2018 YA and Middle Grade Fiction Contest


What are stories for middle grade and young adult readers?

Test your skill,
attend a workshop,
and enter the contest.


Middle grade readers are typically ages 8 through 12. Stories generally focus on friends, family and the protagonist’s immediate world and relationship to it, with minimal self-reflection. The characters react to what happens to them. There is no profanity, graphic violence or sexuality in middle grade. Romance, if any, is limited to a crush or a first kiss.


Young Adult stories are for ages 13 through 18 years old. Characters can be up to 18 (but not in college). YA protagonists discover how they fit in the world beyond their friends and family. They spend more time reflecting on what happens and analyzing the meaning of things.

CLICK HERE to watch a video interview, posted below, with a contest judge about writing for this age group.


First prize:
$100 plus...

A 10-page manuscript critique by literary agent Jennifer March Soloway, Andrea Brown Literary Agency, andreabrownlit.com



Jennifer March Soloway is an associate agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She represents authors and illustrators of picture book, middle grade, and young adult stories, and is actively building her list. Prior to joining ABLA, Jennifer worked in marketing and public relations in a variety of industries, including financial services, health care, and toys. She has an MFA in English and Creative Writing from Mills College and was a fellow at the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto in 2012. To learn more about Jennifer, follow her on Twitter, @marchsoloway, and find her full wish list at www.andreabrownlit.com.

Second prize:
$50 plus...

The complete set of the Accelerati Trilogy written by Eric Elfman and Neal Shusterman

Third prize:
$25 plus...

A copy of "The Lost Celt" by A.E. Conran

Winners announced:

Sunday, December 9, 2018

at the Redwood Writers
general membership meeting
2-4:30 p.m.
Flamingo Hotel
Santa Rosa

*In addition to the cash awards, every winner receives a certificate.

Winning stories will be published online.
The first-place story is published in winners' flier.



In addition to all Redwood Writers members, the contest is open to:
• All CWC members, regardless of residence.
• Non-member residents of Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Mendocino, Lake, Humboldt and Solano counties.


Submission dates:

Open: Sunday, September 9, 2018
Close: Sunday, October 21, 2018, at 9 p.m.


California Writers Club




(Not a member yet?
Click here to find out why you should join the Redwood Writers.)


Writing for Middle Grade and Young Adult Readers

Join our panel of judges for a presentation and discussion on the ins and outs of writing middle grade and young adult stories.

Topics will include:


Agent accepts submissions for 6 months!

  • age range
  • voice
  • points of view
  • appropriate and inappropriate content
  • character arcs
  • writing and submission tips

Abigail Samoun of Red Fox Literary, who is usually closed to unsolicited submissions, will accept submissions from attendees of the Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction workshop for a period of up to six months after the workshop. Submission details will be provided at the workshop and emailed to attendees. This is available only to those who attend and are present at the workshop.

Email questions to [email protected], or use the form, below.

Workshop Details:

Sunday, September 9, 2018
10 a.m. – noon
in the Walnut Room
at the Flamingo Hotel
2777 4th Street
Santa Rosa

Seating is limited so RSVP early!


Redwood Writers
Members: $20
Non-members: $25

At the Door:

Redwood Writers
Members: $25
Non-members: $30




Complete the workshop registration form, and we'll see you on Sunday, September 9, at 10 a.m.

Meet the team of judges / workshop teachers:


Amanda Conran

Amanda will focus on aspects of writing for the middle grade reader. Topics include age range, voice, points of view, appropriate and inappropriate content, character arcs, writing and submission tips etc.


Amanda E. Conran's first middle grade novel, The Lost Celt, (Goosebottom Books) has won multiple awards, and draws upon time-travel conspiracies, Roman and Celtic history and the stories of Irish warrior hero Cuchulain, but ultimately deals with the invisible effects of war on veterans and their families throughout the generations, and the transcendent power of friendship. She is also a children’s book specialist at The Book Passage in Corte Madera.


Eric Elfman

Eric will tackle aspects of writing for the Young Adult reader. Topics include age range, voice, points of view, appropriate and inappropriate content, character arcs, writing and submission tips, and so on.


Eric Elfman is the award-winning author of 14 books for kids and young adults, including the Accelerati Trilogy: Tesla’s Attic, Edison’s Alley and Hawking’s Hallway, from Disney-Hyperion Books, which Eric co-wrote with Neal Shusterman. Eric has also been on the faculty of the Big Sur Children’s Writers Workshop for the past 12 years, and among his editorial clients are a number of award-winning and NY Times bestselling authors.


Abigail Samoun

Literary agent Abigail Samoun of Red Fox Literary will discuss the importance of first pages, and the querying and submission process.


Abigail Samoun was an in-house children’s book editor for more than ten years, working on a wide range of projects, from board books to young adult novels. In 2011, Abigail made the transition from editing to agenting, co-founding Red Fox Literary with Karen Grencik, www.redfoxliterary.com. She is also the author of several children’s books including What’s In Your Purse? (Chronicle Books) and The Little Traveler series (Sterling Publishing).



Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction Contest Chair, Natasha Yim, interviews contest judge, A.E. Conran, author of the middle grade novel, The Lost Celt, on the challenges of writing the book, what defines middle grade, parameters of writing for this age group, and submission tips.

Watch Natasha's interview with Red Fox literary agent and contest judge Abigail Samoun for tips about formatting query letters, and more information.


Please observe the following contest rules; otherwise, your entry may be disqualified.

  • DO NOT place your name or contact information anywhere on your submission. This is a blind judging.
  • Submit as a docx, doc, or pdf.
  • Page-count: Submit the first 10 pages of your manuscript. Anything after page 10 will NOT be read!
  • Work must be previously unpublished by a traditional publisher and can be excerpts from larger works.
  • Format: Manuscripts must be double-spaced and use 12-pointTimes New Roman font.
  • Number the pages, top right.
  • Only ONE submission per entrant.
  • Please use the online form to submit your entry and payment. Only submissions uploaded via the online form will be accepted for judging.
  • Immediate family members of judges and chairs of this contest are not eligible to submit.
  • Upon submission, if you choose to pay with a check, please make check out to "CWC Redwood," and write "YA Contest" on the memo line.
    Please mail check to:
    Redwood Writers
    P.O. Box 4687
    Santa Rosa, CA 95402

Questions should be addressed to:
[email protected]
or use the form, below.




Natasha Yim is a children’s author, freelance writer, playwright and editor. She has published five picture books and written for the children's magazines Highlights for Children, Appleseeds, Faces, and Muse magazines as well as various adult magazines. Her recently completed picture book project for Disney Publishing Worldwide, Mulan’s Lunar New Year, will be released in October 2018. She is currently working on two middle grade novels and a couple of picture books.

Email questions and comments to [email protected]




Complete the contest registration form, and upload your story.

Questions? Comments?

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