The wait . . . stultified

Although the transition to the old machine seems to have been relatively painless, the real pain is the wait for results from the New Voices: New Novel competition. With three entries submitted, I’m stultified until feedback time (if any), because I really don’t have a handle on which ms would be best to pursue.

Of course, in the absence of any competition, finishing up the third novel of the biome trilogy would have been my first priority. But then, absent the competition, I’d not have embarked on the other two ideas, which have really tweaked my imagination.

Someone on the Adventures In Fiction facebook page wondered when the long list might appear. Something every entrant must be wondering. I scrolled back to last year’s competition to get a sense of timing. Last year, for the same deadline of 14th September, the long list appeared a week later on the 21st. It appears the organiser runs a tight ship, and the misery of waiting may soon be over, though there may be more entries this year. The short list was published less than a week thereafter. I don’t know when the 50 pages of ms for the chosen few will be requested, but at least I’m ready if I should be so lucky. Lucky lucky lucky.

Actually, come to think of it, I bet only the short list candidates are asked to submit their 50 pages, if the time period from long list posting to short list posting is only ~5 days. So the long list candidates should keep their hopes on hold until they’re actually called, rather than culled.

Regardless of moving into the exalted ranks of the chosen, it seems that a package or two of writing encouragements may be proffered to the eager entrants, ‘specially designed for their needs.’ In many ways, although it smacks of a come-on, such encouragement and gentle persuasion to attempt to improve one’s writing skills, might be just the strategy I need to pursue for best development of my novels. Alternatively, I might receive an admonition to do something else with my time.

But I certainly loved the discipline proffered at Arvon’s tutored Writers’ Retreat at Lumb Bank during the summer of 2018, where we worked on the first scene of Biome NE47 over and over until it began to sing. So I will have to be patient and wait to see where, if anywhere, my work stands.

Meanwhile, there’s about 50m of tall hedging yet to trim, so that should get me out of the house, anyway, and away from the fretting.

By Larry Winger

Retired scientist, devoted diarist (, community-minded aspirant novelist, I've lived on a smallholding in the East Allen Valley for the past 30 years, delighting in watching our family grow up, in experiencing the development of our grandsons, and in taking care of our small flock of chickens and garden.

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