That's a wrap! Congratulations to all our winners. The Book Arts Bash now has its own domain name, and a brand new web site for a new Bash in 2010. Visit us here!

Please visit the Favorite Poem Project, and hear Americans read the poetry they love.

Dear Book Bash Participants,

Could the finalists in the 3-6th grade novel excerpt category please contact us at as soon as possible? We're looking for Abby F, Nico C., Christian A., Shannon A., and Lydia A. Thank you!

Lydia and Sherene

Submission Guidelines:

Novels are strange creatures and take many forms and lengths. We welcome your novel submission of under 10,000 words or your 10,000 word excerpt of a longer work. Any genre is welcome. Keep in mind that a chapter book for young readers is usually between 5000 and 25,000 words. A middle grade novel is usually between 30,000 and 50,000. Teen novels can be 50,000 and up, and a full length novel for the adult market is usually at least 70,000 words.

Kindergarten-6th: Your novel must be at least 5,000 words and no more than 10,000. It must be divided into chapters. You may submit your entire novel.

7th-Adult: If your novel is over 10,000 words, please only submit an excerpt of the first 10,000 words, or 40 pages. This should roughly equate to three chapters, and is the traditional length for submitting to agents and editors who ask for a "partial" manuscript.

Novels must be typed in 12 point font, double spaced, and printed on one side of the paper. One page of 12 point font, double spaced, roughly translates to 250 words, so we're looking for 40 pages or fewer. Novels should be stapled or firmly clipped together with a strong clip, entry form clipped to the front, and your name should appear on every sheet of paper you submit. Illustrations are optional. If you illustrate your novel, include the pictures in the sheaf you staple together, but please put each on a separate sheet of paper. Illustrations do not count toward the page count limit.

Teaching this Genre:

While it may seem intimidating or even impossible for a young child to write an entire novel, it can actually be very energizing and empowering to take on this kind of challenge, for a person of any age. For young children, it's a good idea to start with a plan. Decide how many chapters you will have, where each will take place, who will be present, and what will happen in each one. After making this plan, write in small chunks - one chapter at a time or one scene at a time. It's perfectly okay to take dictation from a child who isn't comfortable writing or typing his own novel. You may be surprised how fast you get to 5000 words!

It helps to consider the elements of a novel in terms of traditional plot structure:

Inciting Incident
Rising Action

Of course there are a million permutations of this idea, but for a young writer, keeping it simple helps.

More tips:

1. Try analyzing the plot structure of favorite movies or books. Make character lists and introduce vocabulary like protagonist, antagonist, supporting character. Figure out where the inciding incident happens -- where is the point of no return where the plot gets started? Figure out where the climax happens -- where is the moment where the main character resolves his problem or overcomes his obstacle?

2. Don't criticize a student's work for being derivative. Writing a novel at all is tough -- originality will come. Encourage your child to include familiar elements, and if it all starts to look like Finding Nemo, relax. The second one will be better!

3. Pacing is tough for young writers, who tend to linger on some sections too long and then romp through other sections too quickly. While the child is writing a first draft, let go of these concerns. After the words "The End!" are reached, go back through the whole thing and work together on finding which sections need to be filled in with more detail, and where extraneous descriptions can be cut.

2008 Finalists:

3rd-6th Grade:

Abby F., Azalea
Nico Chiodi., Dark Days
Christian A., An Unexpected Adventure
Shannon A., Road to Ireland
Lydia A., Mae

7th-9th Grade:

Bevan Kyle M., The One of Twelve
Adam Christopher L., The Kingdom of Dreams and Shadows
Holden M., Speed Limit: 60 Minutes an Hour
Emily H., Par Normela
Mara P., When Cats Take Over the World
Rhiannon H., The Battle for Menkanon

10th-12th Grade:

Paul H., Portal
Samuel O., Tempest
Vienna H., Chasing Windbirds


Elysia W., Pieces
Jamie Smith H., Convinced
Kristi H., The Palace Sweeper
Rebecca W., The Other Side of Jacob's Peak

For 2008 results, look at our winners page.