Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 8, 2012

Middle Grade Mystery Contest

Happy Easter and Passover!

We constantly hear from editors that the vast majority of the manuscripts they receive are rejected because they were not written to the editor’s specifications. Few editors will consider a story or article that does not meet their specs—precisely.

Writing contests also have exact specifications. That’s why writers are encouraged, new ones and old pros too—to enter contests. They’re excellent professional training experiences and, if you win, they can get you published and pay healthy prize money.

The winners in this contest will be published in Children’s Writer, the monthly newsletter that goes to almost 1,300 children’s book and magazine editors in North America. Along with the winning pieces, Children’s Writer will publish an article about the top-ranked entries and their authors. There are also cash prizes. The cash prizes alone are a lot of good reasons to write a piece and enter.

Middle-Grade Mystery Contest

The contest is for a well-constructed fictional mystery that will engage readers 9 to 12, to 900 words. Entries will be judged on structure, appeal for the audience, use of the best elements of the mystery genre, and an interesting protagonist.

Among the possibilities are a scary but age-appropriate story, a puzzle the reader is asked to solve using problem-solving skills, or a mix of mystery with another genre, such as historical, inspirational, or humorous fiction. The judges will look for originality, and publishability.

Entries must be received by April 30, 2012. If you are a subscriber to Children’s Writer, your first contest entry is free to those who include their account number on page one of their manuscript. All others pay an entry fee of $15, which includes an 8-month subscription. Winners will be announced in the October 2012 issue.

Prizes: $500 for first place plus publication in Children’s Writer, $250 for second place, and $100 for third, fourth, and fifth places.

The contest rules are important. Please read them carefully.

Now warm up your computer and write a $500-winning middle-grade mystery!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I have ALways loved “Children’s Writer.” Wonderful articles, contests and all things for children’s writers 🙂 Great illustration, by the way. They should do what you do, Kathy, and use it as a prompt 🙂


  2. Thanks for posting Kathy! I’m off to check out the contest details. 🙂


  3. Probably a dumb question, but does “to 900 words” mean 900 words or less?


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