Posted by: nancyisanders | March 2, 2015

Challenge: Write a Chapter Book in 1 Month

CHABOOCHA calendar 2015

I hope you’re as excited as I am to join the challenge to write a chapter book in just 1 month!

This month I’m joining CHABOOCHA and am planning on writing a chapter book from beginning to end. And after I’m done, I’m planning on submitting it to Kaeden Books, who says in their submissions guidelines that they are particularly interested in receiving beginning chapter books!

So I’m going to be totally honest here.

I’m at square one just like you are.

I am starting this challenge today, just like you are.

I don’t have my characters picked out.

I haven’t the slightest idea what my plot will be.

I don’t even know my setting.

But the one thing I DO have is my mentor text. It’s The Red Flyer Roller Coaster which is published by Kaeden Books.

So this month here on my blog, I’ll be sharing step-by-step what I’m actually doing to write this chapter book from beginning to end.

If you want to write one using the same mentor text so you can follow along more closely with me, then go ahead and order it in. If you have your own mentor text or if you want to write a middle grade novel instead of a early chapter book, you might benefit more from following along with my Middle Grade Novel teleclass workshop.

And if you sorta kinda wanna try writing this challenge but you’re just nor sure how practical it is to write a whole book in one month, I’ll let you in on a couple of insider information on the real world of a children’s writer.

This last week I heard out of the blue from an editor who offered me a contract for a 6-week project to write a 8000-9000-word manuscript for teens. (That’s 3 times as many words as THE RED FLYER ROLLER COASTER and what I’ll be writing this month for my chapter book.)

And I also had a phone call from another editor last week who said that IF they decide to move forward on a chapter book for which they MIGHT offer a contract to me, it might need to be a really fast turnaround. Like maybe three weeks for 10,000 words.

So it’s challenges like the one we’re doing here on my blog this month that help me strengthen my writing muscles and keep in shape to feel capable to sign these contracts and then write and deliver those manuscripts. (And then get the nice paychecks in the mail!)

I hope you decide to join in the adventure!

As I explained, I’ll basically be sharing here on my blog the actual steps I’m taking to write my own chapter book this month.

And the first thing I did was make a calendar to follow. I don’t know about you, but calendars help me pace myself and get a project done on time. I don’t always stick with a calendar, but I make adjustments if I need to as I move along.

As you can see if you look at today’s assignment on the calendar, today’s a good day to read your mentor text and brainstorm ideas for your main character. Kaeden Books says in their submission guidelines that they are particularly looking for “manuscripts with strong characters with potential to become a series.” Plus they expand that to say they’re looking for “interesting characters that will appeal to children in pre-kindergarten through second grade.”

Let me know if you need help on how to brainstorm characters that fit this description.

Also, you can print out the calendar that I’m going to follow. But if your writing schedule is different or you’d like to use a blank calendar, I also included a blank calendar with the monkey in the middle OR a totally blank calendar with no graphics at all for you to use. You can download and print them out here:

CHABOOCHA calendars


  1. Thanks for the calendar – great way to organize one’s writing. I am reading your book at the Word byWord Facebook group and enjoying it! Will definitely be following you along on your journey as I try to write my chapter book.

    • Yay! So glad you are joining in on the fun. And glad you like the calendar, too.

  2. Thank you, Nancy. You have saved me a lot of work. I am thrilled to be doing this with you. xo

    • It’s nice to be doing this with you, too, Robyn!

  3. Great that you’re joining in the challenge. I look forward to following your progress. I usually get my draft written in 2 weeks! It’s the editing that takes ages.

    • Wow, you’re a fast writer…good for you!!!!

  4. I feel like I’m skidding in here @ 60 mph. I need to quickly review what’s going on and get myself going! Glad to be following you on this writing adventure. Sorry if I ask questions that have already been asked. Is there a Q&A log (yet)? I plan to review the text you’ve selected, but how can I review other books they’ve published? I’d like to get a feel for what they like.

  5. How exciting and I love learning about your process. I am also going to participate with you on this journey. Printing the calendar right now. Thank you.

    • You’re welcome! It’s fun to do this together.

  6. Woot Woot! Congratulations on landing more work, Nancy. I can’t even begin to imagine how fast you must write. Still keeping all your blog posts. 🙂

  7. Thank you for the calendar

  8. Hi Nancy,
    I am intrigued by the concept of writing a Chapter book in a month, but i’m very skiddish about trying it. I know zilch about writing chapter books. I would love to give it a shot, but I have no idea what I would want to write about and I have not checked into what types of chapter books publishers are looking for?
    Maybe I should just follow along for the process and see where it leads me?

    • Hi Kathy, I think your idea is wonderful. Just follow along…click on the links that I provide, try out some of the exercises for size, and see where this journey leads you. For starters, you might want to see what kind of chapter books Kaeden publishes. CLICK HERE to see a list of their titles and click on the google preview for each one to see sample text.

  9. Thank you Nancy 🙂

  10. I hope it’s not too late to jump on board…I’d love to give this a try…I thought I had joined the Chapter Book Challenge…but didn’t receive any notifications…so I just went over there and registered. This is definitely something I’m wanting to do. We are studying your ‘Yes You Can Write Early Readers and Chapter Books” right now in the Word by Word Book Club Facebook group. Nancy…your book is incredible! Thank you for laying it all out for us. 😉

    • I don’t think it’s every too late to join! And so glad you’re finding my book helpful. Glad to have you on board!

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