BRIDGET WHELAN writer

Muse, News and Views

An international prize for unpublished novelists

world mapI’ve just come across a new international prize for unpublished novelists. The Caledonian Novel Award 2015 is open to writers over the age of eighteen of any nationality and from any country, but they must not have had a novel published, and that includes self-published.  The closing date for entries is November 2, 2014 and you have to send the first 20 pages of your novel – double spaced in a size 12 font – plus a 200 word synopsis. The entry fee is £20 and the prize is £1000 and a lot of kudos. A long list will be announced at the end of November. Writers are then given just a week to send in the rest of the manuscript (which has to be at least 50,000 words long) . So, if you’ve only written three chapters don’t bother, but if you have a rough first draft at the bottom of your desk now is the time to blow the dust off it and read it with an unforgiving red pencil in your hand.

The judge is Hellie Ogden, from Literary Agents Janklow & Nesbit and she explains what she is looking for…

I’m always searching for that standout, fresh voice. Something that will instantly get under my skin and refuse to be ignored. I look for bold twists and clever plotting; I look for protagonists you are captivated by and I look for writing with real heart.

I’m really open to everything and I can’t wait to get reading. It would be lovely to find the start of a crime series to continue the tradition of great Scottish crime writers but my list is varied and I’m excited to be swept into all kinds of different worlds.

 She also understands some of the difficulties of writing:

 I think a synopsis is a really difficult thing to write and I often won’t look at it until I’ve had a look at the writing itself. I appreciate some of the best writers struggle to get them right so I take that into account when looking at each one. What I would advise though is trying to get it all on just one page by pulling out the key themes. I like to see a clear indication of where the story is going all the way through to the ending – don’t leave it hangi

You can find all the information you need here. They don’t appear to be many rules but stick to them like glue.

photo credit: Genista via photopin cc

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6 comments on “An international prize for unpublished novelists

  1. Ann Perrin
    August 11, 2014

    Not in the running for such a brilliant opportunity for a clever writer, but thought the bit about the synopsis was good. Struggled with one long and hard two years ago.

  2. bridget whelan
    August 11, 2014

    Yes, Ann, a very realistic attitude towards synopsis writing – I bet she sees loads of very, very bad ones as a literary agent. If the entrant can get over the key elements in a page or less she will overlook the faults…as long as they are not coy about the ending.

  3. SleepyDragon1320
    August 11, 2014

    Reblogged this on Sleepy Book Dragon and commented:
    Unpublished (traditionally or self-published)? Got a 50,000 word novel ready to be sent off to agents and publishers? What about entering it into this competition?

  4. theowllady
    August 11, 2014

    Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.

  5. Pingback: Do you have a novel with a Scottish flavour? | The Proof Angel

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This entry was posted on August 11, 2014 by in News and tagged , , , , .
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