Nancy's Books

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Writing a Chapter Book, part 1/Calls for submissions

This article is the first of a series.

Chapter books are for kids who are becoming fluent readers and bridge the gap between early readers and middle grade novels. Let’s take a look at the ingredients for stirring up a good chapter book.

The main character. The protagonist should be close to the age of the reader, or a little older. If the character is totally offbeat, completely strange, make the setting familiar, such as home or school. Conversely, if the characters are normal, the setting can be anywhere, even outer space or somewhere in the past or future.

The main character should be “good” even though s/he might display rude or mischievous behavior at times. Allow the characters to make mistakes so they can learn from those mistakes by the end of the story.

Next week, I’ll continue with chapter book tips.
Call for submissions for young writers:

Crashtest publishes poetry, stories and creative non-fiction in the
form of personal essays, imaginative investigation, experimental
interviews, whatever, but please don’t send us the book report you
wrote for English or your Speech and Debate abstract. Any student
grades nine through twelve from any high school in the country (or
abroad) can submit to Crashtest, but we’d like to know a little bit
about who you are and where you come from. Please include a brief
cover letter in the body of your email submission that tells us a
little bit about yourself, your name and your grade at the very least.
Details at

Call for submissions for adult writers:

CHICKEN SOUP: THE CAT DID WHAT? --- Our cats make us smile every day, but sometimes they really outdo themselves. Whether they came up with the idea themselves, or you put them in a situation that caused them to do something unusual, we want to hear about it! Tell us what your cat did that made people want to ask again and again, "The Cat Did What?" We are looking for first-person true stories and poems up to 1200 words. Stories can be serious or humorous, or both. We can't wait to read all the heartwarming, inspirational, and hysterical stories you have about your cats! Pays $200 and ten copies of the book.

Details at

Check out more contests on my blog:


  1. Hello, Nancy. Nice little post here. I enjoyed both the chapter book instruction and the Calls for Submission. Keep up the good work.

  2. Thank you, Claudette, and best wishes with your writing.

  3. Thanks, Nancy. I find your instruction series really helpful. I'm looking forward to this one as well.

  4. Thanks, Rosi. After this series, I'm going to focus on middle grade novels. I have my first one coming out next spring so I'm going to pass along what I've learned from the experience; hopefully, that will help other writers.