Ditching the Undiscovered Voices competition

Posted: May 13, 2011 in process
Tags: , ,

It’s been a difficult few weeks since Mum died and when something disrupts daily life to this extent, other things have to be bumped into a different order in the task queue.

The relevant bump on this occasion is my completed children’s novel, which I intended entering into Undiscovered Voices. It’s aimed at boys of 7-9 who don’t really like reading. And ditching this idea of entering is causing me pain. OK, not maybe as much as my mum’s demise, but the sort of pain that accompanies a decision that has to be made but that you don’t really want to make. Like a burning sensation in my throat that’s hard to assuage.

Anyway, it’s not all bad news. I’d taken the first 3,000 words to the York Festival of Writing, where it was looked at by Kathryn Robinson of Cornerstones and by Beverley Birch. And they liked it – genuinely! They had suggestions, of course. Who wouldn’t? Any first version is bound to attract some revision suggestions. But I wasn’t prepared to start alterations based on them seeing only the first 3,000 words. So I remortgaged the house and sent the whole manuscript to Cornerstones for a proper perusal – and hoped to get back suggestions in time to redraft the first 4,000 words to make it perfect for Undiscovered Voices. A complete game plan, see?

Well, Cornerstones did their bit and I have the report here, but obviously my mum wasn’t party to this plan. So here I am with a brilliantly helpful report and no brainpower to make decisions on how to redraft before the UV June 1st deadline. Reluctantly, I’m putting the novel’s, er, successful future first and missing the UV deadline. That’s my writing ‘bump’. (There are other non-writing ones.)

But I do feel confident that this decision will pay off. When I finally redraft to sort out the points that need attention, it will be far better and therefore more likely to attract an agent or publisher than if I hurry things now and make mistakes.

So I’m trying to look on this decision as delayed gratification, and I have to live with that choice, but dear god, there is grief around not entering the UV comp. I so wanted to.


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