Caravéo from Skylark Literary set us a wonderful challenge for October 2015.
I'm looking for a new and powerful voice for any age group, so I'd like to see a one page synopsis and an excerpt of no more than 750 words.
The excerpt can be any part of the story that really demonstrates a distinctive, powerful and engaging voice. It could be first person, from the point of view of the protagonist, and thus showcasing their voice or it could be third person and demonstrating the narrative voice of the novel. It could be funny, witty, quirky or dark, but it must be engaging and unique.
We received twenty nine entries from members across the British Isles and Europe for this competition. Amber agreed to read all the submissions and now we have a winner! This is what she told us when announcing the results:
I enjoyed reading the submissions and, am pleased to announce that my winner is PRINCE BOB AND HORRIBLE HAGATHA by MAUREEN LYNAS
This completely fulfilled the brief. I
was very impressed with the voices
that came through in the writing.
The winner manages to convey the different personalities really clearly through their dialogue and actions. For example, the king uses lots of quirky terms of endearment for the queen. Phrases such as my little dumpling, my little jammy doughnut, my little lollipop convey his fondness, but also make his voice within the story very recognisable. The queen also has a clear voice of her own. We quickly learn how organised she is when she is checking her list for the party. For example, ‘Wishing cake - three layers - chocolate, carrot and fudge,’ said the queen. ‘Tick.’ And so on.
The narrative voice of the story is unique and distinctive from the very first line when the prince is introduced. The author's voice was so strong that it even came through in the synopsis.
An honourable mention must go to THE DOG-WALKING CONSORTIUM. The protagonist has his own unique voice and made me laugh when he started recounting the horrors of monstrosities (dogs!). Also, FINDING FINCH and TRAITOR’S DAUGHTER both feature protagonists with authentic voices that feel nicely tailored to their period or setting.
In terms of the other submissions, it was interesting to see all 29 competition entries because they were so varied. There were lots of different voices – clever, funny and moving – and some that struggled to find a strong, distinctive voice, which goes to show how very difficult it can be.
A huge thank you to all the SCBWI members who sent in entries. As ever, they were completely fascinating and inspiring.
Congratulations to Maureen from all of us at Words & Pictures. We hope she's well on her way towards getting her novel published.
Congratulations to Barbara Henderson for getting an honourable mention for THE DOG-WALKING CONSORTIUM. Well done to Lindsay Littleson - FINDING FINCH and Susanna White – TRAITOR'S DAUGHTER for getting recognition for their entries.
Thanks to everyone who entered. Keep writing and we hope you will be encouraged to try your hand at more competitions.
Until leaving to set up Skylark Literary, Amber was the Editorial Director at Orion Children’s Books where she was privileged to work with some of the best authors in Children’s and YA fiction.
With over 25 years in the children’s publishing industry, Amber Caravéo and Joanna Moult formed Skylark Literary to seek and support the very best writers for young people. They specialise in nurturing talented authors, helping each to find their voice and develop their writing skills.