Poetry Contest Open For Submission!


We’re excited to announce our first writing contest of the year!

Some additional info:

  • Entrants between the ages of 11 and 29 are welcome to submit.
  • There will be two prizes awarded, one for the Ch1Con age bracket (11-21) and one for the Ch21Con age bracket (21-29).
  • We will give you the option to have the poem published on the Ch1Con website, but if you would like to keep your submission private we will respect that request.

If you have any questions about submissions, feel free to send us a message on twitter (@Ch1Con) or send us an e-mail!

Thanks so much to Nicole Dowling for our amazing poster! Check out her work here!

2018 Conference, General, Yule Ball

Yule Ball 2018 Speaker Announcement

Hello writers!

Today is the day we get to announce the 2018 Yule Ball speakers!

For those of you who do not know, the Ch1Con Yule Ball is an hour-and-a-half long live video panel.

This year, it will be held on Friday, January 26th from 7PM-8:30 PM Central Time.

Just follow THIS LINK:

Basically, Yule Ball is a mini, free, and online Ch1Con, and we hope to see you all there!

So, without further ado, here are the young authors who will be answering your questions…

Morgan York



Morgan is a YA fantasy writer living in New York City. In a former life, she was an actress who appeared in films such as Cheaper by the Dozen and The Pacifier. She enjoys reading, video games, traveling, and drinking all kinds of tea. On her blog, she discusses books, writing, social issues, and more at and tweets as @morganyorkwrite.

Sierra Elmore


Sierra Elmore is a young adult contemporary writer who studies sociology at Arcadia University. She created the Diverse Book Bridge project for underrepresented teens and edits YA Pride’s Teen Voices column. Her novels focus on teenage girls fighting trauma while wreaking havoc. When not writing, she enjoys Pilates, chasing after her cat, and working at her school’s career center.

Rachel Stevenson


Rachel Stevenson is a YA and MG author and reader seeking traditional publishing. She is the creator and host of #YayYA. It is her current goal to  read and review all of the Newbery Medal winners. Rachel, though from Philadelphia, hails from Oklahoma and attends college near Pittsburgh, PA, but most of her books are set in made-up places based on Ireland or Russia.

Feel free to get to know our amazing speakers on twitter before you see them LIVE at #Ch1ConYuleBall.

See you this Friday!


2018 Conference Date and Location!

We’re so excited to share with you the first details of the 2018 Chapter One Young Writers Conference and first annual Chapter Twenty-One Conference!

Both conferences will take place on Saturday, August 4th at the Hilton Garden Inn – Chicago O’Hare, in Des Plaines, Illinois. We’ll also have a discounted block of rooms available at the hotel for attendees, volunteers, and speakers (reservation link coming soon!).

Mark your calendars, because we CANNOT WAIT to share the 2018 conferences with you! And stay tuned, because we’ll have more details (like speaker announcements, Friday evening party plans, and mooore) for you soon.

– The Ch1Events Team


Yule Ball

Hello Writers!

Well, the cookies have been eaten, the ball has been dropped, and we’re all about to head back to school. That usually means the holidays are over, but we here at Chapter One Con aren’t giving up just yet.

It’s time to put on your nicest dress robes and fire up your computers for the third-annual Ch1Con Yule Ball!

For those of you who do not know, the Yule Ball is an hour-and-a-half long live video panel.

This year, it will be held on Friday, January 26th from 7PM-8:30 PM Central Time.

Basically it’s a mini, free, and online Ch1Con! It features young authors answering YOUR questions about writing and publishing. (Oh, and did we mention that there are all kinds of awesome giveaways too?)

Interested in asking a question? Tweet using #Ch1ConYuleBall and we’ll have the panelists answer as many as we have time for!

Interested in entering a giveaway? We’ll announce the giveaway prizes and post Rafflecopter raffles for you to enter throughout the Yule Ball!

