On Tuesday 1st November we had the immense pleasure of welcoming Sheridan Winn, author of the Sprite Sister books, to our meeting.
As part of her talk, Sheridan regaled us with the story of how she came to write The Sprite Sisters. After a tale fraught with twists and turns, we moved on to discuss our next competition of the season – the Colin Sutton Cup for Humour.
First, it has been decided that the competition will be expanded to include stories for any age group rather than just a children’s book. The competition is now as follows:
Devise a title, possible sub-title, and all-important blurb for a humorous book. Then write the first 250 words of the story.
Your entry should consist of:
- A title and possible sub-title.
- A blurb no more than 150 words long.
- No more than the first 250 words of your story.
Advice from Sheridan:
Title and Sub-title
- Titles shouldn’t be too much of a mouthful – roughly 2-3 words long is preferable.
- Subtitles should qualify the title and be similarly short.
What makes a good blurb?
- It should make anyone picking it up think they are going to have fun reading your story.
- Your character(s) should feature in it.
- Readers should be able to get a sense of your character’s world.
- It should also address what your protagonist wants and what is stopping them from getting it.
Sheridan also helpfully gave some examples of book blurbs that she really liked to help illustrate exactly what she is looking for in a winning entry:
- Jonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff
- Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley
The first 250 words
- It is best to start with the inciting incident as this grabs the reader. If you cannot intrigue the reader on the first page, your book will be put down.
- Keep to the point and cut out long descriptions.
- Create something that is adventurous but also fun.
Finally, let’s not forget that this is the Colin Sutton Cup for Humour. What kind of humour is Sheridan looking for? In short, she would prefer quirky, witty humour over ‘belly laughs’.
The deadline for the competition is 6th December 2016.
All entries must be submitted on one side of A4, double spaced. Work to be unpublished and not entered into previous Circle competitions.
To submit your entry, please email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org or bring them along to a meeting.
Entry fee is £3 for non-members but free for all NWC members. Remember, all entries will receive an expert critique from our adjudicator.
The NWC would like to thank Sheridan for her wonderful and informative talk, and her excellent advice.
We would also like to thank everyone who attended the meeting. It was wonderful to see you all!
Our next meeting is on Tuesday 15th November, where we will be joined by Peter Stibbons, owner of Poppyland Publishing. Peter will be talking about the interaction of new media in the digital age with the traditional printed word.
We hope to see you there!