Writing for Children's Magazines
An Ezine

  Laura McCaffrey, Editor in Chief for YARN



We are so pleased to have Laura McCaffrey here this month to give us some information and tips about YARN.

Welcome, Laura! For those who might not be familiar with YARN, please tell us a bit about it. What sets YARN apart as a site for young adults and other readers? How often do you add new material?

We publish stories, essays, and poems by teens as well as by adult YA writers. One of our great joys is working with our teen writers! We publish work by emerging as well as by established writers.

Our publishing season generally is mid-March through mid-July. We sometimes publish seasonal stories, essays, and poems outside of our regular season, and we also sometimes hold contests outside of our regular publishing season. Publication is one of the contest prizes.

How did YARN get its start?

YARN was the infant creation of two long-time friends, Kerri Maher (then Majors) and Shannon Marshall. They realized that the writing market had numerous venues and platforms for adult and childrenís literature, but barely any for young adult literature. That is is where YARN comes in. Since its inception during the winter of 2010, YARN has grown, changed, and matured.

What do you love most about your editor job? What do you find challenging about it?

We love reading submissions, and we love supporting writers as they try to fully realize their vision for projects. We also love reading the unique and creative ways writers use language to express important things about themselves and the world.

We all find it challenging to reject stories. While we often can see ways a writer might improve, we really have to say Ďnoí if the story, poem, or essay needs substantial work. A fiction piece doesnít have to be perfect for us to accept it, but it does need to have strong story and character development. We need to read it and be able to see that the writer really knows what the story is about. Poems need to have lovely language. Essays need to fully develop an event, idea, or insight.

Any tips for writers who might want to break into YARN? Suggestions that will increase their chances of acceptance?

Read what we publish, as well as many other YA publications. Donít send us a first draft -- give your work to great readers for great feedback. Dedicate yourself to your craft and your projects. Take yourself and your growth as a writer seriously, and write what youíre drawn to write to the best of your ability.

Please tell us what you particularly look for in a submission, the sorts of things that get you excited.

We know itís frustrating to hear -- it has to move us. Thatís so subjective. Yet itís true.

We have to read a submission and care about it. We might care about it for many reasons -- beautiful language, unique story, startling insight, a familiar tale told in a fresh way.

We see too few essays that speak to teen readers. We also see too few stories in a number of genres, including science fiction, fantasy, horror, historical fiction, and humor.

What things turn you off to a submission? Any pet peeves?

Itís always clear when writers havenít done their homework. They havenít read whatís freely available on the site, and they havenít read a lot of YA literature. Submitting without reading YARN or YA literature is a waste of our time and theirs.

What roles do the readers and social media staff play at YARN? Are you ever looking for new volunteer staff?

Readers give all submissions a first read, and they make recommendations to the editors. Social media folks spread the word about wonderful things on YARN via Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. We do look for volunteer staff. We announce positions on our website, as well as via our social media accounts. If youíre interested, keep your eyes on those.

Any other information about YARN youíd like to share with us?

In honor of short story month, we are running a humor contest in May, judged by the wonderful Nisha Sharma. For more information: Humor Contest.

Writers should keep their eyes on the site for upcoming contests and giveaways!

Thank you so much, Laura, for taking the time to share all this helpful information with us and for being a part of creating such a wonderful ezine for young adults.

For you writers who are now inspired to submit a piece to YARN, the guidelines are here.

Writing for Children's Magazines, May 2018


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