Most importantly: interested in watching the Ch1Con Yule Ball? You’ll be able to watch the panel live on our YouTube channel!

We’ll be announcing the speaker line up and posting the official link this Friday, so stay tuned!


The End Is Here! Mentorship Blog Tour

The end is nye, friends!
That’s right, the highly anticipated Ch1Events Mentorship Anthology is here!

As you may know, the Ch1Con and Ch21Con teams have spent this fall teaching two fantastic young writers about the publishing process in our second-annual mentorship program. The final step of this program is the release of an anthology featuring these up-and-coming young authors’ short stories (as well as some of our own).
The anthology is called This Is The End: Short Stories by Young Writers, because these stories all deal with endings of one kind or another. There’s suspense, intrigue, emotion, and love behind every single piece and we’re SO excited for you to read them!

Purchase the E-Book From:


Purchase the Paperback From:


We’re also THRILLED to show you the beautiful cover in all its glory:



We love this spooky cover, created by a wonderful, talented friend of the conference!
In honor of This Is the End’s release, we’re holding a mini blog tour! It will include interviews, excerpts from the anthology stories, and more.

The blog tour schedule is below:

Wednesday, November 22: Excerpt from Brett Jonas’s story on
Thursday, November 23: We’ll be taking the day off of blog posting from Thanksgiving, but keep an eye on the @Ch1Con Twitter account for special, thankful surprise brought to you by the anthology authors!
Friday, November 24: Excerpt from Joey Brandt’s Story on
Saturday, November 25: Excerpt from Emma Rose Ryan’s story on
Sunday, November 26: How To Write A Killer Ending: A Discussion Between Christel Thompson and Emma Ryan
Monday, November 27: Interview with Mentees on
Tuesday, November 28: Interview with Mentors on
Wednesday, November 29: Giveaway of one paperback copy of This Is The End on

All proceeds from the anthology go towards funding future Chapter One Events activities, including our 2018 conferences and mentorship program.

Purchase This Is The End today to help a young writer’s journey begin!

Once more, with feeling,  you can purchase the anthology from:

Blurb (Paperback):
Amazon (E-Book):
iBooks (E-Book):
Blurb (E-Book):

We had so much fun putting This Is The End together and hope you enjoy reading it!
– The Ch1Events Team

General, Monthly Online Events

NaNoWriMo Event Schedule!

Hey writers!

Here’s the list of events we’ll be hosting this November to help you keep connected and motivated as you suffer through *ahem* I mean POWER through your NaNo wordcount goals. Please Join us!

Friday, November 3, 7-9PM Central Time: Ch1Con Write-In!

Here is the chatzy link:

For any concerned young writers or their parents, a Ch1Con representative will be in the chat at all times to moderate and keep everyone safe. 

Theme: Cat people vs. Dog people! The group with the highest word count at the end of the night wins this age-old debate once and for all.

Friday, November 10, 7-9PM Central Time: Ch1Con Twitter Chat/Word-Sprints!

We’ll be alternating between 15-minute word sprints, and 15 minute breaks where we can discuss our WIPs! Keep an eye on @Ch1Con and use #Ch1Con to participate!

Friday, November 17, 7-9PM Central Time: Ch1Con Twitter Chat/Word-Sprints!

We’ll be alternating between 15-minute word sprints, and 15 minute breaks where we can discuss our WIPs. EXCEPT, this time we will be exponentially more stressed out.  Keep an eye on @Ch1Con, and use #Ch1Con to participate!

Friday, November 24, 7-9PM Central Time: Ch1Con Write-In!

Here is the chatzy link:

For any concerned young writers or their parents, a Ch1Con representative will be in the chat at all times to moderate and keep everyone safe. 

Theme: Hot Dogs are Sandwiches vs. HOT DOGS AREN’T SANDWICHES WHAT?! The group with the highest word count at the end of the night wins this debate between Ch1Con Director Emma Ryan and her boyfriend once and for all.


