The Delacorte Press Writers’ Contest


Current Reading:  (Audiobook) The Thing About Jane Spring by Sharon Krum
(Print Version) The Chicken Dance by Jacques Couvillon

While I was doing some blog surfing the other day, I came across an entry mentioning the Delacorte Dell Yearling Contest for a First Middle Grade Novel.  I would love to write a children’s book – after all, most of my reading is in the Young Adult Genre.  It’s not by necessity, it’s because I really like the books.  It helps, of course, that I am a middle grades reading and language arts teacher.

I have often thought about writing a book.  I participated in National Novel Writing Month a few years ago, and although I completed the contest (word-count-wise), I used my notes and letters and journal entries from my stay in Angers France when I was 23 to write my piece.  I’m not saying that’s wrong, but I just left it at that. I needed to write for writing’s sake at that time, and it got me through a tough period.

Last year, after finding a book at my local Barnes & Noble called Book in a Month: The fool-proof system for writing a novel in 30 days by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D., I thought I would try again, but got side-tracked.  I still have the book, so I thought, why not use it now?  I also bought her book called Story Structure Architect, and I may use that, too.  I may also get 45 Master Characters – but that may be overkill.  I have a tendency to read more than I do already.

Note: the author of the book encourages you to write in the book – very difficult for a girl who was raised NOT to write in books. Then, you can use a new book for each project.  What an excellent way to sell more books!  Still, it makes sense, especially if you are working on more than one book, or want to keep your notes from each book. And, to make that even more attractive, though I paid $23 for my first book, there are new and used copies available on for as low as $3.45 (not including shipping).

I haven’t joined the support group at Yahoo! yet, but I might.  I have also discovered the Children’s Writers & Illustrators Message Board – which has a thread on various writing contests.  It is on Verla Kay’s Website for Children’s Writers and Illustrators. I may join that, too.

Okay, I’m aware that many of the entries in the contest have probably been working for a long time on their novels before submission. But I figure I can write the first draft in a month, then have enough time to do a first revision and make the entry date by June 30th (postmarked).  Then, for better or for worse, I will have completed a novel.  If I don’t finish it, there’s always next year, or there’s another contest for a Young Adult book (ages 12-18) held in October thru December.

I have been writing down my ideas and think I have finally come up with a good one.  It has all sorts of possibilities for education and applications to the classroom.  I have already started the research on it, but will take some time to stop and read my Book in a Month book, too.  I am not excited about anything this early in the morning, but I know I will be later.  I just have to come up with a work schedule and commit.


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