SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Are Non-Standard Puzzles Okay?

Discussion started on

I hope my question isn't too vague, but for those who have had puzzles published in magazines for the 9-12 yr-old range, have you found that magazines are open to publishing unique puzzle types or are they looking for specific, established forms of puzzles (wordsearches, crosswords, mazes, hidden pictures, etc.)?

Here's an example of what I mean by a non-standard/unique type of puzzle: Our reader must figure out how to find a lost hamster by reading some sticky notes on a fridge. The notes are overlapping, so not all of the information is visible. Notes might say something like "Found an empty jar of peanut butter in the bedroom" and "The hamster loves peanut b--". The reader would then surmise that the hamster is hiding in the bedroom. This is obviously too easy, but you get the idea.

Anyway, are magazines in general open to non-standard puzzles? Are some magazines more flexible than others? Am I being far too general?
#1 - June 01, 2010, 02:35 PM
The Echo Room (Tor Teen, 2018)
Where Futures End (Penguin, 2016)

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region midsouth
I've had lots of puzzles published in magazines, and I would say that, in general, editors seem to prefer puzzles that are non-standard.  They see so much of the same-ol, same-ol, that something new and different is like a breath of fresh air. 

Of course, it needs to be well-done. But assuming that's a given, I say--absolutely get your non-standard puzzles out to magazines!

Best wishes,
#2 - June 01, 2010, 09:05 PM

Thanks. I've been looking at a bunch of different childrens' magazines and found that there are some that seem to publish only standard puzzles. I don't know if that's what those editors prefer or if they haven't had very many good non-traditional puzzles submitted.

I did notice that Hilights publishes some really great puzzles, and that their puzzles seem to be totally out of the box.
#3 - June 04, 2010, 04:16 PM
« Last Edit: June 07, 2010, 01:16 PM by Whizbee »
The Echo Room (Tor Teen, 2018)
Where Futures End (Penguin, 2016)

I would definitely agree that non-standard puzzle submissions are good. Our editors get too many crossword and word search puzzles, which they can easily make themselves with online software.

#4 - June 07, 2010, 10:05 AM
Author of over 100 nonfiction books and 500 magazine articles for young readers

Thanks, Marcia. Perhaps I'll send some non-standard puzzles to the Cobblestone mags.

And I guess if I send some to a magazine that seems to publish mostly traditional puzzles, I'll find out soon enough if they're not looking to branch out.
#5 - June 07, 2010, 01:19 PM
The Echo Room (Tor Teen, 2018)
Where Futures End (Penguin, 2016)


0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.