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

Ad for MAL x Honeyfeed Writing Contest 2022.
Spend your summer writing and get one step closer to being published in Japan! Photo credits: My Anime List and Honeyfeed

Those who dream of publishing a manga-adapted web novel should check out the 2022 MAL x Honeyfeed Writing Contest! From June 1 through September 1, authors must submit a novel to Honeyfeed based on one of three solicitations. Voting will take place from September 2nd to November 30th. You can even register as a judge!

Three winners will be selected – one for each of the three categories. Go to the contest page to view the category prompt boards. The categories are as follows:

Each winner will receive $3,000 and a chance to receive a light novel or manga adaptation. It’s important to heed the Word Chance. Winning the competition does not guarantee that Kodansha (Attack on Titan, Fairy Tail) – in partnership with MAL x Honeyfeed Writing Contest 2022 – will adapt the work.

Due to the time and expense involved in publishing a light novel or manga, Kodansha has the final say on whether a winning entry is commercially viable. While this may be daunting for some, the contest still offers writers a great opportunity to hone their craft and build an audience. And that cash prize is not to be scoffed at either.

Winners will be announced on December 12th. To register as a judge, visit the competition page on July 1st. Those who have submitted an entry can register as judges, but cannot vote on the category they registered for. While not everyone who registers can become a juror, there will be a public vote from November 3rd to 30th.

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

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

Be sure to review your chapters thoroughly before submitting them. Misspellings and poor grammar create confusion and reduce reading pleasure. Fortunately, Honeyfeed’s website allows authors to edit previously published chapters. Remember that the novel must be in its final form by September 1st, as any changes made after this 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 coherent story. Not all keywords need to be used, and sometimes less is more! Intricate lore and backstories are lost on readers when bombarded with too much information at once.

Good writing is always important, but judges will also consider mail frequency and public engagement. Show consistency by publishing chapters at a steady pace and engaging with readers. Self-promotion is a skill in itself, and while judging the community’s response takes some of the focus out of the novels themselves, it’s important for aspiring authors to learn how to market their work effectively.

And as always, read the MAL x Honeyfeed Writing Contest 2022 rules thoroughly. Do not disqualify yourself because of a misunderstanding!

But… How do I write a web novel?

The MAL x Honeyfeed Writing Contest 2022 is not just for experienced writers. Anyone who enjoys writing can sign up for free and do their best. After all, dedication is the greatest art of all when it comes to writing a finished novel in just 3 months.

A finished painting might feel like magic to someone who’s never picked up a brush, but breaking the project into smaller chunks helps 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, it sometimes helps to dive into your head first and write down everything that comes to mind – the results can prove surprising!

Try these sketching and designing websites:

  • GoogleDocs – Access and share your documents anywhere
  • Notion – Create trackers and lists to manage scenes, characters, and plot points
  • Whimsical – Create mind maps and diagrams to collect ideas

The competition prompt boards provide a great starting point for brainstorming. Tools like mind maps are useful for linking ideas together and planning coherent chapters. Those who are struggling to come up with a concept can always think, “What do I want to read?” The fun part of writing fiction is that you can create whatever you want – make something unique for you, rather than stressful to have to find a concept that will be a great success.

Remember that nothing designed is permanent. A page full of errors is still more progress than a page that is completely blank. Sometimes it’s better to create a draft first and defer editing until later. The drive for perfection often hampers productivity, but with a fresh perspective, it’s easier not to fret over every word.

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

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

Honeyfeed’s website is full of talented writers and readers eager to discover something new. Getting feedback as you write can help put the current state of the novel in perspective.

Remember: everyone has their own taste. It is possible that the feedback does 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 argue.

As with the first try, it’s possible that the first try may not be the best. This shouldn’t be discouraging, but rather an indication of how much there is still to learn and improve. Posting your work online will also help you build an audience as you hone your craft. Even if your post doesn’t win, you will have a growing follower base who will give you support and feedback for future endeavors.

Also, be sure to exercise. Excessive demands quickly lead to burnout. Take some time out to read and get inspired. You might even watch anime like Bakuman or Ascendance of a Bookworm to make the writing process feel even more magical.

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