Nancy's Books

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Writing a Middle Grade Novel/Calls for Submissions

Today, I’m continuing the series, Writing a Middle Grade Novel.
Plot is all about problems encountered by the protagonist, the main character. The inciting incident is the first sign of trouble. It’s the event that sets the plot into motion. In my book, Amazing Grace, the inciting incident is the letter that Dad received. The letter was his call to join the Army during WWII, and his daughter knew her world had dramatically changed. 

This event is the moment the character’s world changes from the normal routine to something that disrupts his/her life. When the event occurs, the character needs to react. Bring emotions into play. The event should be important enough to make him/her show both strength and weakness. It’s the reactions and actions that allow the character to grow by the end of the story. 

Inciting incidents should arise in the first one-third of the story, sometime they are in the first paragraph or first chapter, sometimes they are in chapter two or three. As you read books by various authors, notice where the inciting incidents occur and how they are written. Those mentor texts can help in writing your own novel.
Call for Submissions for Young Writers:
Skipping Stones. Writings (essays, stories, letters to the editor, riddles and proverbs, etc.) should be typed or neatly handwritten and limited to 750 words and poems to 30 lines. We encourage writings in all languages with an English translation, if possible. And, we love illustrations! Please send originals of your drawings, paintings, or photos. Include your name, age, and address along with your submission.
Tell us about yourself in a cover letter. What is your cultural background? What languages do you speak or write? What is important to you? What are your dreams and visions for the future? What inspired you to write or create your submission? We might even print your letter!
If you would like a reply from us or your work returned, include a self-addressed envelope with postage stamps. Submissions that do not include SASE's will be recycled if we do not publish them. Allow three months for our reply. When your work is published in Skipping Stones, you will receive a contributor's copy of that issue.
Ideas for Submissions
Share your culture by explaining why a belief or tradition is important to you. Describe your city/village/home. Write and/or illustrate an article on an upcoming theme. Write about a community project you organized, or your experiences in a culture or country. What are your favorite ethnic foods? (Send us the recipe.)

Submission guidelines:

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
Skipping Stones. Our readers, ages 7 to 17, hail from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. We want to make their reading of Skipping Stones an active experience, relevant to issues confronting them locally and globally. Writing and artwork by adults should challenge readers to think, learn, cooperate and create.
We encourage adults to submit creative informational stories rather than pure fiction. We prefer submissions focusing on your own culture or experiences. No adult poetry, please.
Submission guidelines:


  1. Thanks, Nancy, for another good post.

  2. Like pacing, writing scenes that promote the plot and hold readers' attention takes time, effort, and a some know-how. Glad the post was useful.