Search for a Bestseller – a £50,000 opportunity for a new novelist
Richard and Judy – that’s husband and wife Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan – are searching for a new bestselling writer. The competition is open to unpublished novelists resident in the UK or the Republic of Ireland and the winner gets a £50,000 publishing deal with Bonnier Zaffre and representation from literary agency Furniss Lawton. Unpublished means writers who “have not previously had a novel published or released into the public domain in any format, including but not limited to the internet.” The manuscript also can’t have been submitted to other competitions or literary agents.
Submission: 10,000 words of an orginal novel aimed at adult readers. It can be crime fiction, historical fiction, romance, thrillers and women’s fiction, but no science fiction, fantasy, children’s and teenage fiction. You also need to send a 500 word (max) biography and a 1,000 word (max) synopsis.
If you’re short listed you need to have finished the novel by 12th December 2016. The completed novel has to be at least 80,000 words.
Deadline: 31 May 2016
Publishers Bonnier Zaffre say they are looking for:
authors who keep their audience in mind as they write
authors who have read widely in the genre they are working in
authors who have a clear sense of the narrative arc of their story
characters we believe in and like – whether they are good or bad!
What they don’t want to see:
novels that are largely autobiographical
novels with large casts of characters it’s impossible to keep track of
novels that open with a long description of a hangover…
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that opens with a hangover – but it sounds as though this publisher has seen far too many. I also suggest you don’t start with the weather (unless it’s essential to the story) or the main character waking up.
Usually the best place to start is in medias res (Latin for into the middle of things), diving into a dramatic momentthat is part of a connected chain of events. The dramatic moment comes directly from what has gone on before, but the reader only gradually learns what that is. Or put it another way, start at a moment of change or just before.
If writing a synopsis is a challenge you might find this post from the archives useful: