It could be YOU! Write a thriller and win €24,000

Irish Daily Mail - - It’s Friday! -

HAVE you ever dreamed of writ­ing a best­seller? Well, here’s some good news: there’s still time to en­ter the First Novel Com­pe­ti­tion.

Our sis­ter ti­tle The Daily Mail launched the con­test last year, with the prize of a €24,000 pub­lish­ing deal with Pen­guin Ran­dom House.

There were more than 5,000 en­tries and win­ner, Amy Lloyd, will see her crime thriller Red River pub­lished in Jan­uary 2018. The book has al­ready been sold to pub­lish­ers all over the world and film rights are cur­rently be­ing ne­go­ti­ated.

The pa­per was so im­pressed by the qual­ity of the en­tries that the com­pe­ti­tion is run­ning again, but this time with one small change: as most of the best en­tries last year were crime/ thrillers, en­tries should be in that genre only.

So delve into the dark and cun­ning cor­ners of your mind and send your de­tec­tive novel, crime or spy thriller, or psy­cho­log­i­cal chiller. The full terms can be found at

dailymail.co.uk/crimen­ovel — please read them care­fully. The com­pe­ti­tion is look­ing for a pre­vi­ously un­pub­lished crime novel aimed at adults. En­trants must be aged 16 or over and they must not have had a book pub­lished be­fore in any form. The dead­line for en­tries is May 5.

The judges will be top crime writer Si­mon Ker­nick, lead­ing lit­er­ary agent Luigi Bonomi (who will rep­re­sent the win­ner), top pub­lisher Selina Walker (who will pub­lish the book) and Daily Mail lit­er­ary ed­i­tor San­dra Par­sons.

To get you started, best­selling au­thor Si­mon Ker­nick of­fers his tips on how to be­gin writ­ing, and how to make your en­try stand out.

‘I’ve been writ­ing sto­ries of one kind or an­other since I was five years old, and all I ever wanted was to do it for a liv­ing,’ he says.

‘It took 30 years, nu­mer­ous un­fin­ished projects, two un­pub­lished nov­els and about 300 re­jec­tion letters be­fore I fi­nally

got a pub­lish­ing con­tract. Since then, I’ve writ­ten 15 crime thrillers, and I en­joy the process as much now as I did when I first be­gan.

‘I’ve learnt a lot along the way though — here are the tips I wish I’d been given when I started out.’

WRITE a lit­tle bit ev­ery day — even a few sen­tences will do (al­though if you can man­age a cou­ple of pages it would be good). If your story’s on your mind ev­ery day it will feel fresher and eas­ier to write, and you’ll feel more mo­ti­vated.

GET your story writ­ten as quickly as pos­si­ble and don’t over-edit the first draft. Don’t spend hours try­ing to make it look pretty. Just get to the end, then you can go back and make as many changes as you want. It’s a lot eas­ier edit­ing a full book than it is star­ing at a blank page.

BE ob­jec­tive about your work. Keep ask­ing your­self as you go along: ‘Am I writ­ing a story that a lot of peo­ple want to read? Am I telling the story in a way that would in­ter­est an un­bi­ased reader?’ If not, it’s highly un­likely a pub­lisher will be in­ter­ested.

GRAB the reader from the first page. Few peo­ple have pa­tience th­ese days, so make sure you reel them in fast.

AL­WAYS keep the story mov­ing. Read­ers don’t want to get bogged down in too much de­scrip­tion.

READ ev­ery­thing you can in your genre — not just the good, but the bad, too. And try to work out why the suc­cess­ful books sell and the un­suc­cess­ful ones don’t.

BE PA­TIENT. Get­ting pub­lished can take a long time, but if you’re de­ter­mined, and what you’ve writ­ten is good, you’ll get there.

So what are you wait­ing for? It’s time to get writ­ing. Good luck!

Novel suc­cess: Win­ner Amy Lloyd

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