Saturday, December 13, 2008

Random Manuscript Facts

  • 100 double-spaced manuscript pages, in Times New Roman 12 pt font, equals approximately 25,000 words
  • to figure out how many pages your manuscript might be in print, multiply the number of double-spaced manuscript pages you have (Times New Roman, 12 pt font) by 5; then, divide the total by 4. So 160 manuscript pages x 5 = 800; 800 / 4 = 200 published pages.
  • Even though most of us are not likely to write Star Trek novels, it might be a good idea to review the submission guidelines for them. The guidelines contain some good advice.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Winning Story in the Highlights Contest Coming Soon . . .

. . . to a magazine stand near you. Click here to preview of our MMS Society Co-President's story, "Rotterdam Christmas."

Congratulations, Heather!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Monthly Writing Challenge: November 2008

This month's challenge has three parts:

1. Write a poem. It doesn't have to be a good poem or a profound poem--it just needs to be a poem (line breaks, great sound quality, rhythm, imagery). If you want to use the season for inspiration, feel free.

2. Set some writing goals. November seems like a much better time to reflect on the year and where you'd like to go next than January does. (Plus, it's right now!) Writing goals can be simple--write for 15 minutes a day--or more involved: finish the novel by the end of the year, start a novel, set up a workshop group, write an article a month, etc.

3. Finish up an unfinished project and/or start something new.

Feel free to talk about or share your poems, goals, or progress here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monthly Writing Challenge: October 2008

Who better to inspire October's writing prompt than R.L. Stine?

This month's challenge is to read "Meet R. L. Stine," look over some of his titles, and then write a scene for a kid's horror story that balances the scary with humor.

Feel free to post your scene here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

And the first place winner is . . . .

. . . Brittany. Congratulations! Your writing has earned you an official award, writing supplies, and cheesecake.

(Brittany, send an email to with your mailing address and your name, as you would like it to appear on your official award certificate, and we'll send everything to you.)

Thanks to my current creative writing class who judged the contest entries. They liked all of the pieces, but in the end, the ACTION in Brittany's story is what secured her first place.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Monthly Writing Challenge: September 2008

Tell the story of this little guy. Or make up a story that's inspired by him.

Post your best entry by midnight September 30th 2008. Encourage your writer friends to post a story too!

Stories must be under 300 words and targeted to children or young adults.

They will be judged on: 1) originality; 2) appropriateness to the cheesecake creature theme; 3) use of language, imagery, sentence structure, paragraphing, and all that good stuff.

Prizes will be cheesecake- and writing-related . The number of prizes will depend upon the number of entries.

MMS Society officers may post entries, but they won't be officially entered in the competition.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Monthly Writing Challenge: August 2008

Write and post a paragraph from anything that you're working on: a novel, short story, article, essay, etc.

Then, comment on someone else's paragraph.

Happy August!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Monthly Writing Challenge: July 2008

Capture one strong image every single day in July. You can describe the image, create a metaphor with the image, explore the image philosophically.

Post and share some of your favorites here.

Monday, June 9, 2008

New Guidelines for Full Membership in MMS Society

Our new full membership criteria are listed below:

You are eligible for full membership once you have earned 5 rejection letters for manuscripts for children or young adults (e.g., short stories, poems, crafts, activities, games, articles, picture books, novels or novel proposals). Announce your rank advancement by emailing MMS at Full members are eligible to wear the official MMS Society button.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Monthly Writing Challenge: June 2008

How times flies. It's 7 days into the month, and I haven't yet posted our writing prompt.

This month's challenge is to pull out those filed away first chapters and reevaluate them. In particular look at your main character and ask:
  • Is she so likeable that we want to go on a journey with her?
  • Is she more intriguing, more driven, and ultimately more daring than ordinary humans and characters?
  • Is she dynamic (able to change)?
  • Is she filled with desires, wants, and motivations, which will drive the action of the book?
After you've analyzed your first chapter, try a revision where you strengthen your main character.

Happy writing!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Congratulations to MMS Full Member, Heather

Heather's short story, "Rotterdam Christmas," is slated for publication in the December 2008 issue of Highlights for Children. Her story won Highlights' 2006 Fiction Contest and is an example of superior writing. Congratulations, Heather!

(Number of rejection letters collected for this particular story: 0.)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Monthly Writing Challenge: May 2008

Write four scenes for a new novel or a novel-in-progress. Make sure that each scene creates a different emotion or group of emotions (e.g., scene 1) apprehension; scene 2) elation; scene 3) devastation; 4) joy, mixed with sorrow). Also, make sure that each scene features at least one strong image (try using all five of the senses).

Good luck! Feel free to post a note on how well you met this month's challenge.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monthly Writing Challenge: April 2008

Each month we will post a writing challenge that will ask you to write for various age groups and markets.

For this month, we have selected Babybug, a magazine for kids 6 months – 3 years old.

The challenge is to write either a “very simple and concrete” story in “4 to 6 short sentences” or a “rhythmic, rhyming” poem in 8 or fewer lines.

See Babybug’s complete submission guidelines at:

Read the Babybug description and sample issues at:

(Make sure to click on the link that let’s you look through the magazine.)

To help you get started:

Reading tip: Read anything that has great rhythm or rhyme, especially poetry. Read several Babybug magazines (online or at your local Barnes and Noble—check in the kids or family section of the magazines). Read simple rhyming picture books by Lisa Wheeler, Verla Kay, Rick Walton, or Kate and James McMullan. Also, read Stealing Home: Jackie Robinson Against the Odds by Robert Burleigh.

Writing tip: Look for simple, natural rhymes at:

Workshop tip: Have several people read your stories/poems. Make sure that they are simple and fun, while dealing with topics important to this very young age group. You may post works-in-progress on this blog; however, keep in mind that this is a public space. You may wish to workshop via email, over Google Documents, or in person.

Submission tip: For stories, use regular double-spaced manuscript form. For poems, single-space the text; use the regular manuscript headings. You may wish to send 2 - 3 strong stories or poems at once; this is the norm for poetry submissions.

Happy writing!

Terms of Membership for My Manuscript Stinks Society

1. You are eligible for honorary membership if you have submitted a manuscript to a publisher and been selected for induction into the society.

You are eligible for associate membership once you have earned a minimum of 1 rejection letter. Announce your rank advancement by emailing MMS at

New! You are eligible for full membership once you have earned 5 rejection letters for manuscripts for children or young adults. Announce your rank advancement by emailing MMS at Full members are eligible to wear the official MMMS Society button.

2. To remain in good standing, you must earn 1 credible rejection letter per year. Credible rejections are those earned after submitting a well-written manuscript in all earnestness to a carefully selected publisher.