I didn’t make it….but onward I go!

Today, I learned that I did not make the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

You’d think I would be upset, but I am quite philosophical about it and reckon that it just was not meant to be. Maybe the contract they were offering as a prize was not the best I can get. Maybe something better is waiting out there for me. Of course, that’s not to say that I don’t wish everyone who did make it through the best of luck, and it also doesn’t mean that I would not enter if again next year if by then my novel is still not published.

For now, though, I am moving on, and already have my sights set on another unpublished novel competition. This time, it’s the Dundee International Book Prize, with a £10,000 and 10% royalties first prize contract. The deadline for this is 4th March, so I find I have a little breathing space. Maybe not getting through the pitch part of the ABNA is a sign that maybe I can look at polishing that up. I have about three weeks to look at the whole novel and see if there is anything that can be tightened.

In the meantime, too, I am working on another short story, which will be my third this year so far. My aim is to build a collection of them to send to the various competitions. Most of them insist that your story not be entered into another competition at the same time. And of course you could blag it and just send to multiple contests anyway. But with the timelines involved (deadlines for each contest and dates that they let you know if you got through) it is far too complicated to keep track of. You would have to withdraw from one if you won another too, so if you send a separate story to each contest, you could potentially win ALL of them and make more money! Ha ha! There’s nothing wrong with being confident.

So, I will be busy in the coming week and months, writing like a little demon in my dark dungeon! Well, in my living room mostly with the telly on in the background. When I am being really good, I turn it off.

Twitter has been invaluable for me in gathering information about what contests to enter. If any of you are interested in trying you hand at any competitions, then check out Twitter and if you only follow one account, make sure it is @thenewwritermag They post tirelessly about all the competitions that are currently open, when the deadlines are, and what you need to do. If they don’t tell you about it, you probably don’t need to know.

Please let me know about any competitions you are entering. Or, if you are lucky enough to have already won some, I’d love to hear about them. Also, any advice you have for me will be gratefully taken!

Okay, it’s time I went to work. These stories don’t write themselves…..

Stumbling in the Darkness

In “The Critic as Artist”, Oscar Wilde wrote:

Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.

He went on to say that it was also his reward.

I think what he meant by the punishment was that a dreamer lives in a certain degree of darkness and obscurity, in which he stumbles around. What are dreams other than personal, half formed ideas and ideals, most of them emerging in the dead of night or in front of a cold and vacant expanse of white computer screen?  The punishment is the loneliness, the insecurity, the doubt. Seeing the dawn before the rest of the world can be isolating, because you have to find a way of describing that light, that emerging beauty.  You have to convince people that you know.

My ambition is to become a published writer. And yes, I stumble through the moonlight – the half-light of troubled thoughts – regularly and often.  I worry that I will ever be able to convince anyone.

But I understand how being a dreamer has its rewards: The creation of something that might change the world, or at least the way someone views it; the arranging of words into sentences and paragraphs that might make someone gasp in awe or delight, or weep with sadness or joy; the weaving of worlds that might capture and captivate. Those things are the reward.

I have created this blog to document my struggle to become a published writer.  I will share the process and the pain.

I will also post on here some of my work: short stories, poems, serials – whatever I am brave enough to share.

Please feel free to comment on any of my posts and pass on the url of my blog to anyone you think will enjoy reading it.

Thanks – Debbi