52 minute webinar from Alayne Kay Christian, author of Butterfly Kisses (picture book) and the Sienna The Cowgirl Fairy series (chapter books), and Content and Developmental Editor of Blue Whale Press.
Webinar Description: If you want tips on some corrective action that you might take to improve your chances of submission success, and/or if you would like to deepen your understanding of plot and arc, this webinar is for you.
(And if you’re interested in seeing what else Alayne has to offer, like her Writing For Children Webinars and Courses page on FB and keep an eye out for upcoming offerings!)
– 15-30 Minute Your Questions Answered Phone Call – with Ryan Sias, author/illustrator of Balloon Toons: Zoe And Robot, Let’s Pretend, Sniff Sniff!, and the Woof And Quack beginning reader series (Green Light Readers), and the Super Doodle Series. He has worked in animation, film, and television, including Sesame Street 🙂
Do you have questions about writing, revising, submitting, whether or not to try for an agent, what happens after the sale, or anything else publishing industry related? If so, this is your chance to ask away and get answers from a professional!
– Query Letter Critique by Heather Ayris Burnell, creator of the Sub It Club and author of Bedtime Monster, Kick! Jump! Chop! The Adventures Of The Ninjabread Man, and the Sparkly New Friends early chapter book series from Scholastic!
– 2-Pack of Personalized Signed Picture Books from amazing author Melissa Stoller – Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush and Ready, Set, Gorilla!
…and more good stuff coming!
I can’t thank these authors enough for their incredible generosity! Please visit their sites, buy and recommend their books and services to your writer friends and/or friends with kids, write them nice reviews on Amazon, GoodReads etc if you’ve read and liked their books, and show your appreciation to them in any way you can!
Now then! Aren’t you feeling inspired to write the best Valentiny Story you can so you can win one of these awesome prizes?
Get a nice cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream (fuel, people, your brain needs fuel to write and chocolate is the best!), bring it over to your comfiest writing spot, settle in with some kind of writing implement and a cozy throw to keep you warm, and rev those writing engines!
Ready, set, WRITE!
I so look forward to reading your stories in a couple weeks!!! 🙂