Several weeks ago I entered the Crime Writers Association, Debut Dagger competition, but it’s taken me this long to actually write about it. The competition involved submitting the first 3,000 words of your crime novel and a synopsis between 500-1,000 words.
Considering I’m 25,000 words into my novel, means that the first 3,000 words were already there. I mistakenly thought this would be hard work but not too difficult. How mistaken can one girl be.
I spent three hard weeks editing those already written 3,000 words. I’d edit, print it out, see more mistakes, edit some more then see whole paragraphs that sounded ridiculous and rewrite those. I wrote character profiles and learned more about who my characters were. The main character I already had, but during this process, I wrote complete profiles for several of the big characters.
All this was ridiculously time consuming. I never at any point realised it would be this way. I must have edited every single sentence in those first 3,000 words. It’s shown me that once the first draft is complete the work really begins.
Once I’d settled on the correct words for my entry I had to write the synopsis. A synopsis for a book I haven’t even finished writing yet.
I wrote the first part, next I wrote the ending which I already knew, then the conflict my characters were facing and once all that was in, I had to sit down to work out what the middle would involve. That was difficult and I’m not sure I’ve got that bit down right. I have multiple victims and multiple offenders so it gets a bit confusing.
Anyway, DJ.Kirkby very kindly offered to look at my synopsis and gave me some feedback on areas I hadn’t made clear, so I did a little jigging about a bit, I was finally finished one hour before the closing time of midnight. I never imagined I would work so long on it, but though I was shattered, I was and am really pleased with myself. No matter what happens, I know my story and my characters a lot better now because of the competition, so continuing with the novel itself will be an easier enjoyable process. And I have no deadlines to panic over.
It will be several months before a short list comes out and I’m definitely not expecting to make it even close, what I am, is proud of the fact that I entered. It’s an experience that has helped me. I entered The Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger competition!