When writing for children, take a LEAP—write a story that teaches (LEARN), captivates (ENTERTAINS), AND gets the child to do something (PROVOKES).
Welcome to the Winners Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL and IFW Contest winners. Today we’re celebrating McKelle Anderson whose entry There is Nothing Scary Here came in First Place in our Great Outdoor Picture Book Contest!
What contest was your winning entry submitted to?
Great Outdoor Picture Book Contest
How many writing contests have you entered?
Just a couple so far.
Please give the title of your entry and a short summary of the story.
In THERE IS NOTHING SCARY HERE young campers seek the source of an ominous light, confident
that there is nothing to fear. But the bravado starts to wither when every step towards the light is
haunted by creaks and croaks, and shapes in the shadows.
What inspired your winning entry?
This story was actually inspired by a true story, and one of my more embarrassing moments. Only in the true story it wasn’t a bunch of kids getting progressively more terrified, it was fully grown me and my husband imagining monsters with every step. If you’ve read the story and learned what the ominous light was, well, consider it confirmed that I am a chicken.
How has entering this contest helped your writing?
Winning has been a real confidence boost of course, and it came at a perfect time. I think we all know the feelings of doubt that creep in. Plus, contests are a different kind of scary than queries, so it was a fun way to be brave and put my work out there in a different way than I was used to.
How did the critique in the Winners’ Workshop help you?
Lori Mortensen’s critiques and particularly her general guidelines of what she saw that made manuscripts stand out was super helpful. Her tips were so applicable to literally every type of PB manuscript and I plan to reference my notes from the webinar while revising all of my manuscripts and not just the one associated with this contest.
How long have you been writing?
What will you do with your piece now that it’s been recognized?
I plan to take it to the trenches and see if it will then take me somewhere with pens and contracts. Fingers crossed.
Any fun plans for the prize money?
Not sure yet, but all of my celebrations begin with ice cream.
What do you do when you’re feeling discouraged or blocked? Do you have any tips for your fellow writers?
I rely heavily on people who believe in me and my talent. It is so important to find people who can build you up when you are struggling. My family is huge for me, but I also really encourage fellow writers to find encouraging critique partners. I wasn’t able to watch this webinar live but my inbox got flooded by mulitiple CPs emailing me congrats. And they send that positivity when the successes are non-existent too.
If you could go to the yard sale of any character in the history of children’s literature, whose would you go to, and what would you buy?
I would like to go to Ella Enchanted’s yard sale to buy her carving done by Slannen. That book solidified my love of reading, and Slannen’s work sounds incredible.
Anything you’d like to share about your IFW experience?
Thanks ICL for the great opportunities and contests you create. I’m so grateful a friend pointed me your way!
Are you our next winner? Check out current writing contests.
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