Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 - Looking forward #newyearsday #writingchallenges #anthologies

Yesterday, I posted about looking back at 2013 and what I had managed to achieve during the year. Well, today, being the first day of 2014, is a day for looking forward. What does 2014 have in store for me (and others)?

Well, first off, I have to mention some of the challenges I am running or have joined.

2014 Writing Challenges

I need to create a new badge for 2014.
1. First up is the Chapter Book Challenge, also known as ChaBooCha. ChaBooCha is a challenge that runs from March 1st through March 31st. The goal of the challenge is to write the first draft of an early reader, chapter book, Hi-Lo book, middle grade book or YA novel during that month.

It's a very relaxed challenge in that some people join up for its designed purpose of writing their first draft, and others decide to be ChaBooCha rebels by deciding instead to finish a book that they have already begun or to revise and edit a book that they have already finished the first draft on. And that's allowed. You're not an official winner unless you've written a completed first draft, from day one to day 31, but the prize is only a really neat winner's badge for your blog or website.

And there are prizes, lots of prizes, which have nothing to do with whether or not you are succeeding at writing your story and everything to do with you being a signed-up member of the challenge and commenting on the author guest posts.

During the challenge, there are guest posts by published authors and agents with useful tips and helpful information. There's a Facebook page, to keep you informed throughout the challenge, and even a Twitter account for the challenge. (Use #ChaBooCha for posts related to the challenge.) The best part of the challenge though, is the Facebook group. It remains active all year and the members are helpful and insightful.

The challenge first ran in March of 2012 with a total in sign-ups of 23 members. In 2013, that total was 89 members. this year, we are already at 116 members and those numbers are still growing. I have a goal of us reaching 200 members before March 1st, so please spread the word!

Another benefit to joining the challenge is that signed-up members of the challenge get to contribute up to three stories to the Teapot Tales anthology. Our first Teapot Tales anthology of fractured fairy tales was created in 2013. The 2014 Teapot Tales has the theme of "Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea." I am already taking submissions for it from ChaBooCha members. (Details about the 2014 Teapot Tales anthology submissions can be found here.)

Proceeds from the anthology go towards the Chapter Book Challenge, currently to help pay for prizes and shipping of prizes, but hopefully someday to pay for advertising, a revamped website and more. (I have so many ideas for the challenge in the future, including a ChaBooCha convention with kid-lit agents in attendance.)

As always, the Chapter Book Challenge remains free to join.

I haven't made a badge for this one yet, so this will stand in place of a badge until I make one.
2. Second up is another challenge I am running. This challenge is completely new and this will be its first year. The Blog Your Book in 30 Days is exactly what its name implies. Blog Your Book in 30 Days is a challenge to write the first draft of your book by posting one chapter a day for an entire month. During the month of the challenge, helpful blog posts will be shared on the website.

The challenge has been created to help you write the book you have always wanted to write but have never written. Whether you want to write a memoir, a fiction novel, a comic book, a children's chapter book or middle grade novel or a non-fiction book, this challenge is going to help you get it done. 

Every day, you are going to do any research that is needed for the day's writing and your are going to post a blog post of one chapter of your book. By the end of the month, you should have 30 chapters and a completed first draft.

This way of writing your books works best if you are planning to self-publish your book, but there are some instances where blogs have garnered the attention of agents and publishers and resulted in book deals. Those instances are the exception though, not the rule.

For those of you worried about making your chapters public, you can enter without actually posting your chapters as long as you continue to write them as if you were going to post them. 

The Blog Your Book in 30 Days challenge has a Facebook page and a Facebook group. At this time, it does not have its own Twitter account, but you can use #BYBin30 for Twitter posts about it. You can find out more details about the challenge on the Blog Your Book in 30 Days blog.

Again, this is a completely new challenge, so I would really appreciate any help in spreading the word about it.

And now for the challenges that are not run by me, but which I am participating in:

3. Julie Hedlund's 12 x 12 - This is a challenge to write and revise 12 picture books in 2014, one picture book a month. Julie posts on many useful topics concerning picture book writing and illustrating. There are three levels to joining the challenge, with the top tier costing the most but giving the most value. I am a 12x12 "elf," which means I get to help out during the challenge. I have participated in this challenge for two years so far and this will be my third year.

As it says on the site: "In 12 x 12, you’ll get the motivation and accountability you need to get those drafts finished, all with the support of the friendliest writing community on earth."

4. PiBoIdMo - PiBoIdMo is Picture Book Idea Month and is run by Tara Lazar. PiBoIdMo runs in November and is a challenge for picture book writers. The challenge is to "create 30 picture book concepts in 30 days. You don’t have to write a manuscript (but you can if the mood strikes). You don’t need potential best-seller ideas."

5. Start the Year Off Write - start the Year Off Write is run by Shannon Abercrombie. The challenge is "21 days and 21 writing exercises to start the year off write." It's free to join and there are prizes!

6. WIP500 - WIP500 is run byCara Micheals at Defiantly Literate. The challenge is to write 500 words per day for all 365 days of 2014, totalling 182,500 words for the year. It is free to join!

7. NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month occurs in the month of November. The challenge is to write a 50,000-word novel (or 50,000 words of a novel), first draft, in the 30 days of November, from start to finish. I have participated for four or five years now and won every year. One year, I even hit over 100,000 words written. I am also the Municipal Liaison for my region. The challenge is free to join.

8. ReviMo - This is a challenge hosted by Meg Miller to revise your completed picture book drafts between January 12th and January 18th.

9. 52inaYear - The idea is to write 52 stories in a year. YOU set your rules. Working on a novel? Fine! Set a chapter or a scene as your goal. Rewriting an old trunk story? Also fine! The idea is to get work completed and (if it is your desire) out the door.

10. Doodle Day - This is a challenge hosted by Alison Kipnis Hertz. The challenge is to draw one doodle a day for a month, and you can draw whatever you want or you can follow the prompts. It runs year-round, and I haven't decided yet which month I will do this in yet.

I'm probably missing one or two of the challenges I participate in, but I'm sleepy today, so, if I remember it later, I will add it here.

2014 Anthology Projects

1. "Teapot Tales: Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea" - Submissions for this anthology are only open to signed-up Chapter Book Challenge members. Stories are flash fiction and are not to go over 800 words. The stories do not have to be written for children, but they should not have anything in them that would horrify a parent to find out their child had read. Aim for PG-13. This is the second book in the Teapot Tales series. The first book was "Teapot Tales: A Collection of Unique Fairy Tales" and was released in August of 2013. Proceeds go towards the Chapter Book challenge.

2. "Halloween Echoes: Spooky Tales from Around the World" - Submissions are open to everyone. Your stories should have a word count between 300 and 1,200 words. These stories are aimed at children of all ages. Aim for G or PG. This is the second book in the holiday series. The first book is "Jingle Bells: Tales of Holiday Spirit from Around the World" and was released in November 2013.) Proceeds go towards the Chapter Book Challenge.

3. "SuperHERo Tales 2: A Second Collection of Female Superhero Stories" - This is the second in the SuperHERo Tales series. The first book, "SuperHERo Tales: A Collection of Female SuperHERo Tales," was such a hit that I have been asked to do a second one. The rules are the same as in the first one. As with the first one, proceeds will go towards Because I am a Girl, a foundation that helps girls in third world countries.

4. "Paw Prints: Cat Stories to Warm the Heart" - (This is a working title and might be changed between now and publication.) This is an anthology of cat stories. Each story must have a GOOD photo of the cat written about to go with it, and the author must have permission to use the photo. This anthology is a great way to remember those cats who have left paw prints on your heart. Stories must be either moving, funny or cute. the word count should be between 300 words and 1,000 words. This is a new anthology series. Proceeds from this anthology will be going to the Cat's Protection League in the UK.

5. "The Superhero Chronicles" - (working title) The original anthology, "The Talisman Chronicles: A Collection of Stories Written and Illustrated by Children," is an anthology of stories written and illustrated by children. It has been requested by my kids that we create another anthology and the topic requested is superheroes. This is a direct result of the adoration they have for "SuperHERo Tales: A Collection of Female Superhero Stories" and for the incredible cover artwork for it done by Julia Lela Stilchen. Whatever the reason, this is the new topic for children to write about for a new anthology in 2014. I think the world needs to read more stories written by children. Don 't you?

6. (possibly 6 through 9) "World of the Fae" - (working title) This is the anthology that I am super excited about. This one will either be one large anthology or four smaller ones. The four themes are Autumn Court, Winter Court, Spring Court and Summer Court and may include both dark and light Fae (Seelie and Unseelie). The word count should be between 300 and 3,000 words. Not all submissions will be accepted. These are adult stories, but gratuitous sex, gratuitous foul language and gratuitous violence will earn a rejection. Depending on the quality of the stories sent in, there will either be a one volume, 50-story anthology or four volumes with 25 to 35 stories in each (depending on average length of stories). At this moment, I cannot afford to pay for stories that are accepted, but there will be a $10 Amazon gift certificate awarded to the best story in each category ("court") and a $25 gift certificate for the best story overall. At the moment, the closing date remains open. Submissions will remain open until the correct number of acceptable stories is reached. Once all stories have been chosen for the anthology, winners will be chosen. winners will get winner badges for their blogs or websites. I am hoping to be able to begin work on the anthology during 2014.


All anthologies will be published through Melusine Muse Press and will be made available on Amazon in print and for kindle.

Go look at guidelines for formatting your submissions here before submitting your stories.

Please be professional with submissions. Include no more than one space at the end of a sentence, not two. Make sure typos are corrected and that there are no punctuation or grammar mistakes to distract from the story.

Details for each of the upcoming anthologies, along with submission guidelines, will be posted on Melusine Muse Press's anthology submission page tomorrow.


My own challenge for the year ahead is going to be keeping up with all of the challenges I am joining or running while also putting together, and editing, the anthologies, while still managing to finish writing, editing and revising my own novels and stories.

Wish me luck?

And I wish you all a successful, magical and fabulous 2014!


Heather Musk said...

Good luck with all your challenges. I'm doing Jeff Goins 'My500words' in January, aiming to write 500 words everyday of the month.
I hope it'll set me up for the year.

Emily said...

Wow! I'm exhausted just reading that. Good luck with them all! And thanks for the links. Lots to think about.