The Write Time competition is aimed at the many gifted writers over 50 still waiting for their first break in the publishing world.
The overall quality of the submitted manuscripts certainly shows there’s a lot of undiscovered talent out there. Congratulations to the shortlisted writers below!
Tips for writers
Firstly, follow the guidelines. That may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people either haven’t read them or choose to ignore them. It may seem a hassle having to read through the small print when all you want to do is send off your entry, but the guidelines are there for a reason.
What if you believed you weren’t successful because your writing wasn’t good enough, when in reality it wasn’t even considered? Make sure you give yourself every chance to succeed.
When you enter a competition or submit to a publisher, presentation is key. Poorly presented writing gives a negative first impression.
Remember that a judge or publisher is looking as much for a reason to reject a piece as to accept it.
Work should be presented according to the submission guidelines (font size, spacing and so on), and be typo free. If you have changed the title of your novel at some point, make sure that you update the title of your document too.
There’s no need to send cover artwork – this will be commissioned by the publisher if your novel is accepted.
A good synopsis can really sell a story. A badly written one can confuse the reader, who is left without a clear sense of what your book is about. There’s no need to include every sub-plot and secondary character. Keep to the main points of the novel – it can also be a good idea to put character names in bold.
Some first chapters introduce too many characters all at once, or contain an excess of secondary characters and their names. You may know all of your characters very well, but at this early point it can be too much for the reader to take in.
Imagine what it’s like at a party when your host goes round the room telling you each guest’s name. How many have you remembered by the time they’ve finished?
Dialogue is so important in contemporary novels. I was struck by how many competition entries contained little or no dialogue at all in the first three chapters.
Well written dialogue can tell readers a lot about the characters, and really bring them to life, as well as move the plot forward.
Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry, and to Mature Times for their support. I wish every writer who entered well with their writing and hope these tips have been helpful. One of the books below will be published as an ebook by Corazon Books in 2015.
We’ll announce the winner here and on our own website on November 10th, and in December’s edition of Mature Times.
Ian Skillicorn, Publisher, Corazon Books
Corazon Books publishes bestselling fiction by popular authors such as Catherine Gaskin, Sophie King and Naomi Jacob, and great debut fiction by new writers. You can find out more at www.greatstorieswithheart.com
The Write Time Shortlist
Ali Chrisp Home Comforts
Cheryl Lang Sun in Her Hair
Frank Beill Sammy Blue Eyes
Rosemary Goodacre Pleasure Train Polka
Norma Powers The Candle House
Lindsey Black Unknown
Jacqueline Field Let
Janet Marsh Living Space
Vivienne Dockerty A Distant Dream