An international prize for unpublished novelists with a Scottish Flavour

Unpublished (traditionally or self-published)?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?


world mapI’ve just come across a new international prize for unpublished novelists.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…

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A Quick Update

Day 1 of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and well, it’s not going too good for me.

Stayed up to midnight intending to get some words written and ended up writing nothing, went to bed, didn’t have the best nights sleep, woke up, procrastinated for a few hours, doing this and that then suddenly found myself able to write. I don’t know what it is, but sometimes I have to mess around, do this and that, anything but writing then I will suddenly just want to write. It’s just the way I am and I can’t put my finger on why that is the case.

Anyway, I have had some interruptions since, including doing some physio with my knee and having to do research on international students and names for my main character and her family, but I have managed a grand total of 1,215 words. I will probably add to it before midnight so all is not lost.

Part of my procrastination has actually been watching and listening to an interview with Derek Landy, the author of the Skulduggery Pleasant series, which included discussion of the movie and the fates of certain characters and Skulduggery Pleasant‘s Bentley. You can check that interview out here:


Book Review: No Plot? No Problem! A Low Stress, High Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days by Chris Baty

Long title, I know. With the July session of Camp NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) just around the corner, I thought I would review this. Also, I need to post something on here this week and I was meaning to review this last week. Sorry!

No Plot? No Problem is your guide through the preparation, the process and the aftermath of doing NaNoWriMo (commonly known as NaNo), written by founder Chris Baty.

Including an introduction to the month and a history of how NaNo started, the book helps potential participants to work out what to write, planning and plotting, how to find time to write and getting the right equipment for the event before moving on to other issues connected to the event: telling (or not telling) friends, family and work colleagues about your endeavour, ensuring you complete the challenge plus eating and drinking right during the event.

The book also includes pep talks for each week of the event, which are recommended to be read at the start of each week along with the pep talks sent to your NaNo Mail on the website(s), a letter of congratulations, regardless of how well you have done, and a chapter on editing and getting published.

This book is well written, easy to read and very informative. Whilst US and November-focused, all the information applies to everyone and works just as well for Camp sessions (April and July this year). The writing is fun and exciting and Baty is very encouraging and engaging in the event. I really enjoyed this book and since buying it. I have used this book for several sections and have found it invaluable each time. The pep talks are especially helpful and have been great for picking me up when I felt down in the second and third weeks. I have also taken Baty’s advice for healthy snack food.

The only criticisms I have are two-fold. The introduction is slow and somewhat boring, making it difficult to read and the last chapter on editing and submitting to agents is short but since it is aimed at guiding people through the event and not the actual process of editing, rewriting and submissions to agents and publishers, it is forgivable and there are other books out there that can help on this (see my review on Road to Somewhere by Robert Graham).

This book is good fun, well written and excellent companion any month-long novelling venture (not just in NaNo sessions). I have turned to this book for help and advice when needed and would highly recommend it.