There’s a novel idea! Southend Book Fair launches its first ever writing competition

Could you be the next JK Rowling or Stephen King?

Southend Book Fair, organised by local writing group Writers Anonymous and South Essex College, is launching an exciting writing competition in the run up to the Fair which takes place on Saturday 26th June, 10am – 4pm, at the College’s Southend Campus.

The event forms part of Southend Festival 8, the area’s biggest and brightest celebration of creative talent and the competition is asking for budding JK Rowlings or Stephen Kings to write the first three pages of a fictional novel, in any genre, along with a synopsis of the book as a whole.

The fantastic first prize for this literary answer to The X Factor is a book token, plus the chance to have the first three chapters (up to a maximum of 40 pages) of the winning manuscript, plus synopsis, read by professional reader, Dr. Hilary Johnson. The winner will receive a professional appraisal of their work worth approximately £300 in the general market which could help put them on the road to writing success.

There will also be second and third prizes up for grabs of book tokens and a £130 voucher and £65, respectively, for any creative writing Evening or Weekend course offered by South Essex College of Further & Higher Education.

Launching the competition were accomplished local writers, David Shaer and Simon Woodward, both part of writing group, Writers Anonymous. The pair said: “We wanted to run a competition to encourage people to write and enjoy the writing process. They say that everyone has a book in them so with this competition we wanted to try and tease it out of people and enjoy seeing what they come up with, after all seeing those words leap off the page as you read them is half of the fun.”

Winners will be announced at the Southend Book Fair at South Essex College, sponsored by leading player in the global publishing industry, AuthorHouse.

Simon and David offered the following hints and tips for writing that killer synopsis and three pages to grab the judge’s attention.

1. Check out other synopses online as this one side of A4 is often the hardest element to get right. Remember you must lay out all your twists and turns.

2. Always carry a note book with you. Ideas can and will hit you at any time, whether that be on the train or in the middle of the supermarket.

3. Flesh out characters and know their traits and what makes them tick inside and out. You don’t have to reveal everything but to know what motivates them you should create a biog of them for you to refer back to.

4. We’re not just after the next Dan Brown, find your own voice and style.

5. Listen to constructive criticism, even established writers are honing their craft all the time.

6. The more you write, the better you get.

So armed with all that advice and all those great ideas buzzing round your head get tapping away on those computers and scribbling ideas down on those notepads.

David and Simon, concluded: “Good luck and happy writing. Who knows this could be the first chapter of someone’s successful writing career.”

All entries must be received by 5pm (GMT) on Friday 30th April and emailed, as separate story and synopsis attachments, to SouthendBookFair@writersanonymous.org.uk. For a full list of competition rules please visit the Writers Anonymous website.

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