Nancy's Books

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Picture Books: Cumulative Stories/Contest/Call for Submissions

The cumulative story is a popular picture book format. The rhythm and beat of the text fall easy on the ears. These stories follow a repetitive pattern or text structure. Each page repeats the text of the preceding page and adds a new line or plot. The details continue page after page until the story builds to a climax. Stories such as There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly and This Is the House That Jack Built are examples.

The text in a cumulative story can begin as one word, a phrase, or a sentence. As new events happen, the previous events are repeated with additional words added. The story builds and so does the anticipation. This type of story works well for young children, ages 3-5, because the predictability of the story allows them to become active participants.

Word count is important in this type of writing. Keep the phrases or sentences short. Use strong nouns and action verbs to keep word count low and the action high. A specific character and his/her actions is a typical subject and plot for cumulative stories.

Contest for young writers:
The New Cosmic Frontiers International Science Essay Competition On the Nature of our Universe and its Habitats is open to high school and college students. Its purpose is to inspire students to consider careers in science and to nurture their enthusiasm for the subject, and to engage young minds in creative, intellectual activities essential in scientific endeavors.
Winners will be awarded significant monetary prizes to support their education and given an extraordinary opportunity to meet today’s world-renowned scientists and scholars at a conference and award ceremony, held in Philadelphia, on October 12-13, 2012.

Are we alone in the Universe? Or, are there other life and intelligence beyond the solar system?
First Prize – $25,000 cash prize. Second Prizes – Two essays will be chosen for $10,000. Third Prizes – Five essays will be chosen for $5,000.

What is the origin of complexity in the universe?
First Prize – $50,000 cash prize. Second Prizes – Two essays will be chosen for $25,000. Third Prizes – Five essays will be chosen for $10,000.
In addition, up to 10 honorable mentions of $3,000 each will be awarded in either category.
Deadline June 15, 2012.
Details at

Call for submissions for adult writers:
ASK Magazine is a nonfiction magazine for children 6-9 years old who are curious about science and the world they live in. Each edition of ASK is built around a central theme on some question or concept in the natural, physical, or social sciences, technology, mathematics, history, or the arts. Feature articles are usually 1200-1600 words, with sidebars. ASK also occasionally commissions photo essays (400-600 words), humor pieces (200-400 words), short profiles of people, inventions, events, or the arts (200-400 words), and theme-appropriate experiments.
Details at

Check out more contests on my blog:

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