As you may have realised by now, I LOVE entering writing competitions. They are a brilliant opportunity to write to a brief and a deadline, and are usually a lot of fun!
I'm a member of SCBWI, which runs semi-regular Slush Pile Challenges throughout the year via its online magazine, Words & Pictures. These contests are open to any unagented members of SCBWI and they try to cover all the different categories of children's books throughout the year.
As you may recall, I received an Honourable Mention for my picture book, The Pocket Pirate, in April's Slush Pile Contest (see HERE for more on that!), which was brilliant.
July 2020's Slush Pile Challenge was set by Jo Williamson, a literary agent at Antony Harwood Ltd. The brief:
"Jo wanted to see a synopsis and first chapter of something which would make her cackle with laughter and snort out her cup of tea. Situational/observational humour, dark humour, slapstick comedy, the surreal, the odd-ball … anything that would give her a big, fat belly laugh! She was looking for books aimed at 5-7, 7-9, 8-12 or YA but not picture books at this time."
Fortunately for me, I was half-way through my first chapter book (aimed at 7-9 year olds) when the brief was announced. It is intended to be a really funny read, so I thought it would make a great entry. I used the Slush Pile deadline as an incentive to force me to finish a first draft, even finishing off the story and submitting it on our family holiday!
There were 53 entries from across the British Isles and Europe, and I was absolutely delighted to learn that my entry, Diary of Ezra Vil: A Not-So-Super-Villain had been placed as runner up!
About the book, Jo said, "The first person POV worked really well here lending the story immediacy and a dynamic start. Immediate, early tension was created with the threat of Ezra being expelled from Villain School and sent to Henchmen School. I liked the concept of a Villain School and think there is lots of scope for the author to have a lot of fun with Ezra in this setting."
Hopefully with a bit of editing and a lot of luck, this story may make it out into the world one day!
You can read more about the full results HERE!