Today I got an email to say my report was ready from the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme. (Has anyone else had theirs? How was it for you?)
Eek. My stomach gave a lurch.
It honestly felt like getting exam results (maybe not quite so critical – it’s only one person’s opinion, after all, as I kept telling myself) but I knew that whatever was in that report had the power to make me feel great, or to completely ruin my day/week AND I’m in the middle of working on the novel, so it was a difficult task, to actually take the plunge and read it.
Would it be too much of a distraction? Would it plant doubts in my mind about what I’d written or what I was still planning to write? I was in a quandary. So, before I read it, I made myself spend a bit of time on the novel and then I logged in to the RNA’s website and downloaded the report.
And it was fine! Panic over. All good and positive and encouraging. There were just a few comments about one of my heroes (oh yes, I have more than one), needing to be a bit ‘nicer’ (I agree) and things like: I use too many dashes (I know!) and I use them incorrectly.
There are different kinds of dashes, it turns out. To indicate that a speaking character has been interrupted, I should be using an em dash (a long one), like this: — (it’s just taken me ages to find out where that is on the keyboard! I had to press [Ctrl]+[Alt]+- It has to be the minus sign on the numeric keypad). Am I the only person not to know this?! How come it’s taken me all these years to know this?
Then there are en dashes (a bit shorter) and hyphens but let’s leave those for now and move onto something a bit more interesting!
By the way, you never know who’s carried out the critique when you get your report back from the NWS (it will be a published author but it’s done anonymously) but it’s possible to send a thank you (which I did), via the organiser.
Reading someone’s manuscript (even if, in my case, it was ‘only’ 52,000 words), is still a lot to wade through and writing such a detailed report is a lot of work, so he/she definitely deserved a thank you.
Between The Covers
Are you watching the new BBC 2 Book Club programme, which started last Friday ‘Between The Covers’? I thought it was good.
You can catch up with it here.
Talking of books, I had a Zoom meeting tonight for Book Club #1 and tomorrow afternoon I have a Zoom meeting for Book Club #2 (they don’t usually coincide like that) and I’m only half way through the book! Which is Rose Tremain’s ‘The Road Home’, in case you’re interested.
I’ve read it before but too long ago to remember all the details. I love it but right now I’m wishing it was about 100 pages shorter.
‘Love Reading Very Short Story Award’ c/d 31st October
The Love Reading website people are running a ‘very short story’ (600 – 1000 words) competition, which is open to everyone, regardless of where they live or whether they’re published or unpublished (but the story has to be unpublished). You can send a story of any genre.
As far as I can see, it’s free to enter and there are some tasty cash prizes (£200 and £300) for the winners.
All the details are here and if you decide to have a go, good luck!