2016 Fiction Writing Contest FAQs

I have a number of pieces that I am proud of. Can I submit all of them?

We are currently limiting submissions to one per person. So, pick your best piece and send it our way!

I am interested in submitting short stories instead of part of a novel.  Can I do that?

We are accepting samples that are 9000 to 14000 words in length, which may be a short story; however, writers should submit a synopsis of how the story might contribute to a larger idea or point of view if they were to be fleshed out into a larger story collection.

Why do you need a story synopsis?  What are you looking for, exactly?

Because the winners’ pieces will be evaluated by Delacorte book editors, we are asking that writers do the best they can to give an overview of their story and how it  would continue past the submitted pages to give judges a sense of the envisioned story concept and structure.

My friend(s) and I like to write collaboratively.  Can we submit a work by more than one author?

No. We are currently only accepting work by individual writers.

I’m a very mature 10 year old.  Can I send you something?  Please???

No. We are currently only accepting works by writers who are 11 years to 18 years old as of the submission deadline of July 1, 2016.

Do I have to use Arial or Times New Roman fonts? They’re boring!

Yes, it is part of the required format along with size and line spacing. We are not judging your story on how pretty or interesting your font is. We are interested in the story you have to tell and being able to read it easily.

I have written some really great stories that are fan fiction. May I submit them?

Sorry, but no. We want to see your original creations, and while a lot of fan fiction shows amazing storytelling, those characters belong to another author.

Are you looking for a specific genre?

Nope. Choose your best. We don’t play favorites with genres.  🙂

How “mature” can my writing be? What if my characters curse?

YA fiction runs the full gamut with titles that work for readers of different maturity levels. In its strictest sense, YA stories are geared to be developmentally appropriate for audience members from 13 to 18 years old and everywhere in between, so this is a hard question to answer since the YA audience is so broad.

Some of the best fiction out there deals with sensitive, mature topics and uses some pretty strong language. The important thing is that it is used for a reason, such as character development or increasing verisimilitude. Think about your target audience (new teen, middle teen, upper teen), and take a look at some of your favorite YA fiction. That should give you a pretty good guideline.


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