It could be YOU! Write a thriller and win €24,000
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 The competition is looking for a previously unpublished crime novel aimed at adults.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‘It took 30 years, numerous unfinished projects, two unpublished novels and about 300 rejection letters before I finally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