I’ve only ever been lucky once in a writing competition and that was for short stories in the magazine ‘Honey’. In its time it was quite prestigious and sold over 250,000 copies a month. It folded in 1986 but I have fond memories, and even fonder memories of winning the competition! Four of my short stories were published… thank you ‘Honey’!
The Daily Mail has a first novel competition and this year it is running again, so if you have an unpublished novel and it’s your first, why not enter – you never know!! As well as the competition details, there is a very good article offering advice to writers – not just new or first time writers, but ideas which will help anyone who sets to wanting to create fiction, long or short.
Several published and popular writers give advice to first time novelists and I think much of the advice is worth thinking about however many novels you’ve written or published – the worst thing is to become complacent and think you know how to do it… you never really know, it’s a learning process with every new thing you start!
Here are the twelve commandments (according to the article! Some of them are quite controversial and I’m not sure I agree with all of them!)
- absorb yourself completely in anything related to what you’re writing: read and research!
- always plan your novel to the end
- believe in yourself: there’s only one difference between a successful and unsuccessful writer. the unsuccessful writer stops.
- dedicate time to writing; prioritise exclusively writing time
- don’t think about being published: write what you want to write
- enjoy writing
- get words down: push through the hard times, don’t stop – you can always rewrite
- let the characters take control
- pull your readers into another world
- the more you read, the better you’ll write.
- there’s no such thing as writer’s block
- think of your audience – you want to keep them reading way beyond their bedtime at night
I’ll come back to this list another time… In the meantime, here is a link to the competition:
…and here is a link to my novels: