Nancy's Books

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Writing a Middle Grade Novel, part 8/Calls for Submissions

Conflict is story. If you have no conflict, you have no story. In my children’s novel, AMAZING GRACE, I began the story with the family receiving a mysterious letter. When the parents revealed the contents of the letter, conflict began for the daughter, Grace. The long-range conflict running from the beginning of the story to the end revolves around Grace’s emotions and coping abilities. She is forced to move away from her home and friends. Even worse, she misses her father and worries that he may never return home.  

Short-term conflicts flare up. Grace deals with a bully, a younger brother who frustrates her, a lost dog, etc. As she resolves a short-term conflict another rears its ugly head. Conflict is the driving force that propels the story. Conflict is all about struggle and pain. As writers we sometimes want to shy away from the troubling situations and keep our characters safe from harm. Think of conflict as a sense of need. The character needs something badly, and if s/he doesn’t get it, something even more drastic will happen. 

A story about children happily playing marbles is bland. A story in which a child walks over, picks up the marbles, and runs away with them is more likely to grab our attention.

Next week, I’ll continue this series. 

Call for submissions for young writers:

KidSpirit Online is a free teen magazine & website for kids created by and for young people to tackle life’s big questions together. Teens share online writing, poetry, artwork, volunteer opportunities and examine their spiritual development in a non-affiliated and inclusive forum. Join the conversation!

Submission guidelines at

Call for submissions for adult writers:

Short Kid Stories. If any you would like your work showcased on the site when it is launched, we’d be delighted to evaluate any children’s author submissions. In return, accepted authors will have a profile page with bio and links to any other material they wish to promote. My goal for the site is to deliver significant author exposure to tens of thousands of unique visitors per month visiting the site from all over the world.
Submission guidelines at



  1. This is something beginning writers really need to hear. I've run across some real newbies who thought they had stories when they had nothing but a slice of life, and usually a very boring life.

  2. I love your humor and your accuracy.