When writing for children, take a LEAP—write a story that teaches (LEARN), captivates (ENTERTAINS), AND gets the child to do something (PROVOKES).
Contest Winner - Stephanie Bearce
What contest was your winning entry submitted to?
Middle Grade Mystery
How many writing contests have you entered?
A few. Maybe five or six.
Please give the title of your entry and a short summary of the story.
Moonrise Murder – Death has always fascinated twelve-year-old RAVEN GALLOWS. Maybe it’s because she lives in the family funeral home, or maybe it’s because of her mother’s mysterious death six years earlier. Whatever the reason, when a mummified body falls out of the wall at the Moonrise Hotel, it’s like the god of death dropped a murder case right in Raven’s lap. Literally. It’s up to Raven and a few of her best friends to find out the who, what, and why of this quirky mystery.
What inspired your winning entry?
I love mysteries, graveyards, ghosts, and mummies. I just rolled them all into one story.
How has entering this contest helped your writing?
Sometimes writers lose heart. The rejections outnumber the acceptances. It’s nice to know somebody enjoys my story and it gives me that push to keep on trying.
How did the critique in the Winners’ Workshop help you?
Kristin Wolden Nitz is insightful in her critique of a story. She has a great eye for detail and understands what hooks a reader. I learned so much from each one of the critiques she gave [during the workshop]. It is helpful to hear other people’s work being critiqued because I often struggle with the same writing problems.
Are you a full-time writer? If not, what is your “day job”?
I am a full-time writer. I mainly write nonfiction for children, but I would like to branch out into fiction. Moonrise Murder is my attempt at a new genre.
How long have you been writing?
What will you do with your piece now that it’s been recognized?
It’s headed out on submission. Fingers crossed that I get a yes.
Any fun plans for the prize money?
I’m going to take a writing class!
What do you do when you’re feeling discouraged or blocked? Do you have any tips for your fellow writers?
Take a break. Garden, paint, sew, bike, Do something that is NOT writing. Your brain needs to be refreshed. Allow yourself to think new thoughts. It works.
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’d buy the wardrobe to Narnia! (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)
Anything else you’d like to share?
ICL is a great place for writers at any stage to learn. Great teachers and helpful feedback.
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