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Announcing (drum roll) the results of our "Now What?" Contest!

Now What? Young Writers Contest


We'll say it again: Wow!

We read over 650 novel excerpts as part of our "Now What?" Young Writers Contest. We read about wolf-people and time travel and real-life tragedy; we read about climate change and hidden powers and vicious villains...and about one chameleon who wants to join the CIA. 

We're not kidding when we say we enjoyed reading each and every one. You've all got  stories to tell, and we were so excited to hear them!

And now, the winners! These authors gripped us from the start. They built a world out of just a few words and left us hungry to know what happens next. Look for their winning excerpts soon in Breaking News and on the NaNoWriMo blog:

  • Grand Prize (14 - 18 Division) — Splintered by Ben
    The room looked like an office belonging to someone rather important, the kind where the person sits facing the door behind a desk and waits for people to come inside so they can tell them to sit.” Read the rest!
  • Grand Prize (13 and Under Division)  Just This Once by Stella
    “The passenger drone purrs as we glide over the fish farms, spindly black grids stretching for miles.” Read the rest!
  • Honorable Mention — Mackerel Sky by Anna
    “Rowan Everleigh was the sort of girl who drew one's attention, seated alone on a train headed north, wearing her oldest clothes and surrounded by a trunk, two suitcases, a small bird cage and an animal cage." Read the rest!
  • Honorable Mention — The Elementalists by Molly
    "Internally, I knew it was stupid to underestimate magic. But if even one aspect of this plan failed, she and I would be in serious trouble." Read the rest!
  • Honorable Mention — Imperfect by Lia
    “The cat had never seen a human either, and it was just as confused with this large two-legged creature as Katherine was with it.” Read the rest!

We also wanted to give a special shout out to the following authors, whose stories we loved and just couldn't forget. Congratulations to these Official Finalists:  

  • 13 and Under Division: Come, Come, Ye Saints by Evelyn; Game Time by Ben; Silver Moonlight by Audrey M.; Stone City by Samantha; The Crown of Akan by Daniel; The Ship Beneath the Sea by Leah; The Society of the Diverse by Lizzie; What We Aren't Told by Chloe

  • 14 - 18 Division: Breathing Underwater by Savanah; Calea, Protector of Heartbeats by Bethany; Chronicles of Escore: Sand and Sky by Georgia; Dead Girls by Aja; Five Stages of Being Okay Again by Charlotte; Ms. Claudia's Boy by Ruby; Navigating the Afterlife and Other Reasons to Cut Class by Lillian; Penny for Your Thoughts by Megan; Sedition of the Sword by Nayiri; Spiders and Signets by Sophie; Turn Around, Painted Dog by Amanda; Up in Flames by Cassia

Finally, it was sooooo (imagine that word just stretches on for miles) hard to choose just a few winners. If your story wasn't picked, it doesn't mean it was bad or that we didn't like it. Submitting stories to a contest is kind of like entering a lottery: at a certain point, it really comes down to luck. All writers—even professional ones, even famous ones—get rejected tens or hundreds of times before they get accepted. 

We encourage you to post your excerpt and read other submissions in this dedicated forum thread, and most importantly, to keep writing and revising your work! Being a writer takes guts, and you've got them.

In awe of you!
Marya Brennan, Young Writers Program Director, and the rest of NaNo HQ

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