Sunday, November 26th from 5:00 to 7:00 PM Central: Twitter Word Wars

The theme will be Ch1Con vs. Ch21Con, so come declare your conference (Ch1Con if you’re 20 or under; Ch21Con if you’re 21 or over) and count your words towards showing which conference is best! HELP US DEFEAT CH21CON! Use #Ch21ConWordWar to participate.

We’re so excited to hang out with you guys!


General, Mentorship Program

Mentorship Program: Year 2!

Hello, authors!

It’s that time of year again. Time to save our Word documents, emerge from our writing caves, and return to the classrooms. Ughhhhh.

Early fall has always been an anxiety-inducing time of year for me (New director, Emma). This is half because I am not a Fall Person (Pumpkin spice is overrated. There, I said it.) and half because school pressure usually causes me to set aside my writing, sometimes until NaNoWriMo.

Every single book I’ve ever read in the How To Write genre has emphasized habit. Writing every day and making that a part of one’s life is essential, especially for younger folks still finding our way. For many of us, programs like creative writing classes and clubs keep the writing habit alive year round. I know first hand, though, that this kind of structured support is not available to everyone through school or IRL community. Many, especially those who attend parochial school or home school, must make do with online communities and sheer determination. Building a habit this way, with so much else on one’s plate, is lonely and challenging. Absolutely no fun.

This is why last year, the Ch1Team schemed up the Ch1Con Mentorship Program. It’s designed to give you structure when you need it most, in that desolate drought between Ch1Con and NaNoWriMo. This year, we’ll endeavor to teach you more about every step in the publishing process. We’ll teach you how to use editorial letters to strengthen your writing. We’ll help you utilize copy edits, read contracts and decipher non-disclosure agreements. Even better, at the end of the program, you’ll get to hold your hard work in your hands in the form of a shiny new anthology!

Interested in joining us?

Deadline to enter is September 15!

Follow this link for more details!

2017 Conference, Ch21Con, General


Hey, guys!

Julia here. We announced some pretty big changes to the future of the Chapter One Young Writers Conference at the end of Ch1Con 2017, a couple weekends back. And it’s finally come time to share those changes with the rest of the world too. The Ch1Con team and I are incredibly excited about all of these and hope you will be too.

(Bear with me, anyone who was at Ch1Con 2017. I’m basically copying and pasting my speech from our closing notes for all of this.)

We’re becoming a nonprofit!

Thanks to the phenomenal efforts of team member Katelyn Pettit, who I’m pretty sure is secretly a literal superhero, we’re transitioning Chapter One Events—which is the company that we put on the conference through—from being a Michigan-based LLC to becoming an Illinois-based nonprofit organization. The nonprofit version of Chapter One Events actually launched a few weeks ago, so we just need to finalize a few things, then Ch1Con will officially be not-for-profit.


This is especially fantastic, because we already don’t make a profit on the conference. Everyone on the Ch1Con team is a volunteer and we all put in countless hours of free work to make the conference what it is each year. So the fact that we’re now officially going to be a nonprofit makes, you know, a lot more sense than being an LLC, and we can’t wait to see the different ways we can stretch and grow the conference now that we’ll be a nonprofit. So, thank you again, so much, Katelyn, for dealing with all of the paperwork and researching how all the nonprofit stuff works and just everything. You’re amazing.

And now this is about to get super long-winded (sorry).

