Results - Slush Pile Challenge - January 2016

Louise Lamont, literary agent at LBA Books set this challenge.

I’d like to read a blurb and an opening of up to 2000 words for a love story. You can interpret 'love story' in any way you like - it doesn't have to be romantic - and it can be for any age group. Although I am not looking for picture books, there are no other limitations! An opening scene may not get to the heart of the love story, but it should be enough to set up the world, tone and at least one of the main characters.


Louise Lamont
Louise Lamont

We received twenty five entries from members across British Isles and Europe for this competition. And now we have a winner! This is what the agent told us when announcing the results.

I've read all 25 of the submissions and I'm happy to announce that my winner is GIRL FROZEN by Louise Roberts.

The blurb, first of all, is elegantly taut.

It's only three and a half lines long, but every line surprised me or intrigued me in some way. I got an immediate sense of the main character and what she stood to gain/lose in the pages to come.  

The opening struck me with its confidence. 

The author trusted their writing skill enough to know that, rather than start with a bang, they could open with a small, strange, seemingly unrelated incident about a dead blackbird and still completely pin down the reader's interest. Anna and her new companions are introduced with the economy of well-chosen details. I particularly enjoyed Ivan's mischievous flyleaf message, and the spring of Katya's hair under her hat. 

Already, in just 2000 words, we can feel the mix of camaraderie and tension as the group settle into camp and prepare for their dig. I ended up wanting to know more: how had Anna ended up there and how would her time on the dig change her? I look forward to finding out the answers.  

In terms of the other submissions, thank you to everyone who entered the Challenge. I know it can be daunting, but I had a fantastic time stepping into an assortment of worlds. My theme was 'a love story', and I was really pleased to see how thoughtfully the idea of love had been interpreted - from a boy's yearning for a violin in a junk shop window, to an aspiring young magician's defensiveness for her bumbling grandfather, to the more sinister reassessment of a seemingly picture-perfect teen romance.  (That said, there were a few entries that strained the theme somewhat and disregarded the entry criteria.)

Congratulations to Louise Roberts from all of us at Words & Pictures team. We hope she's well on her way towards her debut novel getting published. 

Thanks to everyone who entered. Keep writing and we hope you will be encouraged to try your hand at appropriate competitions.

Louise Lamont is a literary agent at LBA Books. After studying English Literature and Medieval Studies at university, Louise joined the literary Agency, AP Watt Ltd after a brief spell in the world of film development. She worked with Caradoc King and his clients for seven years, while also building her own list.

Louise is particularly looking for writers for children and teen readers. She is keen to read teen romances, twists on historical fiction, funny and unusual stories of friendship, family and adventure. However, she is not accepting picture books at this time

Elaine Cline has been a SCBWI member for over 3 years and loves to write picture books, junior fiction and middle-grade. She lives by the sea and has two soft and silly cats.

Elaine is a member of the Words & Pictures' editorial team, managing The Slush Pile Challenge for writers.

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