May Midgrade Madness!

It’s that time of year again!

Time for Susan and me to officially announce our next MAY MID-GRADE MADNESS challenge, where participants will write an entire mid-grade rough draft in only . . . are they serious? . . . yes, they are! . . . 72 HOURS!

Nope, that’s not a typo. 7 + 2 = 72 hours!

(And you wonder why I’m not an engineer, geesh!)

Is it insane?

Yes, we fully recognize that this challenge is, indeed, bordering on insanity.

Is it fun?

Well, we can’t guarantee there won’t be a little hair pulling, mental breakdowns, and coffee overdoses involved in this three day challenge.  However, those of us who participated last year did have fun cheering each other on and posting word counts on our SCBWI Facebook page.

Are you capable?

Oh, please. OF COURSE! You’re capable of more than you think. Seriously. You know you are. This is why we love May Midgrade Madness – because it forces you out of your comfort zone, makes you dig in deep, and discover how those limits you’ve created in your head is nothing but an illusion. After all …

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T.S. Eliot

And last year, we had five people who completed the challenge … when it was set at 20,000 words … and two writers who came very, very close proving it is possible. So I hope you’ll join us!

Here’s the nitty-gritty:

When will Madness take place?

Susan and I have chosen to complete our challenge May 21st – 23rd and we’ll be posting Facebook updates documenting our madness, hand cramps, and coffee overdoses. If those dates work for you, please join us! If not, then feel free to choose your own dates. However. It must be three consecutive days–no taking a week off and coming back to the project!

(Unless, of course, there’s an emergency.)

How long does my mid-grade manuscript have to be?

Oh, boy. We’ve been debating this for a while now since 20,000 words might have scared some folks off last year. But, this challenge isn’t called “madness” for nothing, so to earn Rockstar status and be a finisher, you must write at least 16,500 words . . . that’s 5,500 words a day, which, yes, is a lot, but completely doable.

Still want to stick with 20,000? Oh, I like you so much. You get Diva Rockstar status. 🙂

What if my story ends up being only 14,500 words, should I write blah-blah-blah over and over 2,000 times?

No, there’s no need to write blah-blah-blah over and over again because–seriously–writing a 14,500 word manuscript in three days is pretty stinking awesome. To make up those extra 2,000 words, you can either write a short story, start a new manuscript, or do an article on writing tips. (Bonus if you’re brave enough to share it on the blog!)

Can I do any plotting, characterizations, or research beforehand?

Sure, go for it.

Will I have to submit my entry to qualify?

Nope, we’re going by the honor system again because we trust you!

Do I have to write mid-grade or can it be another genre?

Hmm, we’d prefer mid-grades, since “May Picture Book Madness,” just doesn’t have the same ring, but as long as you’re writing and pushing yourself creatively, what does it really matter? **Hey, this is Susan with a suggestion. I’ve just started a new YA and was reluctant to shift gears, even though I love the idea of this challenge. So, I decided to weave it into my WIP and am going to write a novel about my protagonist as a pre-teen. I think it will be a great way to flesh out her character.  This allows me to stay in touch with my current project and participate in MMGM. And, who knows, maybe I’ll get a prequel out of it!

What if my manuscript isn’t finished by 16,500?

No biggie, my manuscript from last year ended up being around 68,000 once completed. As long as you hit the 16,500 word count, it doesn’t matter.

Can I continue with a current manuscript or do I have to begin a new one?

Well, our biggest goal with every challenge is to get people WRITING and to foster a feeling of camaraderie within our community. Our thoughts were for participants to begin a new novel, but if continuing a current novel works best for your personal goals, then by all means, GO FOR IT! As long as it is a mid-grade and you write your 16,500 in a three day period.

Cool, I’m so in. How do I enter?

All you have to do is leave a comment with your commitment 72-hour dates. Then leave another comment with your final word count. However, we’d love to hear about your progress on the way either here on the blog or on our Facebook page!

That’s it! Piece of cake, right? Let’s do this, folks!

We’ll be sending out more reminders later. Until then, get ready to get your madness on!

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About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger/vlogger at Write, Run, Rejoice and Joyful Miles, mom of two college boys, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She clearly likes run-on sentences and adverbs. She also still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that.
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18 Responses to May Midgrade Madness!

  1. I’m in for May 21-23! Melissa Jarvis

  2. Sue Frye says:

    Count me in. Not sure about the date yet, but soon.

  3. Okay…I am going to give this a try. I don’t think it will be exactly the same days. In fact, due to my work schedule, it might not be three days in a row. But, I will have 72 focused-hours between 5/23 and 5/27…I hope that’s okay.

    Cindy Callaghan

  4. Laura Bowers says:

    For those who are joining us – if you have a Facebook page, be sure to join our SCBWI MD/DE/WV group so other writers can cheer you on! See the link in the post. 🙂

  5. Tracy Gold says:

    Going to try for the 21-23rd!

  6. Lona Queen says:

    Can’t make it the 21st, so I’m going to try for the 22nd to the 24th.

  7. I just finished typing up my pages, and this year I ended up with a word count of 16,662. Guess that makes me a “Rock Star,” but not a “Diva Rock Star.” (Unless you count the fact that I wrote the whole story by hand and then managed to type up a little over 14,000 words before the 72 hour deadline expired… which kind of means that I wrote well over 20,000 words in those 72 hours, right?) – Either way, I’m pretty proud of myself for completing the challenge 2 years in a row. 😀

    • Laura Bowers says:

      Awesome job, Veronica, that’s FANTASTIC!! Especially since it was hand-written. I tried writing mine by hand on the first day … did one page … crumpled that page … did another … crumpled it … tried one last time … crumple, crumple, crumple … gave up that notion and started typing. 😉 Eh, maybe one day I’ll reach my goal of handwriting an entire novel. But seriously, congratulations, Diva Rock Star! You earned the title. 🙂

  8. Pingback: 2014 Princess Goals | Run. Write. Rejoice.

  9. Pingback: Are you ready for some May Mid-grade Madness? | As the Eraser Burns

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