EntertainmentMyAnimeList x Honeyfeed Summer writing contest gives English web...

MyAnimeList x Honeyfeed Summer writing contest gives English web novel authors a chance at publishing in Japan

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Ad for MAL x Honeyfeed Writing Contest 2022.
Spend your summer writing and get one step closer to publication in Japan! Pic credit: My Anime List and Honeyfeed

Those dreaming of publishing a manga-adapted web novel have MAL x Honeyfeed Writing Contest 2022 to check out! From June 1st to September 1st, writers need to submit a novel based on one of three prompts to Honeyfeed. Voting will take place from September 2nd to November 30th. You can even sign up to be a judge!

Three winners will be chosen — one for each of three categories. Head to the contest page to check out the category prompt boards. The categories are as follows:

Each winner will receive $3,000 USD and a chance to receive a light novel or manga adaptation. It’s important to note the word chance. Winning the contest is not a guarantee that Kodansha (Attack on Titan, Fairy Tail) — partnered with MAL x Honeyfeed Writing Contest 2022 — will adapt the work.

Due to the time and costs of publishing a light novel or manga, Kodansha has the final say as far as whether a winning entry is commercially viable. While that may be discouraging to some, the contest still provides a great way for writers to hone their craft and build an audience. And that cash prize is nothing to sneeze at either.

Winners will be announced on December 12th. To sign up to be a judge, check the contest page on July 1st. Those who submitted an entry may sign up as a judge but may not vote on the category they’ve entered. While not everyone who signs up may become a judge, there will also be a public voting period from November 3rd to November 30th. 

How can I increase my chances of winning the MAL x Honeyfeed Writing Contest 2022

While many may be brainstorming to come up with the perfect hit concept, it’s worth keeping in mind other factors that will factor into judging. With both a formal judging a public voting round, it may take more than submitting your novel and waiting until December to win. 

Be sure to thoroughly check your chapters before submitting. Misspellings and poor grammar cause confusion and reduce reader enjoyment. Luckily, Honeyfeed’s website allows writers to edit previously published chapters. Just remember, the novel must be in its final form by September 1st as any changes past that date will result in disqualification. 

While it’s important to stay on topic and use keywords from the prompt board, it’s equally important to tell a cohesive story. Not all keywords must be used, and sometimes, less is more! Intricate lore and backstories will be lost on readers if they’re bombarded with too much information at once.

Good writing is always important, but judges will also be factoring in post frequency and public engagement. Show consistency by releasing chapters at an even pace and engaging with readers. Self-promotion is a skill of its own, and while judging community reaction does take some of the focus off of the novels themselves, it is important for hopeful authors to learn how to market their work effectively.

And as always, be sure to thoroughly read the rules of MAL x Honeyfeed Writing Contest 2022. Don’t disqualify yourself due to a misunderstanding! 

But… How do I write a web novel?

MAL x Honeyfeed Writing Contest 2022 isn’t just meant for seasoned authors to compete. Anyone with a love for writing can sign up for free and give it their best. Dedication is, after all, the greatest skill of all when it comes to writing a finished novel in only 3 months. 

A finished painting may feel like a work of magic to someone who’s never picked up a paintbrush, but breaking the project down into smaller segments helps to demystify the process. For many writers, this comes in the form of outlines: a list of important events or scenes in your novel. For others, sometimes it helps to dive in head first and write whatever comes to mind — the results may prove surprising!

Try out these sites for outlining and drafting:

  • GoogleDocs – Access your documents anywhere and share them with anyone
  • Notion – Build trackers and lists to manage scenes, characters, and plot points
  • Whimsical – Create mind maps and charts to brainstorm ideas 

The contest’s prompt boards provide a great starting point for brainstorming. Tools such as mindmaps are useful for linking ideas together and planning cohesive chapters. Those struggling to think of a concept can always consider, “What would I want to read?” The fun of writing fiction is that you can create whatever you like — make something unique to you rather than stressing to find a concept that will become a massive hit.

Remember, nothing drafted is permanent. A page full of errors is still more progress than a page that’s entirely blank. Sometimes, it’s better to draft first and put editing off for a later date. The itch for perfection often hinders productivity, but with a fresh set of eyes, it’s easier to keep from fretting over every word.

Try out these sites for editing which have both free and subscription-based plans:

  • Grammarly – Get a second pair of eyes while editing your manuscript
  • ProWritingAid – Track overused words, repetitive sentences, and more

Honeyfeed’s website is full of talented writers and readers eager to find something new. Getting feedback while writing can help put the novel’s current state into better perspective.

Just remember: everyone has their own taste. It’s possible that feedback may not align with your vision. It’s better to thank the commenter (or ignore/block if their message is hateful) and move on rather than arguing.  

Like trying anything for the first time, it’s possible that your first attempt won’t be your best. This shouldn’t be discouraging but rather a marker of how much is left to learn and improve. Posting your work online will also help you to build an audience while you improve your craft. Even if your entry doesn’t win, you’ll have a growing follower base to provide support and feedback for future endeavors. 

Be sure, too, to pace yourself. Overwork quickly leads to burnout. Take some downtime to read and fill up on inspiration. Perhaps even watch anime like Bakuman or Ascendance of a Bookworm to make the process of writing feel all the more magical.

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