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I am currently hosting a writing competition at my university. We will be accepting manuscripts for children’s nonfiction books for ages 4-8. We are working on the timeline for the project. How long should I give the students to create their work. Should the deadline be 2 months away, 6 months?  What is a reasonable amount of time to give someone to create a manuscript for that age group?
#1 - September 23, 2018, 02:20 PM

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It depends on what the students have experience with. I've written NF PBs for this age group within 2 weeks to 2 months and some even 2 yrs. Sometimes, the research takes a goodly portion of a month, the writing only a couple of weeks. So make sure you build in some time for choosing topics, research, and the writing.
#2 - September 23, 2018, 05:50 PM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces

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I agree with Vijaya. I also think you have to consider the purpose of the books. Are they for classroom use or for kids to pick on their own? Books for the classroom may have more limited options in terms of topics. If you're assigning topics than student wouldn't need as much time as if they had to explore options and research each to see what will work.
#3 - September 23, 2018, 08:15 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

It depends on what the students have experience with. I've written NF PBs for this age group within 2 weeks to 2 months and some even 2 yrs. Sometimes, the research takes a goodly portion of a month, the writing only a couple of weeks. So make sure you build in some time for choosing topics, research, and the writing.


For some more background. Through our faculty and staff, we will be able to provide writing help. But we will accept manuscripts from all students so we will have to assume not all will have very much book writing experience at all apart from that guidance. These will be nonfiction children’s books from ages 4-8. They will be writing about any topic as long as there is representation of African decent. In your opinion, if you saw these requirements and the deadline was 2 months away, would you think that was unreasonable? Would you think the students need more time? Would 4 months be a better timeline?
#4 - September 25, 2018, 05:58 AM

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Two months is not at all unreasonable, though for a first time book writer, I think four months would be so much better, but then again, writing fast and furious can stop procrastination in its tracks. I hope you know that writers are the BEST at procrastination. I'm in favor of the 2 month period. One thing I like to do when teaching writing is to make sure students hit some milestones, esp. for a longer project that requires multiple steps. Now that you've shared more about your project, I'd treat it how publishers solicit manuscripts.

Have the students write a pitch: query with outline + resources. Have one deadline for this (1 month).
Then you accept their pitch, give any feedback you think they need and then they have a month to write the book.
So yes, 2 months. No need to drag it out 4 months. And good luck to all your students! This will be a very useful exercise for them and some might even have a publishable manuscript at the end of it.

Here's a helpful article I wrote about querying: https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com/2016/09/query-letters-personal-journey.html
#5 - September 25, 2018, 08:04 AM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces

Thank you! I like this idea a lot. This has been extremely helpful!
Two months is not at all unreasonable, though for a first time book writer, I think four months would be so much better, but then again, writing fast and furious can stop procrastination in its tracks. I hope you know that writers are the BEST at procrastination. I'm in favor of the 2 month period. One thing I like to do when teaching writing is to make sure students hit some milestones, esp. for a longer project that requires multiple steps. Now that you've shared more about your project, I'd treat it how publishers solicit manuscripts.

Have the students write a pitch: query with outline + resources. Have one deadline for this (1 month).
Then you accept their pitch, give any feedback you think they need and then they have a month to write the book.
So yes, 2 months. No need to drag it out 4 months. And good luck to all your students! This will be a very useful exercise for them and some might even have a publishable manuscript at the end of it.

Here's a helpful article I wrote about querying: https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com/2016/09/query-letters-personal-journey.html
#6 - September 25, 2018, 08:07 AM

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I like it too. V knows her stuff.
#7 - September 25, 2018, 08:51 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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