Writing groups are brilliant. Exeter Writers has generously supported writers for over 60 years and this year they are sponsoring The Exeter Novel Prize. The group has successfully run a short story competition for the last five years, encouraging all those who were listed to further their careers. Later this year Exeter Writers will be publishing an anthology that will include the winners.
Competition placing is a great way to build a CV and something to say when it comes to writing those important letters to agents and commissioning editors. They take notice.
There are many competitions for short story writers and for those who take brevity to the limit in flash fiction writing but for the novelist there are few, and those there are, often have restrictions.
The Exeter Novel Prize is for both unpublished and published writers for a novel not currently under contract with a commercial publisher. Any genre is acceptable except children’s (under 12).
I wish I could enter!
The way to Narnia?
One of the things I like about writing, is how useful information haps along just when you need it. I know this sound flaky but I'm a bit of a believer in 'what you focus on expands'. I don't know who said this, but it seems to work for me.
I'm probably half way through my latest and the world of that novel is real to me now. Actually, it's two worlds because it's a time slip novel, so I'm back in Renaissance Naples quite a lot. It's very hot and rather smelly.
I'm always on the lookout for authentic detail and this morning I came across something really pertinent. But only because I'd decided to pursue something that on initial glance didn't look that interesting. A novel is a massive investment and I don't 'write into the dark' anymore because it feels too time wasteful. Sometimes, however, doors appear along the way and I can't resist opening them to see what's behind. Having the novel outline written is a bit like making sure the door is left open so that you can get out again. Otherwise there's a good chance of ending up in Narnia.
Sophie (right) and the big cheque.
If you've just clicked through from the Home page, then you may have seen our announcement of the forthcoming Exeter Novel Prize. We are very excited about this opportunity to champion an unpublished novel and are thrilled that London literary agent Broo Doherty has agreed to be our judge and that Exeter Writers are sponsoring the prize. We will be having a launch event in June and hope to see lots of people there.
I'm very keen on writing competitions as my students well know. A listing of any sort should be added to the CV because it demonstrates a high level of competence. Don't forget that if your story doesn't win one competition, it might well win another. I know this to be true! Placing depends on the judges preference, you don't have to cross the line first or keep a ball in court to win. What you have to do, is write it and send it, then perhaps go and sacrifice a metaphorical goat if it makes you feel better.
The photo's rather blurry but when Sophie won the Luke Bitmead Award for her novel The Generation Game, she said the whole evening was a blur. She has since had two novels published to acclaim.
What they did next...
Scroll down to find out about our previous winners.