October Middle Grade and Young Adult Opportunities

Welcome to our MG/YA Opportunities post! Marti Johnson and Lexi Donahue are excited to share MG/YA Opportunities each month, we started in April 2021. All opportunities listed are available to anyone with an internet connection.

Click the links to go directly to each list.

Does your local writing organization, SCBWI region, etc. host virtual events that are available to anyone with an internet connection? Would you like them listed here?  Please share the info  in the comments, or use our Contact Form.

To see what’s available all year, and what’s coming up the rest of this year, visit the MG/YA SUPPORT resource page.

Fee or free? Here’s a key:
– no fee to enter or to participate
($) – fee to enter or to participate
(*See note) – look for *explanation within the blurb 


Debut Review Challenge (free)
October-November reading challenge begins. Hosted by children’s writer Laura Renauld.

First Five Pages Workshop (free) The first Saturday of each month (except April, August, and December). Enter the raffle for the chance to be one of five randomly chosen writers to receive feedback from writing mentors across three weeks. October 2, 2021

#DVPit and #DVart  (free)
Twitter pitch party for historically underrepresented voices in children’s literature. Authors of Children’s & Teen Fiction/Nonfiction (picture books, chapter books, middle grade, young adult) use #DVpit; Artists & Illustrators use #DVart. October 2021 date to come. See website for more details. Created and moderated by literary agent Beth Phelan with assistance from authors Kat Cho and Claribel Ortega and agent Peter Knapp.

Kidlit GN Pitch Event (free) a bi-annual for MG writers and illustrators of graphic novels.

Fall Writing Frenzy (free)
Write 200 words inspired by one of the contest photos, and submit it during the specified times (to come for 2021). Prizes! Hosted by Lydia Lukidis and Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez.

Halloweensie Contest (free)
Write a 100-word Halloween story appropriate for ages 12 and under, following prompt for the current year. Prize for the winner. Hosted by children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill.

We Need Diverse Books Mentorships (free)
Pairs ten writers and illustrators who belong to underrepresented groups with experienced children’s book creators for year-long mentorships. Applications are open October 1 – 31 for the following year.

GRUB STREET offers numerous classes each month. This link will bring you to the complete list. Highlighted below are some of that seemed especially interesting

Unlocking Your Character ($) October 1st, Are you stuck in your story because you’re not certain you know your protagonist’s motivation or what they’ll say or do next? In this class you’ll do exercises to look into your character’s past and deepen them in your story.

Part of Your World: Character-Focused Worldbuilding in YA ($) October 1st Explore how tight world-building can help shape character arcs and introduce natural points of plot and friction, plus dive into simple ways to apply this to your work in progress.

Jumpstart Your YA Novel ($) October 6th  this course is for anyone looking for the tools and motivation to get their YA or Middle Grade novel out of their heads, and onto paper. Over six weeks, you will learn the essential aspects of novel writing, and put them into practice to make progress on your own draft.

Understanding Show, Don’t Tell ($) October 8th We’ll unpack this golden rule of writing on the scene and the sentence level and discuss why it’s important to both show and tell. We’ll review published excerpts and practice with a few in-class exercises.

#KidLit: Writing Dialogue for Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels ($) October 16th Through a series of short lessons, writing exercises, interactive listening activities, and peer review, we’ll explore what makes for honest dialogue that kids will find relatable and engaging.

October Friday Night Writes (Free) October 29th In 60 jam-packed minutes, you’ll meet fellow writers and get your creative juices flowing with some great writing exercises.


ONLINE LATINX SYMPOSIUM 2021: AN IN-COMMUNITY CELEBRATION OF ¡DRAMA! ($) OCTOBER 20 – 31, 2021 Latinx children’s book creators will gather online in community for an exploration of identities, craft, the business of publishing and more.

REVISING YOUR VERSE NOVEL: A THREE-PART ONLINE WORKSHOP ($) October 27-December 15 If you’ve done the hard work of drafting your novel in verse and are now ready to immerse yourself in revisions, we invite you to join Cordelia Jensen for this three-part program.

THE LOFT COURSES ($)The LOFT LITERARY CENTER offer a variety of courses each month, but not all are specifically for kidlit writers.

