Nancy's Books

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Writing a Chapter Book, part II/Calls for Submissions

This article is the second in the series: Writing a Chapter Book. 

1.     Before writing the first word, develop a character sketch of the main character. How does this character sound, look, and act? What upsets this character? What problem does the character face? How does the character act under pressure? Ask the questions and allow the character to answer in his/her voice. The point is to learn the character so the actions will stay consistent. Each secondary character should have distinguishable actions and voice so the reader can identify each. If all the characters act and sound alike, the story won’t be as interesting and the language won’t be as lively.

2.      Everyday experiences. As with all writing, keep the audience in mind. What appeals to kids in the 7-9 age range? They are interested in stories that reflect their own experiences, including such topics as friendship, school, family, playing sports (or dance or music or gymnastics), fitting in with a group, and other areas that directly affect their lives. They also face such challenges as parent’s divorce, loss of a sibling or beloved pet, or best friend moving away.

The more time you spend developing the story BEFORE you lay words to paper, the less time you will spend in revision.
Call for submissions for young writers:

We want aspiring young writers from around the country to enter the
2013 Red House Young Writers’ Yearbook competition and win the chance
to see their stories or poems published in a beautiful book. The
winners will also be invited to a writing workshop, hosted by a
children's author, at The Imagine Children's Festival in February 2014.
To enter the competition, your child should be aged between 7 and 17.
They can submit a story, poem or article and it’s up to the individual
what subject they choose to write about. This year the competition
entries will be divided into four age categories: 7+, 9+, 11+ and 13+.
Entries must be under 1,000 words.

Submit by July 31st. Winners will be notified by September.

Spellbound is a children’s fantasy e-zine for 8-12 year olds.  Each issue will be published in ePub format, and available from, B& and other online vendors.  This is a quarterly publication with reading periods.

A week or so ago, I posted information on Spellbound themes. An editor at Spellbound sent this message: We have started reading for a special, fairy tale themed edition of Spellbound which will be published in print and electronic.

Details for Spellbound available at

Check out more contests on my blog:


  1. Thanks, Nancy. This is a good series of articles. Very useful.

  2. Glad they're helpful, Rosi. Thanks for letting me know.