When I first had the idea for the Chapter One Young Writers Conference, I was seventeen and it was the beginning of my senior year of high school. I had begun attending writing conferences the year before, but I felt kind of lost at them, because I was this scrawny, shy teenager and everyone else was a confident adult with way more experience than I had—or, at least, the confidence to make it appear they had way more experience. And I wanted a conference that was for me instead, that taught me how to fit in writing around stuff like homework and theatre rehearsals, and that maybe was smaller and more informal and put a focus on kids teaching kids, instead of adults talking down to us—because teens get enough of that in the classroom, you know?

the very first message
This was the Facebook poll that would go on to launch Ch1Con. We didn’t choose the name “the Chapter One Young Writers Conference” until we realized Scholastic might sue us if we tried to start a conference named after their online forums for teen writers, Write It. Other names we considered (I kid you not) included “Teen Typing Terrors,” “Minor Word Miners,” and “Young Yammers.”
hi bronwen

And I brought the idea to my mom and somehow, instead of telling me I was an idiot, she told me the idea was great and worked with me to make it a reality. Then, even better, some of my best friends in the world were young writers I knew solely from online—and somehow a bunch of them convinced their parents to let them attend that first Ch1Con, which we held out of a hotel suite in Arlington Heights with absolutely no idea what we were doing. (We’ve had a running joke since then about a Forty-Year-Old Man because we were all apparently convinced before we met at that first conference that one of us must secretly be a creeper—aka “the Forty-Year-Old Man”—and then it was a huge shock when we were actually all, like, actual and real teenagers.)

Anyway: in the summer of 2012, when I was eighteen, we hosted the first Ch1Con, here in the Chicagoland area, and with the exception of when I took a break in 2013 because freshman year of college is apparently actually really hard, we’ve put on this conference every year since. 2017 is our fifth year doing Ch1Con. And it’s been amazing to watch it grow and become so much bigger than Seventeen-Year-Old Julia ever could have imagined.

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And it has been a pain and it has been a joy for the past six years to organize this thing. I never realized quite how much Ch1Con was going to take over my life when we started. Then flash forward to last autumn, when I was completing the Columbia Publishing Course UK at Oxford University in, you know, England, where my time zone was seven hours ahead of some of our team members. And I was hosting meetings out of my Oxford dorm room at midnight or 1:00 AM so we could still get some work done on this year’s conference while I was abroad (and then I’d get up the next morning to go to class, looking like a zombie, which was fun).

And really, the past few years as a whole have been like that, as I’ve moved back and forth between my hometown and university, and studied abroad in England twice, and interned in New York City for a summer, then moved to New York City this year—and everywhere I’ve gone, the one constant has been Ch1Con and the incredible group of teenagers and young adults who have helped me organize it. The members of the Ch1Con team have become some of my closest friends. And I love you guys so much.

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—Which, of course, is why it hurt so bad when I realized that I was no longer that scrawny, shy teenager, lost in a sea of adults. Somewhere along the way, I had grown up.

Me Giving a Session

I graduated high school, then last year I graduated college, then I graduated from a graduate course, and now I’m out in the big scary real world. And it’s amazing, because I’m pursuing dreams now that Seventeen-Year-Old Julia was scared to even consider a possibility. But it also means that I’m twenty-three now—which is the upper end of the age range we allow attendees to be at this conference—and I’m not in school anymore, and the truth is I am starting to feel a bit of a disconnect from being a “young writer,” as I transition to just being a “writer.” The whole point of this conference from the beginning was that it was kids teaching kids. And although I still have chronic acne and read nothing but YA, I’m not really a kid anymore.


And, with all of that in mind, it’s time to pass on the torch. So, this was my last year as the director of the Chapter One Young Writers Conference.

But don’t worry: the story doesn’t end here.

First: say hello to the AMAZING new director of the Chapter One Young Writers Conference!

I’m so, so grateful for the time I’ve gotten to spend as the director of Ch1Con, but I’m also incredibly excited to see where the new director takes it. She’s been part of the organization since the very beginning and has so much passion and love for Ch1Con—and writing and literature and fangirling in general—that I can promise without a doubt that you are in very safe hands.

I do have to admit that I was a little nervous at first about handing off the conference—because this thing has been my very needy baby for the past six years—but whenever I sent this lovely human an anxious, essay-length text message over this past year, she was right there replying with an equally long, essay-length text message that always managed to be the exact right thing to say to calm my fears.