Confronting Bias in Craft Rachel Werner ($) October 11, 2021-November 1, 2021

Finding Creative Direction Rachel Kincaid ($) October 14, 2021-November 4, 2021

Creating Reality in Fiction Chris Cander ($) October 16, 2021

Scary Stories: How to Create Creepiness Allison Wyss ($) October 30, 2021

SCBWI Regions offer events every day of the month. This link will bring you to the calendar.

SCBWI WEBINARS Low-cost webinars hosted by SCBWI regional chapters, available everywhere.

Critiquing in the Modern World ($) October 1-2, 2021

Webinar: Revisions – How Much Revision is Too Much? (Free for members) October 2nd, 2021

How to Use Physical Action Like a Playwright Webinar ($) October 2nd, 2021

Unstuck In the Middle Webinar + Critique Opportunity with Editor Lorin Oberweger ($) October 4th, 2021

What’s Your Online Story? ($) October 7th, 2021

Emotional Storytelling Workshop ($) October 9th, 2021

Nonfiction Series Writing Intensive with Candace Fleming ($) October 10th, 2021

Harvest: SCBWI Montana’s Fall Virtual Conference ($) October 16th, 2021

WEBINAR: Let’s Be Honest: 33 Truths About Publishing ($) October 18th, 2021

Your Book on the Big (Computer) Screen: How to Make Your Own Book Trailer ($) October 27th, 2021

The Writer’s Loft

No new events in October. Check back for November!


Mini-Retreats for the Weekend Warrior with Claire Campbell – A Writer and Editor in Conversation ($) Saturday, October 17, 2021, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM CT

Nonfiction That Reads Like a Novel: Writing Middle Grade and YA Narrative Nonfiction with Candace Fleming ($) Wednesday, October 20, 2021 – Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Craft Webinar: Creating Characters Who Bite with A.S. King ($) October 28th, 2021

#write5minutes #kidlit Cohort ($)
Take small steps and #write5minutes daily using the e-book lessons with story maps and examples for all 6 children’s book genres (board books to YA) in the 2021 #kidlit Cohort August 1, 2021 – May 31, 2022 with Author and developmental editor Anastasia Suen.

The OMA Award (*See note)
The new OMA “Out from the Margins Award” will go to 8 early-career creators of children’s books from underrepresented groups, to help launch a new book and enhance a creator’s career with marketing skills and resources. Submissions will open July 2021, with winners announced December 2021. See website for guidelines. *Free, but must be (or become) a member of SCBWI to apply.



Ditty of the Month Club (DMC) (free)
Practice writing in rhyme and submit your poem. A new challenge each month, plus interviews. Hosted by Michelle H. Barnes on Today’s Little Ditty website.

Four on 400 (free) A monthly contest where 1 kidlit writer is selected to receive feedback on the opening 400 words of their manuscript (MG and YA writers) August 4, 2021.

KidLit Distancing Social (free)
A free educational hangout for kidlit writers featuring guest speakers, news, every Tuesday: 8pm Eastern Time, 7pm Central, 6pm Mountain, 5pm Pacific. Replays available here. Presented by Children’s Book Insider.

Monthly Twitter Writing Challenge (free)
Participants agree to aim for 500 words or 1 hour of editing each day for a month. Five hundred words? That’s a whole picture book. Founded by author Kristy Acevedo.

NewPages is the Portal of Independents! News, information and guides to literary magazines, independent publishers, creative writing programs, independent bookstores, alternative periodicals and newsweeklies, writing conferences and events, and more.

Reedsy (free) Weekly writing contests.

Writing Blueprints ($)
On-demand webinars and resources. Each Writing Blueprint takes a particular genre or category of book and breaks the process of writing and revising it into tiny steps. Each step then features a video with an expert instructor describing this piece of the writing puzzle and giving instructions about using the fillable PDF form for that step. From Children’s Book Insider.

Does your local writing organization, SCBWI region, etc. host virtual events that are available to anyone with an internet connection? Would you like them listed here?  Please share the info  in the comments, or use our Contact Form.

Months of a Year Banner Illustrations by Lexi Donahue
Featured Image Line Art by Valenty, Can Stock Photos



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