1. The CANVAS Storywriting for Young Readers Competition is open to all Filipinos.
2. Entries must not have been previously published, and all entrants must warrant the originality of their submitted entries.
3. Writers may submit only one entry, which must be written in English.
4. The target readers for the stories should be young children (age 4-8 years old).
We are looking for unique and creative stories that feature a strong central character (preferably, but not necessarily, a child) who faces and overcomes a challenge or obstacle. Ideally, it would speak about a universal theme or experience, even though the story itself may reflect Philippine culture or may be situated in a particular place, province or country. The best stories stretch a young reader's imagination and speak to children in an authentic voice. They evoke real emotion, whether it is humor, love, fear, or joy.
For further guidance, here are some pointers from Kelly Sonnack, the Agent for the Andrea Brown Literary Agency who will review the finalists:
- Length: Today’s picture books are short. Try to stay under 1,000 words. Those under 700 or 500 words are even better. Make sure each word is necessary to the telling of your story (and leave room for the illustrator who’s paired with your work later on to help tell parts of the story, too).
- Plot: Traditional picture books have a traditional story arc like any other genre of fiction: a beginning, middle and end that incorporates a conflict/obstacle, has the character overcoming that conflict, and also shows character growth as the character overcomes their problem. There are other types of picture book stories, but this is the most common formula.
- Character: The character of your picture book should be close to the age of the picture book reader (4-8 years old). And be sure to let your child character be the hero of his/her own story. Don’t let an adult, pet, older sibling, be the one to rescue the child. Let the character struggle and overcome the conflict he/she is faced with.
- Topic: Choose a topic that’s unique. Editors want to see things that are fresh, special, and new. There are some topics that have been visited countless times, which makes them hard to sell since a new one has so much competition. Some of these are: ABC or 123 books, books about new pets, books about Christmas, retold American fairy tales, and bedtime books.
- Rhyming: If you choose to write your manuscript in rhyme, make sure the rhyme is perfect (that includes pattern, beats, and rhyming scheme). Rhyming books are particularly tough to sell to publishers right now.
6. Entries shall be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Originality and Storyline
- Quality of Writing
- Imagery (The story should be publishable as a picture book)
There shall be only one overall winner, who will receive Twenty Five Thousand Pesos (P25,000.00) in cash (less applicable withholding taxes).
Only the finalists will be given copies of the comments/feedback received on all the stories reviewed by the said Agency.
For Complete Mechanics, click here.