Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Go Teen Writers #WeWriteBooks Contest is Coming!

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.


Here's how it will work:

1. Starting on Wednesday, September 14th, we will be open for submissions. That means, we are NOT open for submissions yet. We want you to have a couple weeks to get your entries ready so that no one is tempted to rush.

We will be open for contest submissions Wednesday, September 14th through Wednesday, September 28th OR until we receive 300 entries. 

2. When you submit your entry, your chapter must be no more than 3,000 words. We highly recommend that it be the first 3,000 words of your story, but that decision is up to you. If you have a prologue, you are welcome to include it as long as you stay under the 3,000-word limit. We also highly recommend that you not conclude your entry in the middle of a sentence because it's jarring to a judge. It's better to submit 2980 words of complete sentences and thoughts than it is to leave us off in the middle of a sentence or explanation but use all 3,000 words. (If you're confused about word count, there is an explanation below.) Wherever you decide to stop your entry, keep in mind the post on powerful chapter and scene endings. Hook us with that last line! Also, your synopsis must be no longer than two pages. Detailed formatting rules are posted below.

3. This contest will have two rounds of judging. Stephanie, Shannon, and I will work together to read every entry and compile a list of three finalists. The finalists will be given two weeks to prepare their first three chapters, which we will send to our talented editor friend Roseanna White, who will pick the winner. A huge thanks to Roseanna for helping us with the final round of judging.



Other questions you may have:

Where do I submit my entry?: We will announce that when the contest opens on Wednesday, September 13th.

Who may enter this contest?: This contest is restricted to writers age 21 and younger, who are not traditionally published, and who do not have an agent.

How many times can I enter?: Only one entry per person, please.

How should I format my entry?: Your chapter and your synopsis will not be formatted the same.

Your chapter must be formatted in the following manner:

-It should be double-spaced with no additional spacing before or after each line.
-It should have one-inch margins on all four sides.
-It should use 12-point Times New Roman or Courier font.
-Each chapter should begin on a new page. Don’t hit “Enter, Enter, Enter” to get your cursor to a new page. Instead insert a Page Break at the end of each chapter, then begin typing your new chapter on the next page. Remember, your submission has a word-count limit, not a page-count limit, so if you have more than one chapter, that's okay.
-Start each chapter ¼ to ½ of the way down the page.
-Format all chapter headings the same. It doesn't matter if you write "Chapter One" or "1," as long as you're consistent.
-Use only one space after punctuation, not two.
-Use italics for inner thoughts and to stress a word. Don't go overboard.
-Avoid all fancy formatting, like drop cap letters to the start of each chapter, flowery scene breaks, or any other decorative graphics.
-Scene breaks should be marked with asterisks or a number sign. Again, you could use one asterisk *, five in a row ***** or three with tabs in between *      *      *. It doesn't matter as long as you are consistent throughout the manuscript.

Click here to view my tutorial on proper manuscript format.

Your synopsis should be formatted in the following manner:

-It should be single spaced.
-It can be between one and two pages long.
-It should have one-inch margins on all four sides.
-Use only one space after punctuation, not two.

If you need help writing your synopsis, please refer to Stephanie's posts on how to write a synopsis and how to edit a synopsis. They are great posts.

What if I don't have Microsoft Word?: You don't have to submit a Word file. If you have a different word-processing program, just be sure to save a copy of your submission as a .txt file so that we will all be able to open it.

When will we find out who the finalists are?: We don't know yet. We'll have a better idea once we see how many entries there are, but we're taking the first two weeks of October off from blogging so that we can dedicate significant time to judging. We hope to be able to announce finalists when we return from that break, but we will just have to see how many submissions come in.

Will I get feedback on my entry?: We will do our best to give each of you something helpful and concrete that you can apply to your writing. But Stephanie, Shannon, and I also have young kids and books of our own to write, so we won't be able to do a line edit or talk over specifics with everybody.

If I win, do you publish my entry on your website?: We would like to highlight each of the three finalists on the Go Teen Writers blog by posting the first page of their chapter. Each finalist will have the choice whether or not they would like us to do that. We will ask permission first and will leave the decision up to each finalist.

