Teens Can Write, Too!

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CritFest: Submission Window & Participants Announced!

***THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED! Thanks so much to all who participated, and be sure to follow this blog for more contests!***


One week ago, we announced CritFest, our  massive (and, you know, pretty awesome) short story critique competition for writers of the ages 13-20. As a recap, we have ten industry professionals participating, ranging from editors to literary agents to authors who are all awesome and knowledgeable and sure know how to critique. And today, we get to announce those fantastic participants, along with the submission information.

So, are you ready to meet the participants?


Sure you are.

In no particular order, our participants:


Shade (Shade, #1) Possess Code Name Verity

Ginger Clark, top-notch literary agent at Curtis Brown Ltd, representing fantastic YA authors like Elizabeth Wein, Jeri Smith-Ready, Gretchen McNeil, and more!


Jodi Meadows

Incarnate (Newsoul, #1)    Asunder (Newsoul, #2)

Jodi Meadows, author of the popular INCARNATE (HarperCollins, 2012) and ASUNDER (HarperCollins, 2013)


Victoria Schwab

The Near Witch (The Near Witch, #1)      The Archived (The Archived, #1)

Victoria Schwab, author of THE NEAR WITCH (Disney, 2011) and the totally amazing THE ARCHIVED (Disney, 2013)


Leigh Fallon

Carrier of the Mark (Carrier Trilogy, #1)    Shadow of the Mark (Carrier Trilogy, #2)

Leigh Fallon, author of the popular CARRIER OF THE MARK (HarperTeen, 2011) and SHADOW OF THE MARK (HarperTeen, 2013)


Kat Zhang

What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles, #1)

Kat Zhang, author of of the newly released (and excellent) WHAT’S LEFT OF ME (HarperTeen, 2012)


Thumbnail photo of children's and young adult author Cath Crowley

Graffiti Moon    A Little Wanting Song

Cath Crowley, author of the award-winning GRAFFITI MOON (Pan Macmillan, 2010), A LITTLE WANTING SONG (Knopf, 2010), and more!


Jeyn Roberts

 Dark Inside (Dark Inside, #1)    Rage Within (Dark Inside, #2)

Jeyn Roberts, author of the the thrilling DARK INSIDE (Simon & Schuster, 2011) and RAGE WITHIN (Simon & Schuster, 2012)


Emily Steele, awesometastic editorial director at Medallion Press, publishing YA authors like Rachele Alpine and many more!



(We’re still looking for two more participants, which we’ll most definitely find by January. If you’re an agent or editor or published YA author and would like to participate, please email me at TeenRiter(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks!)


Um, WOW. Look at the awesome! Look at it! These critiques will rule, guys.

So, you want to participate?

We’ll be accepting your short stories for CritFest over the course of the next month and a half. The top ten finalists, chosen by Sharon (my amazing contest co-host. Find out about her here) and I, will win full critiques of their short stories (done privately) from one of the above industry professionals! Believe me, it’s not every day that you get critiques by professionals, especially not these amazing professionals.

But that’s not the extent of the awesome! Even if you don’t make the top ten, the ten runner-ups that Sharon and I choose will move to a separate voting stage. Each of these entries will be posted on the blog for you guys to vote for your favorite and possibly make critiques of the entries. The top three will win fantastic prizes, which will be along the lines of ARCs, perhaps some sort of critique from Sharon or I, and other things. One random commenter will also win a prize. Note: If you don’t want to enter for this part of the contest—only the first one, where your work is not posted—please say so in your entry.

As a recap, the rules:

–  To participate, you must be of the ages 13-20. No exceptions.

–   You don’t need a finished manuscript or anything special. All you need is to write and polish a 3k-5k word short story and submit it to us during the appropriate time.

–  For your entry to be counted, you must tell us in the entry whether or not you’d like to participate in the voting stage, too, in case you end up to be one of the ten runners up.

–  The story must not have been previously published on your blog or elsewhere.

–  Only one entry per person.

–  Please only enter if you’re genuinely interested in a critique from these industry pros. The critiques will be nice but honest, so if you’re looking for a cheerleader, this contest is not for you.


Submission Info & Dates:

–  The short stories should be 3k – 5k words in length and should be some form of Young Adult, although genres within the Young Adult category work too. Other than that, anything goes. There’s no set prompt; just a short story.

