I have had a few nail biting moments in recent weeks while waiting to hear from the Australian Society of Authors (ASA). I entered the first 10 pages of my manuscript into the ASA’s Emerging Writers’ and Illustrators’ Mentorship Program. Twelve mentorships (25 hours of mentorship with an author) were granted and up to five writers received a highly commended placement. These can be in any genre – fiction, non-fiction, children’s, young adult, poetry and graphic novels.
YES… I obtained a highly commended placement for my work currently called, ‘Who Was Natalie?’ As a result, I will receive a two hour mentorship and admission into two ASA Professional Development Programs. I can’t wait to work with an author and get their feedback and guidance on my work in progress. I look forward to attending some courses and building my knowledge. However, the best thing that I have taken from entering this competition is the acknowledgement that my writing is probably okay and there is hope for this story that I really want to tell.
And now the hard part begins. I have been given a boost of confidence and the drive to tackle the second draft of my novel (instead of dumping it into the bottom drawer with the other novel). Firstly, I will work on the structure of the novel and the plot to ensure my story has enough conflict and interest. I have five weeks holidays from teaching and am going to get stuck into this immediately. Then will come draft 3 and 4 and …
A huge congratulations to all the other recipients who must also feel like they’ve received an early Christmas present! I would also like to thank a couple of fellow writers. I didn’t quite feel ready to enter this competition but I sent my first draft to Karen Morrow and thank her for all her encouragement and input. Also, Brett Young, a local writer, who got straight to the point and offered some great writing advice. Writing in isolation for over a year on this project made it incredibly daunting to show it to anyone. I am so pleased the judges also saw something in my writing.
Eventually, when I get to put my work forward to publishers with the tag of ‘highly commended’ I hope it will urge them to take a closer look. I think about those judges lining up 219 works and selecting mine from that pile. I keep re-reading the last line of the ASA letter: ‘Congratulations on being commended in such a competitive program.’ It makes me want to write, write, write and get this story out there. My head is teeming with ideas and my heart full of desire to tell you Natalie’s story.
Here is the link to the ASA and you can also read the assessor’s report.