Posted by: nancyisanders | October 15, 2010

Periodical Challenge: Puzzles

Puzzles are great fun to write for taking the Periodical Challenge!

Last year I wrote a puzzle and submitted it to Highlights.

In fact, Highlights has some of the greatest examples of fresh and fun puzzles there are. Especially in their PUZZLEMANIA books.

If you plan on writing a puzzle for the Periodical Challenge, follow the submission guidelines at Highlights. Even if your puzzle is for a different magazine, their guidelines are standard in the industry.

Some of you have mentioned to me that you’re interested in writing puzzles in general. (Thanks, Margaret, for letting me know!) If you want to continue writing puzzles, you can either submit finished puzzles, pitch puzzle ideas to editors in a query, or do a combination of both.

If you pitch puzzle ideas to editors in a query, just make a list of 3 to 5 ideas such as:
word search on famous NFL players
crossword on hockey terms

Try to include the puzzle “format” and a “topic.”

If you opt to do a combination of both, submit a finished puzzle along with a list of 3 to 5 puzzle ideas in your cover letter. This way, if an editor can’t use your puzzle submission for some reason, she may ask you to send her another one based on one of your ideas!


  1. Good information to know. Thanks, Nancy! Did your puzzle get accepted by Highlights?

    • Last year I submitted a puzzle to Highlights, and it got rejected.

      I was thinking about submitting another puzzle to them this year, but when I sat down to read through sample magazines, the nonfiction articles caught my eye. Why? Because in May we were invited to go watch baby hawk banding and I got tons of awesome pictures!!! So I decided I want to try a nonfiction article this year. Then, when I printed out their guidelines, I discovered you can query them for nonfiction! So I finished my query last night and am sending it out today.

      What are you working on this year for the Periodical Challenge?

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