Nancy's Books

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Writing a Middle Grade Novel, part 10/Calls for Submissions

Tips for writing a middle grade novel:

Transport the reader to the middle of the action through the use of senses—sight, smell, hear, taste, and touch. Painting a picture in the reader’s mind is much more than a visual one. A description such as, the green meadow popped with white flowers, is the easiest to write. Since readers see the story unfold through the eyes of the writer, the sense of sight is the most important one. But don’t forget the others. How about, his bristly hair felt like straw (touch) or his words flowed in a jumbled mix that made no sense (hear) or the soup was so spicy, my tongue cried for mercy (taste), or the nasal-prickling smoke (smell). 

Sensory writing is all about details. The sense of seeing is the one writers use most often. Use sight to describe the texture of the rock or the shape of the object. Color and light add realism, as do the noise of thuds and jingles, the aroma of coffee, the velvety feel of a blanket, and the mouth-watering deliciousness of pickled broiled liver over a steaming bed of Limburger cheese. The last example may be questionable by some. Anyway, sensory writing is the best way to download your imagination into that of the reader. 

People learn about surroundings through their senses. Use the same approach to introduce the readers to the imaginary world of your novel. Give them goosebumps, a laugh-out-loud response, or a smell/taste that evokes a memory (Limburger cheese will do that. I’m living proof). Give them details. 

Next week, I’ll continue this series. 

Call for submissions for young writers:

Magic Dragon. Work should be neatly printed or typed. If you type it, please double-space. Stories and essays can be up to three pages, poetry up to 30 lines. It is ok to send writing that you have also illustrated. You can write about anything that is important to you; it can be serious or funny, true or fiction. If you send originals and want them returned, enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

Submission guidelines at 

Call for submissions for adult writers:

Silver Apples Magazine. New online journal Silver Apples Magazine seeks submissions of unpublished poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, one-act plays, comics, and artwork. Emerging writers welcomed. All genres accepted: fantasy, horror, science fiction, mainstream, etc. The theme for the first issue is "Modern Mythologies". See website for length limits and format for email submissions.
Deadline March 31 (must be received by this date).
Submission guidelines at


  1. Thanks for another very useful post.

  2. Wonderful, Rosi. Sensory description places the reader in the center of the action. The story becomes more real because it is reflecting reality.