Monday, 9 June 2014

Write-a-thon Competition

I'm thrilled to say I won the 2014 Nibfest's Write-a-thon competition. This was sponsored by agents Watson, Little, and as a result they now want to represent me. Cool or what?

The competition started on the 4th May, when they issued a sentence that we were meant to start the story or novel with. It was 'It was a bright day in May and the clocks were striking twelve'. We then had a week to write 5,000 words. Thankfully I already had an idea that fitted, and had even written a bit of it. Which was a good job, because we only had a week to write it, and Clare and I were in Lisbon for five days of that week!

Still I got it done and sent it off and Wow! Success!

After that I was treated to lunch by two lovely agents from Watson, Little - that's James and Laetitia - and they want to represent me. Of course, I now have to finish the book. A minor detail.

And I didn't even have to write a begging letter or the dreaded synopsis.

You can read an extract here, and there's a link to the whole entry if you want to read a bit more.


  1. Congratulations! It's interesting how an inspired idea, a body on the doorstep, and a tight deadline produced such strong writing.

  2. Hi Paula. How far have you got with your novel and what's your first draft target date? Did your agents suggest a target and a word count - or anything else? Presumably you discussed the outline of your story with them over lunch. As a matter of interest, do they have any input at this stage - or is it call us when you have a polished first draft.

  3. Hi Tim, basically it's call us when you have a first draft. They didn't give me a deadline, but they did ask me when I thought I could finish it by and I said 6 months. I hope that's not unrealistic. We didn't talk about word count, but basically I'm aiming at about 80,000. Hangman's Wood was 88,000. I did discuss the outline, but I'm still plotting it as I go I'm not somebody who has their work plotted out from the start. At the moment I'm not sure how it's going to end. But keep in touch if you're interested. What are you writing yourself?

  4. Thanks for the response. 80,000 doesn't seem a lot but then I have read somewhere that unless you're established then novels need to be shorter. I'll keep an eye on the blog to see how you are doing.
    As you know the CWA comp needed 3,000 words and a synopsis. Mine wasn't written either, so I don't know how closely I will stick to my synopsis. I'm at around 34,000 at the moment and feel I am 20-30% in. (Perhaps I had better rein that in.)

  5. I wouldn't worry, Tim. The story will be the story, and whatever length it takes to write will be right for it.I'd just write it, put it away for a bit, and then have a good look at it again. You'll get a better idea of whether you need to cut it back or if you need to develop some scenes a bit more. But I know I struggle to reach a decent length, so if I reach 80,000 I'll breathe a sigh of relief! I also recommend using a good editing service. I used Writer's Workshop, but now that the CWA are running their own I'd probably use them. That will help you know if you're overwriting.

  6. I've never used an editing service. I'll give it some thought if you recommend them. Never been sure whether they are worth the cost.