–  You can start submitting your short story today, October 26th. If you’d like a first paragraph critique of it by me, see here.

–  The deadline for entries is December 30th.

–  We’ll announce the top ten finalists as well as who will critique their stories on January 10th, and we’ll post the ten runners up for the voting round the next day.

– Please send your submissions to TCWTContests(at)gmail(dot)com. Short stories should be attached as a .doc file. We’ll respond with a receipt of confirmation after one week. If you don’t get a confirmation after that time, please resend and let us know via comment. Formatting of the email should look like this:

Name/Pen Name:



One sentence pitch of your short story*:

Whether you’d like to have your story posted on the blog, if you’re one of the runners-up:

[Attach the short story as a .doc]


And that’s it!


If you decide to participate…

This event is obviously pretty large, and we’d really appreciate anything you can do to spread the word. Tweets, facebook posts, etc. are awesome (but not required). Or if you blog, we’d really appreciate any mention of CritFest in a post, or even adding our CritFest badge to your sidebar. You can get the HTML for that here:

<div align=”center”><a href=”https://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/critfest-submission-window&#8221; title=”CritFest”><img src=”https://teenscanwritetoo.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/critfest2.png&#8221; alt=”CritFest” style=”border:none;” /></a></div>

Or grab the image here:


Thank you!

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Is anyone as excited as I am?

*Don’t freak out about this. It is not a big deal at all, and no, we won’t disregard your story because of a bad pitch. We just want an idea of what the story is about coming in.



About Michael Waters

I'm Michael, I'm eighteen, and I blog about YA books for Barnes & Noble.

18 comments on “CritFest: Submission Window & Participants Announced!

  1. Miriam Joy
    October 27, 2012

    And this is where I wish I was actually capable of writing short stories… 😉

    I’ll get someone to prompt me something and see what happens. Because my other one is DEFINITELY too long. (4k and I’m like a third of the way through.)

  2. M. Saint-Germain
    October 27, 2012

    John – You are amazing! This is such an opportunity for young writers. I’ll tweet and share it at my FB page. If anyone would like a little help with writing FLASH FICTION Ben did a guest post on the HOW TO’s at my blog. Ben is the editor of a short fiction magazine called SPLICKETY. I hope it helps. Good luck everyone!


  3. M. Saint-Germain
    October 27, 2012

    John — One more thing… It would really help if you had plug-ins at the end of your posts where a person could click and TWEET and STUMBLE and FB right from your site. (Just an idea.) You might get more traffic that way.

  4. loonytuney
    October 27, 2012

    This is so fridging exciting! I have to figure out how to write a short story before December 10th. Interesting. Isn’t it weird that, for me, writing novels is easier?

    Of course it is. I’ll share on Twitter and probably on my blog (good luck getting traffic from there!). Sounds amazing 🙂

  5. Rachele Alpine
    October 27, 2012

    What a great contest! And I can vouch for Emily…she’s an amazing editor! : )

  6. Michale Failyn
    October 27, 2012

    Reblogged this on Chaleness.

  7. gabriellan
    October 27, 2012

    Reblogged this on Of a Writerly Sort.

  8. alicejane011
    October 28, 2012

    Holy macaroni, this is amazing. :O

  9. mariellakatharine
    October 29, 2012

    Reblogged this on Mariella Hunt and commented:
    I’m entering.

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  13. bandersontps
    December 2, 2012

    Reblogged this on worldpen and commented:
    Looks like a great contest. I’ll be entering!

  14. Heather Wright
    December 3, 2012

    Just posted your link on my website, FB and Twitter. If your writers need inspiration, I have nearly 100 writing prompts for teens on my site, plus links to other writerly things for teens. http://wrightingwords.wordpress.com. Good luck everyone!

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  16. dreamsinsong
    December 28, 2012

    Just a question–I’m writing on a mac, and I don’t have Word. Can I send a link to a public Google Doc, or attach it in .pdf form?

  17. Giselle
    January 1, 2013

    Hello! I was wondering, when you said “We’ll respond with a receipt of confirmation after one week”, do you mean a week after the entry was submitted or a week after the closing date? Because it’s been more than a week since I submitted my story and I haven’t received an email… ahaha sorry for the silly question… Thanks!

  18. Pingback: CritFest – The Winners! « Teens Can Write, Too!

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