Celebrating East African Writing!

Life Skills Series – Storymoja Call For Submissions And Invitation To Workshop

Invitation to Writing Workshop: LIFE SKILLS SERIES for children and early teens

Please apply to attend this workshop:  

  1. If you wish to submit to the call for submissions below but do not have ready material
  2. If you have material that you are unsure will fit the guidelines and wish to know how to adapt and edit it
  3. If you want to learn and practice a template for developing fiction that almost guarantees that we will publish your work

Workshop Leader: Muthoni Garland 

Workshop dates

Saturdays – 2nd, 9th and 16th November

Time – 10am to 2pm

Cost – Ksh 3,000/ in total (4 scholarships available), payable on first day of workshop

Tea and small bites will be supplied.

Places – Maximum of 18

To apply and book your place, send an email with a short bio, and a 500 word sample of your writing by 30th October to


Storymoja invites manuscripts for our Life Skills Series based on the guidelines below.
1. Story must be 20,000 to 60,000 words sent by email to
2. Story can be fiction or non-fiction
3. Story must be age-appropriate. Core target age should be written on the first page below the title.
4. Format – double spaced, font can be Calibri, Roman Times or Arial. Must include a title, author name, page and date on every page, preferably as a header. Ask a friend to proofread before you send!
5. Even if fictive, make the settings seem real, and recognizable. Do not be afraid of the local.
6. Use lots of internal speech so that the reader has insights into the hero’s/heroine’s journey of self-discovery.
7. Story must be in English or Kiswahili, though you may pepper in a few Sheng words or short phrases that readers can understand in context
8. Story can be in any genre – literary, mystery, adventure, real life, science fiction
9. But the characters in the story must be believable /real. The heroine/hero must come across as a native of East Africa, not an impersonation.
10. Show, don’t tell. Events should happen in real time and as much as possible, use lots of action and dialogue to tell the story – not , flashbacks and summaries. Make the dialogue sound like its coming out of the mouths of East Africans. We like internal dialogue.
11. Coincidences can only happen on first page. No new characters (angels) after the halfway point. Especially avoid characters who magically appear to resolve the conflict.
12. Story should have a central conflict that explores one of these themes.

Relationships – boy/girl Peer pressure Self-management
Family Social status Health  – particularly HIV/AIDs, Diabetes, Mental health
Neighbourhood/Community Age discrimination Ethics /Morality
Identity – tribe/race/personal Environment Coming of age
Gender discrimination Self-belief Resources – natural or man-made
Wealth creation/management Role models Culture

13. In dealing and resolving the story conflict, the characters must grapple with some of the life-skills below. Note that the central character must learn or realize importance of a critical life skill in the course of the story e.g. if they are irresponsible, then the experiences they go through in the story should lead them to display responsibility. These life skill issues are not in any particular order.

Responsibility    Empathy /generosity /caring
Confidence Curiosity
Respect Spirituality
Creative thinking/independent thought Critical thinking
Judgment Attitude
Decision making /coping with choices Focus
Work ethic Esteem
Problem solving Practical skills
Aspiration/Ambition Habits
Perseverance /diligence Time management
Managing money Love –healthy and unhealthy
Patriotism Freedom
Communication Determination
Energy/drive /enthusiasm Listening
Humour /ability to laugh at oneself Integrity
Coping with emotions/emotional development Self-awareness/ self-monitoring /emotional intelligence

14. The central character (hero/heroine) of the story:

a. Must be between 13 years and 18 years
b. Must want something or something to happen very badly
c. Must act, set things in motion within the story (not things always happening to him/her!)
d. Must suffer internal (emotional) and external consequences for those actions
e. Must be the key person that resolves the conflict
f. Must live!
g. Must experience a change (epiphany), that is, learn from having been on the story journey

15. Every chapter should end with a cliff hanger, no matter how minor
16. The life skill learning should be self-evident once the reader is done with the story. Avoid explaining the ‘moral’ or ‘life-skill’ of the story – manifest it in what they say and do and thus allow the reader to conclude what itis.
17. Feel free to use humour, to scale big or small (community dealing with locust invasion or teenager dealing with pimple during the BIG date)
18. Be creative!


Once Storymoja formally accepts a manuscript for publishing, we will edit, title, proof, design, print, promote and distribute the work at our discretion and cost. Attendance at the workshop does not guarantee that we will accept the manuscript for publication. However, it makes it more likely.

As part of the publishing process, we will work closely with the author and expect full cooperation during the editing and promotion of the book.  We want authors to succeed. 


  1. Authors must sign contracts confirming that their manuscripts are original and unpublished.
  2. For the initial manuscript by an author, No Boundaries Ltd. (Storymoja’s holding company) will purchase all rights for a one-off flat fee of Ksh 1 per word (excluding VAT), based on the final word count after editing, payable once final proofs are signed off. Thus, the writer will earn between Ksh 20,000 to Ksh 60,000 depending on the length of the approved manuscript.
  3. On subsequent manuscripts, the author will choose whether to:
  • Accept a flat fee of Kshs 2 per word, based on the final word count after editing, for all rights worldwide and in all formats, payable once final proofs are signed off; or
  • Accept 15% royalty fee on net receipts, for all rights worldwide and in all formats, accounted for twice a year and payable on an annual basis. 

Get writing!



This entry was posted on October 23, 2013 by in Writer's Blog.
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