Summer Writing Club August: Novelist

The struggle is real.

Every writer struggles at different stages. Some people agonize over where to begin. They stare at a blank page for days, wrestling with writer’s block. Many people give up before they’ve even started. One of the reasons that Storybird exists is to help people get past this very struggle. The artwork on Storybird is the magic that helps to unlock the words on the page, setting your story free. And many of you have done just that, creating wonderful stories bursting with creativity.

At the other end of the spectrum is the struggle that every writer will face at some time or another: How to finish the story.

Does this sound familiar? You come up with a great idea and the words pour out of you. You introduce your characters, you set the scene, your adventure begins… But after a few chapters, you hit a wall. Maybe you find you’ve gone off on a tangent and spent 1,000 words describing a scene that isn’t even relevant to the story you set out to tell. Maybe the great idea you had at the beginning just kind of fizzled out. Maybe you just got bored and decided to go hunt Pokemon instead. There are a hundred reasons why finishing a story is super, super hard. But as a writer there’s nothing better than the satisfaction of writing these two words: The end.

Last month, we started you on your way to writing a short novel, or novelette. This month, we’re going to help you finish.

August Challenge: Novelist

Over the next three weeks, we’re going to coach you all the way through to the finish so that you can call yourself a novelist, maybe for the first time! The definition of a novel is a fictitious (made-up) narrative made up of many chapters. There are many, many different genres of novels: fantasy, romance, historical fiction, and so on. But what sets a novel apart from other types of writing—like short stories, non-fiction, or poetry—is the structure and length.

Since novels take a long time to write, and they are generally much longer than our moderators can manage in a short review period, our Summer Writing Challenge focused on the novelette, or, short novel.

Last month we asked you to begin a novelette, and to write at least two chapters. This month, your job is to finish. For the final roundup this summer, we will be looking for the best finished novelettes on Storybird. You may only enter one story into the challenge, so make it your best work.

To enter this challenge, you have two options:

1. Finish the novelette you began last month. The number of chapters is not important, but the maximum word count must be less than 7500 words.

2 .Start a new novelette this month AND complete it by the end of the month. (We are only judging completed stories for this challenge.) Maximum word count is 7500 words.


1. Theme of the month: Your choice! - Your novelette can be any topic of your choosing, however please remember to follow our community guidelines and do not include identifying information in your book (last names, your town, or your school). The maximum word count for your finished novelette is 7,500 words.

To be eligible for inclusion in the monthly roundup, you must submit a completed story to the Challenge by August 25, 2016.

2. Choose your artwork – Browse our library of images to find the artwork that inspires you. Select an artist to be your illustrator, or search for a keyword to use multiple images.

3. Submit - When you have finished your chapter, select “Summer Writing Club August Challenge: Novelist” on the book details page before you submit to moderation.

4. Eligibility Any Storybird member can participate in Summer Writing Club. You join simply by participating each week. Paid membership is not required (but it will allow you to display your beautiful badges, receive printable certificates for each challenge, and get lots of other perks.)

You must have a Regular account for your story to appear in the public library and to be featured on our blog. Stories published from Student accounts are only visible to members of your class.

The Badge for this month’s Challenge is:

Do the Challenge

Need some help? Check out these posts from the July Challenge:

The Protagonist: Before you can begin, you need a clear idea of who your main character(s) will be.

The Antagonist: Every villain has a backstory. This week, we’ll look at how to build a better bad guy.

Plot: You might think that figuring out the plot should come first when you’re writing a novel. But with longer works, you often have to write the story to find out what the characters will do! This week we’ll show you how to keep everything on track and moving forward towards a spectacular finish.

Posts from the August Challenge:

Jumpstart Your Story: Learn how to get new ideas flowing when you’re feeling stuck.
Dialogue: 3 easy steps to writing better dialogue.
Endings: So how does it end?

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