I have spent the previous month, or so, on fine tuning my submission to the Northern Writers Awards (http://northernwritersawards.com
). If your are a writer based in the north of England then you have until 2359 tonight to enter! Organised through http://newwritingnorth.com
The process of submitting my piece has been quite revealing to me in a lot of ways; among others, it has focussed my writing as I polish my submission piece and "pushed" me to a deadline.
However, two main points have jumped out at me:
I had never written one previously. Thanks to some help from members in this forum and a web trawl, I found the information I needed to help me write my synopsis.
And, writing the synopsis has been such a revelation to me. Whilst I had the wider plot of my story already in my head (and, some of it on the page), I had got a little lost as to how to get from A to Z and the route between. But the synopsis, and the help of my wife as I paced up and down and she took notes of my fevered ramblings, meant I now have a clear idea of the key plot points, character development and the twists and turns I need to add in.
Also, having to include the "twist" in my story actually made me reevaluate and adjust the plot.
So, despite four or five drafts, each one wrenched from me, I can say that the process of thinking, planning and writing my synopsis has been so beneficial.
Now, the second, and possibly, greater thing that I took away from the whole submission escapade....
On Saturday, a good four or five days before today's actual deadline, I spent the whole morning finalising my entry and really sharpening up some passages of my novel. Then, as lunchtime arrived and I was about to set out to watch my team, I thought,
"It's done. But, I will submit it tonight.'
Then, as we had only had the internet back on for a day or two after a week of no service, I thought,
"Best get it done now in case we lose service again."
A fine idea.
So, I log into the NWA site and am met with my page and all my previously entered details are missing. Strange, methinks, and I proceed to refill in all the details and answer the questions about "how winning will help me', "your writing career" and so on. All work I had previously filled in and now missing but, thankfully, I had it in a document and so it was a copy and paste exercise.
I carefully re-read my submission, save it in the correct format and hit the upload button.
And there it is, my entry all ready to go. Just waiting for me to hit the "SUBMIT" button.
The time is drawing close to my daughter arriving and collecting me for the football and I am eager to hit send and draw a close to the whole submission process that I have laboured for four or five weeks on.
I poise over the SUBMIT button. Then decide to quickly scan the whole webpage again just to make sure I have not ticked a wrong box.
And that is when I see why all my previously entered information was missing.
I was about to submit my work to the poetry category instead of the narrative fiction one.
And a hasty, but thoroughly triple checked, submission to the correct category.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, my team were battered 0-4 at home. But at least the day wasn't a total disaster!