Shortlisted for Nova Writes!

Nova Writes

It's been an eventful couple of weeks!  First off, I've begun to work on a new writing project.  It's more of a personal project than a commercial one, but it's near and dear to my heart and will do my sanity some good, so that's still a win in my books.  The "Destiny: Rise of Iron" costume that I made for my eldest won Best in Show at the local Geequinox convention and craft fair. And last Wednesday, I found out I was shortlisted in the Nova Writes Competition for Unpublished Manuscripts that is run by the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia.

ShortList Announcement for Nova WritesThe Nova Writes competition was the event that encouraged me to drag myself out of my writing slump last December: #1) it was in my own backyard (so I felt I couldn't really turn a blind eye to it) and #2) each participant was guaranteed to receive one page of feedback from one of their readers (which I couldn't pass up on). I knew that the shortlisted entries would be announced in "mid-May" so I'd been watching my inbox for a few days, but I actually found out I'd made the cut by reading a post of congratulation by the founder of the Genre Writers of Atlantic Canada Facebook group. (Thanks, Peter!)  

Sure enough, when I got home from work that night, I had the feedback letter waiting for me in my Junk mail folder. Despite already knowing I was shortlisted, I was still nervous to read the feedback itself but in the end it was a really positive and supportive letter. Here are the main (spoiler free) highlights:

Dear Writer,

To start with I must confess that sci-fi is definitely not my fave genre. So it might seem like an unfortunate stroke of luck that I should be the one chosen to comment on this particular mss.

Having said all that, I’ll now add that so far I’m finding Eve Unknown to be very well written. The concept and the plot structure are good and the characters nicely rounded out and believable. I supposed it could be argued that I’m overcompensating for my ambivalent feelings regarding sci-fi in general, but I wouldn’t agree.

Good writing is good writing in my book, no matter what the genre, and given my negative bias in this case, I think that you, the writer, might feel an extra degree of gratification to know their work is quite capable of holding its own in a ‘hostile’ environment.

The technical presentation of this work is good. I have always tended to include the title (or part thereof) as well as my name in the header (<Author Name>/<Title>) as I think this is preferred by publishers. This is a very minor but important detail, especially in the case of this manuscript which I feel should be doing the rounds of various publishing houses sometime soon.

We, as judges, are asked to provide a page of constructive comments but in this particular case all I can think is - If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it! ;-)

I will be recommending this mss for a placement in the awards but I am only one reader and do not have control over the final cut. Perhaps this is one of the questionable ‘benefits’ of any writing contest – there can only be one winner and so on. On the plus side, whether we place or not conditions us to accept disappointments when we send our work out into the real world. I would like to encourage you to start submitting this piece for publication, keeping in mind that it is essential to research your niche market – there’s no point in sending sci-fi to a publisher of historical romance, obviously. Lastly, but most importantly I would beg you not to become discouraged by rejection slips. I suspect they are responsible for striking the lethal blow to countless brilliant novels that remain forever unpublished. Don’t let this happen to Eve Unknown. Keep the faith!

One of the stipulations of this contest was that you couldn't submit your manuscript for publication anywhere while you were being considered for one of their awards. So now that the end is in sight, and with the nice boost in confidence that this letter provides, I'll be right back to querying after the winners are announced this coming week (on Wednesday). Regardless of the final results, I'm so thankful for the comments above, the vote of confidence, and the shot in the arm to my bio in my query letter.  

At the end of the shortlist announcement it states "the winning authors will read from their manuscripts at the Celebration of Emerging Writers on Saturday, June 10th at 2 PM" which would be just a TAD nerve-wracking (but such an amazing experience, I'm sure). I will admit that a not-insignificant sensation of panic begins to grow in the pin of my stomach whenever I think about the possibility of having to read from my manuscript to a room filled with 300 authors and literary professionals... We'll see whether that's in the cards for me or not in a few days' time.

Wish me luck! (I'm just not really sure what outcome I'm hoping for the most!)

Author Readings Should be ALOUD



two Responses to "Shortlisted for Nova Writes!"

  1. AJ Ryan
    AJ Ryan on 16-05-’17 07:47

    Best of luck! Rooting for you.

  2. A. Lee Ripley
    A. Lee Ripley on 20-05-’17 15:39

    Thanks, much appreciated. :) Verdict came in this week ( and ultimately the award went to Brenda MacLennan-Dunphy’s novel, Never Speak of this Again. I plan to head to the awards ceremony with my Mom to sit in the back and enjoy the readings. :)

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