She is strong and funny and kind, and a better person than I could ever hope to be. And she has such cool, unique ideas for the future of Ch1Con. If you’ll allow the literary pun, I can’t wait to watch the next chapter of the conference unfold. So, please join me in a very warm welcome for the new director of the Chapter One Young Writers Conference, my dear friend, Emma Rose Ryan!


And second: we’re thrilled to announce the Chapter Twenty-One Conference!

(Aka: you can’t get rid of me that easily.)

For anyone who is also aging out of Ch1Con but loves this community and what we’re doing here as much as I do, we’re starting a new conference next year, for twenty-something writers that’ll function separately but in conjunction with Ch1Con. Because I apparently hate sleep. And because we are really unoriginal with our naming, it’s going to be called Ch21Con and it’s basically going to be Ch1Con plus more existential crises and alcohol. Also, because we think we’re much funnier than we actually are, the logo is a Bloody Mary:

Ch21Con Full Logo 2017

So, those of you who are twenty-one and over, look out for more info about that in the coming months. And in the meantime, you can follow the new Ch21Con social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for updates!

And finally: we’re looking for new team members!

With the start of the new, older conference, we’ll be dividing the current team of volunteers in half. The younger team members will stick with Ch1Con while the older members move on to Ch21Con—which means we needs lots of fresh blood to fill out both the Ch1Con and Ch21Con teams! And we’d love to have you as part of either of them.

So, if you love writing and geeking out about books and *cough* punderful humor, please apply to become a team member! The application is open now through Friday, September 1st (so you have two weeks). You can learn more about what being a team member would look like here, or you can go straight to the application:

Click here for the application to join the Ch1Con or Ch21Con team!

And with that, it looks like my reign as the voice behind the Ch1Con blog has come to an end.

Thank you for being part of this community, whether this blog post is the first you’ve heard of Ch1Con or you’ve been with us since 2012. Thank you to my incredible team for following me down this rabbit hole, and my parents for believing in my own personal Wonderland. And thank you, especially, to Ariel and Emma, who have been here since the very, very beginning and stuck with Ch1Con and me through it all.

I love you all. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Thank you.

— Julia




Poetry and Short Fiction Contest Results

Hello! We finally have the results for the 2017 Ch1Con poetry and short fiction contest, and here they are:



First place: “A Message in a Bottle” by Zoe Noble

Second place: “Heroes” by Alicia Barr

Third place: “What the Sirens Say” by Annie Louise Twitchell

Honorable mentions: “Telling Them” by Alicia Barr and “Ache” by Annie Louise Twitchell



First place: “The Art of Acceptance” by Rona Wang

Second place: “Collywobbles” by Haley Crosby

Third place: “Lost and Found” by Zoe Noble

Honorable mentions: “Come Home” by Alicia Barr and “Romana” by Cameron Vanderwerf


We are so thrilled about all the entries we received for the contest and encourage everyone who entered to keep submitting work for future contests. And congratulations to all the winners and honorable mentions, who will all be published in an e-book anthology that will be available in mid-July. The first through third place winners will also be receiving discounted admission to the conference.

Thank you again to everyone who entered, and congratulations to the young writers whose work will be published in our anthology!



April Ch1Con Events

Looks like it’s time for April showers! Here’s the schedule of Ch1Con online events coming your way this month.

Thursday, April 20th at 8:00 PM Eastern: Twitter Chat

The topic of our Twitter chat this month is starting new projects. Join us using #Ch1Con to answer our questions and talk with other young writers!

Saturday, April 29th from 7:00 to 10:00 PM Eastern: Virtual Write-In

Join us to write (and procrastinate) at any point that you’re available during the evening. Link to the chat room:

– The Ch1Con Team

P.S. Don’t forget to enter our new writing contest! Winners get e-published (and conference discounts!).

P.P.S. Keep an eye out for into about our annual spring blog tour, coming soon!