Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Tuesday 6 March 2012


I’ve been on a bit of a roller-coaster over the last six weeks. 

It all began when I was short-listed for the first Mslexia Novel prize, which was a very big deal, especially when you consider that “Naming Names” was only the second novel I had ever written, and this was the first competition I had ever entered.
Then came the surprise and pleasure of being placed in the final three of the competition. I was thrilled, and honestly thought that it couldn’t get any better.
It got better. 
I was introduced to an agent, and my little novel went off to be read by someone who could actually advance my nascent career.
Last week, the winner of the Mslexia was finally announced in print, word is out, the winner has been congratulated both personally and in the pages of this blog, and then... And then...
... I scrolled down the page, and I saw this. Mslexia has opened a new writing competition; this time, it’s for writers of children’s and YA fiction.
I read the rules, and, as of right now, I am eligible to enter the competition, which closes on  September 10th, giving me time to write a short book for children. As it turns out, not only am I eligible to enter the competition, but I also happen to have a YA novel in the drawer that might just be perfect for it.
I very nearly dusted off and checked the manuscript for “Prom Queen” and sent it off to the competition, there and then. 
I stopped myself. 
I remembered that, in the posts of this very blog, I said that I wouldn’t enter another book in another competition. Right now, I am resisting the temptation. It remains to be seen whether I’ll be able to resist for the six months until the closing date for the competition.
Who knows, if I secure an agent in those six months, the temptation might begin to ebb away, and, in the event that judging for the latest competition isn’t finalised until a year from now, I might even have secured a publishing deal by then, and no longer be eligible for this or any other competition of its type. 
I’d ask you to wish me luck, but I know as well as anyone that, ‘the harder I work, the luckier I get’.


  1. Good luck with getting an agent. It's important to have a professional ally (I used to be an actors' agent). I am toying with the idea of looking for an agent. Trouble is, as a former agent myself, I see through a lot of the agent bovine pooh (for instance, I know for a fact that all calls can be returned within 24 hours). I used to be represented by the late, lovely, encouraging and unique Elspeth Cochrane. A truly great lady.

  2. I think to have a publishing deal and then be placed or win a writing contest would be a very nice position to be in, even if you had to graciously withdraw from the children's novel competition. Today you've resisted entering - you only have to waver on one day in six months and it's in.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm in no hurry to enter my book against your book! I was just wondering, how you would feel in September, if you didn't (yet) have the book deal? I'm happy to put irons in the fire, see what heats up (seriously, how many cliches can I squeeze in today?).

    1. My fear is that I'll get so wrapped up in competitions, I'll forget the real goal, which is to be published.

      There is that whole, 'Never say never' thing, too, of course. Watch this space.