Missed out on Manuscript Development Program

I heard yesterday that I missed out on the Varuna HarperCollins Manuscript Development Program. Bit of a shame as it would have been a fantastic opportunity, but there’s always another opportunity. Just got to get myself ready for the next one.

A big cheer for both Varuna and HarperCollins for putting it on in the first place. To have made the top twenty is a pretty good achievement in itself and I’m pretty thrilled about that. It means I’m getting closer.

The winners were:

  • Antonia Baldo  “Hannah and Celeste”
  • Jewelene Barrile  “The Cartography Lesson”
  • Eleni Hale  “Rock Girl”
  • Kathryn Hall   “The Discarded”
  • Megan Jennaway  “The Water Jar”

Congrats to all the winners!

Varuna are offering me a discounted consultation for making the top twenty, and I’m seriously considering taking them up on it. Feedback’s always a good thing.

Making the shortlist was good feedback – tells me the beginning’s very strong (which is what I had to submit initially).

Missing the top five also told me a few things – the ending’s not compelling enough for them to want to take it further (had to supply the entire novel so I’m guessing something in the ‘rest’ didn’t quite work for whoever read it). I’m sure the experts at Varuna could expand on that.

My suspicions lay in the ending. I basically cut the original novel in half and rewrote the ending. Don’t think I did a good enough job re-working it.

Regardless, the next opportunity for me is the Angry Robot Open Submission 2012. They’re looking for High Fantasy, which is exactly what I’ve got. Not sure if it will fit neatly into their lineup as it’s fairly commercially-orientated, but I’ll never know if I don’t try.

I’ll rework the ending again on the assumption that’s what’s letting me down, and see where it takes me.

After that I’ll be trying the Terry Pratchett first novel contest – a new book this time. Urban fantasy. It’s written, though still mostly in its first draft stage. Will have to polish it up, but I should have the time.

Hopefully by this time next year I’ll have a third book doing the rounds as well. Got one half-written. Just got to finish it. The more I’ve got out there, the better my chances.

Camping week

Last Monday I was waiting for Varuna to post the winners for the Manuscript Development Program on their website before I went camping for the week. I was going to be completely out of range so I couldn’t even use the phone to dig up the details – I had to know!!!

After a very tense morning, they finally announced the results would be delayed a month until the end of February. They didn’t give a reason why, but I expect that with the holidays HarperCollins were probably short staffed and having trouble either getting through the manuscripts, or nailing down the Powers That Be for a decision.

At least it means I’m still in the running. Fingers crossed for the end of February.

HarperCollins Varuna Awards

Only thirteen days to go until I find out if I’ve topped the shortlist for the HarperCollins Varuna Awards for Manuscript Development.

They’re only taking five out of the twenty-one shortlisted applications, so that leaves me with about a one-in-four chance.

They’re pretty good odds, really. Much better than a random query letter.

It’s the second shortlisting for that particular novel too, so it suggests I’m doing something right.

Hopefully this time it’s right ‘enough’ and I’m able to get a foot in the door with a major publisher.


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