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Outlines for Cobblestone Mags

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There is a topic at Cobblestone that really caught my eye. I've never submitted to them before. I was wondering, for those of you who have submitted a query and outline before, what do your outlines look like? Do you use phrases or whole sentences? Has anyone ever given the entire opening paragraph and closing paragraph?

Also, would it be frowned upon to use the article as the writing sample? My other nonfiction is either aimed at younger kids or was for a Christian magazine (refers to scripture, makes spiritual applications, things I wouldn't do in this one). Should I use one of those, or write something completely different for my sample? Or, since I'm starting the research anyway, would it be bad to go ahead and write it and use it as the sample?
#1 - November 02, 2014, 02:20 PM

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I've written a lot for Odyssey and I typically use a bulleted outline with sentence fragments. I always include the lede and closing sentences for each section. You can also submit it paragraph style. The important thing is to clearly express the scope of the article.

I would not recommend submitting the article as the writing sample. If it isn't exactly what they want, they might be tempted to say no. For instance, one time I pitched an article about dogs and their genes but the editor already had someone writing a general article, but she liked what I was proposing in the final paragraph so she wanted me to write that as a full article. I think it's much easier to gauge when you're given broad strokes how the whole issue will fit together and who will write what piece of it.

I hope Marcia (mal) will chime in ...

Good luck, Vijaya
#2 - November 02, 2014, 06:51 PM
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TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces

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Hi there,

I just thought I'd share that Vijaya gives great advice.
I asked this very same question when I started pitching to the Cobblestone family, and Vijaya's advice helped me get my first go-ahead.
My outline normally consists of my opening paragraph for the article (lead). Then I include a bulleted list of topics I'll cover using phrases instead of full sentences.
If you don't have an appropriate writing sample to send, I'd encourage you to write one specifically targeted for the Cobblestone market (age and reading level). When you are done, you might be able to send that draft article to a magazine that takes full manuscripts, like Highlights, Fun for Kidz, or Spider. That way you won't feel like it's all for naught.

Good luck!

Kirsten
#3 - November 03, 2014, 01:01 PM
Kirsten W. Larson

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Thank you, Vijaya and Kirsten! That was really helpful. I love these boards. Everyone is so willing to help with good advice.
#4 - November 04, 2014, 11:04 AM

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