Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Go Teen Writers #WeWriteBooks Contest is open for submissions

As announced on September 1, 2016, the Go Teen Writers #WeWriteBooks contest starts today! We're open between now and Wednesday, September 28th OR until we receive 300 entries.


THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.







The Rules

1. Who can enter: Those who are 21 and under, un-agented, and not a contracted or traditionally published novelist. One entry per person.

2. Your chapter must be no more than 3,000 words. Do not submit 3001 words and hope to get away with it. You will be disqualified. We highly recommend that you submit 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 don't end 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 exactly 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!

2. Your synopsis must be no longer than two pages. You synopsis and your chapter should not be formatted the same. Detailed formatting rules are posted below.

3. You must save both your chapter and your synopsis in one file to submit. That means you should perfect your chapter, triple check that the word count is 3,000 words or under, then add a page break and paste in your synopsis. This is because our entry form can only have one attachment per entry.

4. 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 editor Roseanna White, who will pick the winner.


How To Format Your 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.

-Set your indentations to .5.

-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.

-Save your file as a .doc, docx, or txt file.

-Please save your file with your name and story title. For example: JillWilliamsonThirst or Jill_Williamson_Thirst. (If you already submitted your entry before I added this instruction, no worries. We will figure it out.)

Click here to view my tutorial on proper manuscript format, if you're not sure how to change some of the requirements in the list above.

-You do not need a title page, page numbers, or page headers.



Your synopsis should be formatted in the following manner:

-It should be single 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.

-Set your indentations to .5.

-It can be between one and two pages long. One-page synopses are preferred, so if you have both, give us the short one. You will not be marked down for having a two-page synopsis.

-Use only one space after punctuation, not two.

-Your synopsis should give us an overview of the full book and include the ending. Spoilers are part of a synopsis. You're trying to show an editor or agent that you can plot out a book well. 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.


Other Questions

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 .doc or .txt file so that we will 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.


Ready To Enter?

Because of the need to have an attachment, we were unable to use Google Forms for the contest. Instead I was able to set up a form on my author website. You must give us three things on this form:

1. A name (a pen name is fine).
2. A correct email address. (Triple check it, please. If we love your entry but cannot find you because of a typo in your email address, that would be really unfortunate.)
3. Your attached submission---in one file. This is the tricky part. Please bear with us. Because of technology and the way the forms plugin works on my author website, I can only handle one attachment per entry. That means you will have to add a page break at the end of your chapter and paste in your synopsis. Make sure you check the word count of your entry before pasting in your synopsis. And make sure that your entry is 3,000 words or less because we hate having to disqualify people.

To enter, go to this link and follow the instructions. 



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.

Good luck, everyone! And please feel free to ask any other questions you have in the comments below.

69 comments:

  1. Yay! Thanks so much for holding this.
    I've got one question about formatting--do we need any indents in our entry (specifically the synopsis)? I've been looking all over the contest rules and the comments on the last post, but I'm not seeing much... I might just have missed it after being up half the night editing, though. xD

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    1. Indentations should always be set to .05.

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    2. When a paragraph is indented. Many people press TAB, but that is incorrect. Authors should set the indentation to .05. That way every time they press Enter, the new paragraph automatically indents.

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    3. I have a lot on my plate right now but can I submit some of my old work that i've already finished?

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    4. My laptop only has .04 or .06....

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    5. Yes, you can submit old work, Evan.

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    6. Most word processing rulers allow you to drag the indentation to wherever you want. But just pick one and be consistent. No worries, okay?

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  2. I submitted! I'm so excited! I realized after I submitted it didn't save one of the changes I kept making so it had a part in there of a plot that I erased a billion times. Oh well.

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  3. Yay! Can't wait to polish up my entry and get it submitted.
    A question! My entry will be in first person and will have what I think is quite a lot of inner thought. Do I have to italicize all of it? I think it is pretty clear when it is her inner thought and when its not.

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    Replies
    1. You don't have to italicize inner thoughts unless you change tense. Here is a post on that topic: http://goteenwriters.blogspot.com/2012/07/italicizing-characters-thoughts.html

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  5. Thank you so much for holding this contest--it's such a great opportunity! I'm still cutting down my synopsis...I'm over the limit by half a page! Aaaaa! XD

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  6. Should our documents be named the title of our story?

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    Replies
    1. That's a great idea. I'll add that to the instructions.

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    2. Oops - I entered mine before I saw this comment. Sorry! (I did name it "#WeWriteBooks - Killing Snow", so it does technically have the title in it)

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    3. No worries, Savannah. You're totally fine. :-)

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    4. yeah, I just titled mine WeWriteBooks Entry. That is a good idea to include the title of your story though!

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  7. I'M SO PUMPED! This is such a fantastic opportunity, I can't believe it's already here:) Thank you so much!

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  8. This is so exciting! I already submitted mine (the formatting was acting up, but I'm hoping I did alright) and I can't wait to see who gets into the next round!

    ~ Savannah
    scattered-scribblings.blogspot.com

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  10. I don't see this anywhere, or in the Rules, but I thought I'd ask. Can people who haven't been part of the We Write Books challenge enter the contest?

    (Previous comment deleted because of a typo)

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  11. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to be able to enter after all. :( I might enter later in the month (if it's not full by then). Between school, extra life stuff, and working on my GTW post, I just haven't much time to edit my first three chapters & synopsis and I really don't want to enter if it's not the best representation of my work that it can be.