How do I find the word count of my entry?: The industry standard for word count is Microsoft Word. In older versions of Word, you had to go to "Tools" and then "Word count." The newer versions keep track of the word count down below. (See the red circle):

See that place circled in red in the bottom left corner? There's your word count.
Or you can also go to the review menu and find it here:



Another option is using a site like WordCounter.net.

Will you go over these rules again?: Yes, I will post the rules again in two weeks. It any changes come up, I will tell you then, but I don't foresee any.

One final note: We don't like to limit entries for contests, but there are only three of us, and while the Go Teen Writers blog is very important, it is only a portion of our professional responsibilities. Plus we all have families with children and our own writing schedules to try and maintain. While it pains us that the limitations we've put on the contest (only accepting 300 entries) might inevitably exclude some writers, we hope you can understand why we need a restrictions in place.

As it is, Stephanie, Shannon, and I each have committed to reading and providing feedback for 300,000 words free of charge, and that will take up a lot of time and energy. We're happy to give back in this way to a community that we're blessed to be a part of, but we still have to put boundaries in place to remain healthy.

Any other questions I can help answer? 

66 comments:

  1. Yay! This is so good of you to host this--we love competitions and really appreciate all the effort you put in! Thanks so much, and I can't wait! Synopsis writing is quite a challenge, though...I've got too much I want to say XD Do you have any suggestions for shortening it? Thanks again :)

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    1. Having a friend read it can be really helpful. They often find plot lines that you included that you are positive you need, but that they see as unimportant to the description. After you do that, going line by line and tightening up the language.

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  2. Can I submit my chapter and synopsis despite not having finished the book?

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    1. Yep! We suggest you have your first three chapters done since the finalists get to submit the first three to an editor, but that's the most you would need to have ready.

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  3. Oh yay! This sounds so wonderful and fantastic and cue happiness! I don't fit within the guidelines (over 21 and traditionally published), but I'm pretty excited of those who do fit! Thank you, Stephanie, Jill, and Shannon, for doing this! Y'all rock!

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    1. You're such a sweetheart. Thanks for enriching our community by continuing to take part!

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  4. Are the guidelines for double spaced in our manuscript and single spaced in our synopsis referring to the space between lines of text or individual words?

    -Bee

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    1. Double space/single space refer to the lines of text, not the words.

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    2. Thank you. :)

      -Bee

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  5. I'm so excited about this contest, you guys. You always blow us away with your talent and creativity! Thank you Jill for getting this all organized.

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    1. Thank you, Steph, for starting Go Teen Writers. It's such a fabulous place. :-)

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    2. I agree. Thank you so much, Mrs. Morrill! I'm fairly certain there is no other organization like this on the planet. It's a writer's (teen or otherwise) jackpot!

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  6. Ok so my novel is a split POV novel (three POVs) with each POV in first person. It's a similar concept to Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, short scenes from each character's POV woven together to tell the story. So would that qualify for an entry? Each scene is only 500-800 words, so I'd probably submit the first three scenes (one from each character's POV).

    Thanks so much for taking the time to put all of this together though! Everyone really appreciates it! :) :)

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    1. The only limitation is 3,000 words, so yes, that qualifies, Jonathan. :-)

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  7. I have a couple of questions. Do we need a title page, like in the video? (I am not comfortable with giving away some of the personal information such as my address.) Also, 3000 words would be about my first two chapters, so should I submit that or just my first chapter?
    I'm so excited for this contest!

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    Replies
    1. No title page is necessary. You'll start your entry with Chapter One--or whatever you call your chapter. Yes, you can submit your first two chapters if they are under 3,000 words. That totally works! :-)

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    2. I have one more question, I have Open Office and I can't save as a .txt file. Are there any others I can use?

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    3. Hey Josie, I use Open Office and it should have a way to save as a ".doc" format, which is technically what Microsoft Word uses. Just go to "Save As" and select one of the ".doc" options. :)

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    4. Thanks for answering that, Deborah! :-)

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  8. YES! I was just wondering when the next GTW contest would be, and here it is. I'll be spending the next two weeks editing my first chapter like crazy... Thanks for putting this together!

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  9. Really wanted to participate in this contest but my life just turned out to be too chaotic this time around. Really hope to participate next time!!!

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  10. So looking forward to reading the finalists' entries when the time comes!

