Friday, January 28, 2011

How the Marathon Works

During February 2011, over 400 children's writers worldwide will be "writing" a picture book marathon. A marathon goes approximately 26 miles. We’ll be writing 26 picture books.
There is no cost to join, we won’t release your email to anyone, and you don’t need to publicly post your work. The marathon is designed as a motivational tool to jumpstart your writing. 
How it works:
Write one picture book each day, starting February 1.
Continue for 26 days. 
However, since February has 28 days, this leaves you two rest days. We suggest you save at least one of those days to "treat" yourself during the last week.
Some days, all you'll be able to scrape together is five writing minutes - so make them five productive ones. And, if they're not, well, some days are like that.

A picture book is here defined as (1) a story or narrative, (2) with a beginning, middle, and end, (3) for children, and (4) intended to be illustrated. Remember, these are likely to be rough, rough drafts. (Very rough!)
You need to get enough down each day to capture the plot, characters, and feeling you're trying for, so that when you come back to it in March, you have a good basis for rewriting.

Rather than the emails we used last year, we’ll be tallying picture books with a survey this year. Each Saturday evening, we will email you a survey link. Click on the link (or paste it into a browser window), and enter your weekly total and your total for the marathon. 
You’ll need to respond by Sunday night for your number to be included in the week’s tally. If you miss a week, no worries - just submit it as part of your running total the following week. 
There’s now a link on the website to a marathon calendar. You can print this out for your own record keeping if you’d like (choose landscape - you might have to shrink it to 90% to get it on one page).
You can connect with and encourage others through the marathon blog. You'll also find story starters on the website during February. We’ll evaluate the formation of online critique groups later in the month.
The deadline for signup is January 30.
And that's it. Plain and simple, hopefully without much to distract you from writing!


  1. Do we post a tally for number of days participated or number of hours worked? Just curious. Will hopefully be explained in the weekly email, right? Thanks for this creative kickstart to 2011!