    Anyways...I'll try to enter later, once I've had more time to edit. I'm sure y'all will have more contests and I'm excited to see what happens in this one!! Thanks again for all of your work--Mrs. Morrill, Mrs. Dittemore, and Mrs. Williamson--and good luck to everyone!

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    1. We totally understand, Linea. Life does what it wants. And, yes, there will always be more contests. :-)

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  12. I'm using OpenOffice and there are multiple versions of Microsoft Word you can choose to save as when saving the file as a .doc
    Does it matter which version of Microsoft Word I choose? (They have 97/2000/xp, 95, and 6.0 as options).

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    1. 2000 is good. We should be able to open that fine.

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    2. Okay! Thank you for letting me know :)

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  13. I'm so excited! I've been working on my entry for the past week or so. The hardest part was probably getting my synopsis from four pages to two:). Good luck to everyone that entered!

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    1. Synopses can be such a pain! I feel for you. But good job getting to trimmed down!

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  14. I've been on it off and on all day. So excited for this! Thank you guys for the sacrifice of your time to do this. It's much appriciated. :')

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  15. I hate to ask this because I hope no one gets disqualified, but if someone does will the entries open again or is that spot just permanently filled?

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    1. We will not open the entries again once we close them. That would be too confusing. If we have to disqualify someone, then we will have one fewer entry.

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    2. Okay. That makes sense, I was just wondering.

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  16. So excited! Just submitted and my heart is just pumping so hard. eek! (fingers crossed :)

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    1. Thanks for trusting us with your writing, Emma! We've been in your shoes and we know how scary it can feel. We're proud of you!

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  17. I submitted! The hardest thing was writing the synopsis. . . probably not surprising. It's good practice, though.

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    1. They get easier the more you write them. Thanks for entering, Sophia!

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  18. I just submitted, and I'm really excited. I had a really hard time writing the synopsis, although it was kind of fun. My first draft of it was almost five pages! I only barely was able to cut it down, so it's like…two full pages. I really wanted to get it less than that, but I could not for the life of me figure out how to summarize all of my plot twists into one page! So it's two pages.

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    1. Just getting it from 5 pages to 2 is a major accomplishment, Morgan! Good for you!

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  19. I am sure this was mentioned somewhere before, but I can't find it. What does winning entail?

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    1. The three finalists get to have their first three chapters and synopsis read by the editor for WhiteFire Press, Roseanna White. So the finalists get extra exposure and feedback.

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    2. Oh, very nice! Thank you for the opportunity! :)

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  20. I'm so nervous. I submitted, but my synopsis is definitely my weak point.

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    1. Well, good for you! I know it's scary to put your work out there, but Mrs. Morrill, Mrs. Williamson, and Mrs. Dittemore have created a very safe environment in which to do so. Their feedback will probably help you on that synopsis. :)

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    2. Aww, thanks, Olivia!

      We've submitted our writing to places before, J. Liessa, so we know how scary it can feel. We're proud of you!

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  21. Hi! So I was attempting to enter and something went wrong on my end and so I tried again, but it says my name and email have already been used. Does that mean that my original submission went through or do I need to try again?
    ~Lauren

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    1. I'll have Jill check for you, Lauren. Can you email me the email address you used? Stephanie(at)StephanieMorrillBooks.com

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    2. Lauren, is your main character named Khrista? If so, I've got your entry. :-)

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    3. Yes!!! My main character's name is Khrista!!!!!! Thank you so much! I'm so excited and I was so worried that it had gotten stuck somewhere in the middle. Thank you!!!

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  22. Does our synopsis have to be very much in detail?
    I tend to not plan very much at all and change the plot a lot as I go, with only a very basic idea of the ending. I really want to enter, but the synopsis is throwing me off and I've been procrastinating.

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    1. Also, how close are you to the 300 limit? Do you foresee it filling today, or not for another couple days, or not till it closes? Can you warn us when it gets to 250 or something like that?

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    2. We're not even half way to the limit, Kathleen, so you're good for the next few days. We're keeping an eye on it and will put out the word if it's getting close.

      Synopses tend to be pretty vague, especially if you're a pantser. Just do your best :)

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  23. Hi, Mrs. Morrill! A friend of mine is interested in entering, but she writes fanfiction. Will you accept it, or does the story have to be completely original?

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    1. Stories need to be original for this contest.

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    2. Okay. Thank you!

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  24. Hi! I want to submit a story, but my first chapter is over the 2000 word limit. I've been trying to edit it down, but i'm at the point that if I take anymore out, the story is compromised. Would it be okay to submit the first 2000 words of chapter one? Thanks!

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    1. Hi, Alex! The guidelines actually say that the first chapter can be 3,000 words or less. As long as your chapter falls exactly at or under the 3,000 word limit, you should be fine. I hope you enter!

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    2. Yes, the limit is 3000 words, so a 2000-word chapter would be fine, Alex.

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  25. Hi, I just wanted to double check that the indentation is supposed to be set at 0.05, not 0.5? 0.05 seems like an unusually small indentation, so I want to be sure I'm understanding everything correctly.

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    1. Oh dear. Yes, you are correct. That should have said .5. Glad you mentioned this. If any of the entries have a tiny indentation, I will remember my error!

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  26. I just entered this last night, as I didn't even know about but I was able to get my synopsis fully polished in time! But I kinda ended it for a continuation, of which I plan to continue to later books. I hope that's okay!

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  27. Hi! I just found out about the contest yesterday and was luckily able to get my synopsis completly polished in time. I ended the synopsis on a note of continuation, as I plan to continue the book into another as a series. I was wondering if that is alright.

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