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  11. Can I submit my chapter even though I'm in the first draft, or do I need to be further along?

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    1. To get the most out of the contest, your entry should be edited. But you don't need to have a completely edited novel sitting on your desk in order to enter, if that's what you mean.

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  12. I am very interested but I have a question. Is the 3000 word limit for both the Chapter(s) and Sypnosis together?

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    1. Whoops. I misspelled Synopsis

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    2. No, it's not. 3k is the limit for the story, and your synopsis can be no more than 2 single space pages.

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    3. Another Question, is the synopsis supposed to reveal what happens in the entire book or before chapter 1?

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    4. A synopsis is always for the full story, beginning to end of the book. And you must tell us the ending. A synopsis is to show the editor or agent that you can plot a strong story from start to finish. See Stephanie's two blog posts on writing and editing a synopsis for more information.

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  13. Is it okay if I send less then 3,000?

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  14. Ah, so sad I can't take part, as I don't write in english. This sounds like so much fun! I hope we'll be able to read the winning entries!

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  15. Long time no see, guys! For the novel I would submit, I have written both a 1 page and 2 page synopsis. Which would you prefer I submit?

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    Replies
    1. Welcome back, Sarah! Probably the one page. I think we'll be swimming in words over here :)

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  16. I changed my mind. I'm going to enter with the second draft of something I'm working on. Now to brush it up. :)

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    Replies
    1. My instinct was to "like" this. Too much time on Facebook...

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  17. Pardon my ignorance. If the chapter/s I submit are from the first book in a series, do I write the synopsis for just the first book or for all the books?

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    Replies
    1. That's a great question! Just the first book.

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  18. Are there any age restrictions to this contest?

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  19. Could I submit my entrie through Google docs/drive? or does it have to be on Microsoft Word?

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    Replies
    1. It needs to be an actual file, not just a link or a shared document. You should be able to download a Google doc in the .doc format and then upload it to the form next week when we open for submissions.

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  20. Does my entry have to be something I've written specially for this contest? Also, can it be something I've submitted already on my blog? It's slightly edited. Thanks! :)

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    Replies
    1. It can be any story you've written. Published on your blog is fine.

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  21. Do I have to include a synopsis?

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    1. Yes, you must include a synopsis of the novel.

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  22. If we do have to include a synopsis, are the words in the synopsis included in the actual story to make up 3000 or less, or is it separate?

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    Replies
    1. I asked this question too. I was told they are separate, but the synopsis has to be 2 pages or less.

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    2. Yes, your chapter can be up to 3,000 words. Your synopsis can be a maximum of two, single-spaced pages, 12-point font, one-inch margins on all four sides.

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  23. Sorry for all the questions, but can I submit more than 1 chapter, providing it is 3000 or under?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, as many chapters as you like so long as the total word count of your entry (not counting the synopsis) are no higher than 3,000 words.

      Delete
  24. Do you want the synopsis to be for our whole book or just for the 3000k we submit?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A synopsis is always for the full story, beginning to end. And you must tell us the ending. A synopsis is to show the editor or agent that you can plot a strong story from start to finish. See Stephanie's two blog posts on writing and editing a synopsis for more information.

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  25. This is awesome! :) I have one question: if one is including text messages in the entry, how should they format them?

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    1. I don't know of any hard and fast rule for formatting text messages. I tend to italicize them. And I've seen people put them in small caps or all caps. Just be consistent and make it clear that the words are part of a text message. (See below, but keep in mind, I would italicize the text words, but I can't do it in a comment.)

      Ex:

      I sent her a text: What are you doing?
      She wrote back: Nothing.

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  27. If I have self-published my novel, may I still submit it?

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  28. Where do you submit your story?

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  29. I know this is a silly question, but would you suggest entering this contest to someone who is still writing the first draft of the story, or is it more for people who have completed at least the first draft? I know that if I write my synopsis for how the story is going now, it will most likely be different by the time I'm ready to finalize my project, so is okay to submit something that may be subject to change or should I only enter if my novel is in (or close to) its final stage?

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    1. I am entering this contest when I am still on my first draft of my story, but i know how it is going to end. If it feels right to enter it, enter it.

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  30. Is the contest still open until tonight?

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  31. I just realised that I didn't format the synopsis the right way. Will I be disqualified?

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