RATE YOUR STORY. If you don't know about this awesome, informational website and tool, you should check it out. They have a wonderful newsletter jammed with insider information as well as the ability for you to get your stories rated by professional authors--every month!
I am one of the authors who participates in rating these stories--for free! So, if you have a wonderful manuscript just waiting out there, send it in! A win in a contest like this will get you noticed as having something that an agent/editor might want.
If you'd like to check it out, go here: RATE YOUR STORY WRITING CONTEST
Some of the things a judge will look for:
1. Marketability--is it unique? Will children love it?
2. Emotional connection--did it make them feel something? Laugh? Cry? Bond with the characters?
3. Understanding of how to write picture books--meaning, the author thinks in pictures and the story will be enhanced by illustrations. In fact, without pictures, it wouldn't be a whole package.
4. Under 600 words. This is not a hard and fast rule, but I've found in rating lots of stories and through my own critique service that if a story goes over 600-650 words, usually, it needs to be cut or the story needs to be restructured.
5. Style elements. How does the author use these to delight their readers? Are they cleverly used? If you're not sure what I'm talking about, please read my post about style elements here: PBU Style Elements.
6. A unique, twist ending--something that surprises the reader, makes them say, awww, or just knocks it out of the park!
If you want examples of stories I think would help you and are wonderful to study, go through my PBU workshop and see the picture books I highlight. All of them are masterpieces in my opinion.
You have until March 31st to get your entries in!
Happy writing and...