In addition to a covering letter, you need to send us 3 attachments:
- brief bio
We accept novels and short stories. Minimum 120 pages approx 40,000 words.
We're looking for writing with a distinctive voice (Is there anything distinctive about the style; can we hear a voice in it?)
We’re looking for novels and collections of short stories that have a degree of originality, that aren’t pale imitations of other books, or treading territory too-often trodden without adding anything new. We like to see:
- Writing with a way of looking at the world (Something that emerges from the way the whole book adds up, not some pre-planned message that makes the book preachy, a sermon.)
- Writing that uses narrative as a way to vision (Novelists may have ideas, situations they want to explore, but what is important is their urge to tell a story)
- Writing that gives characters their heads (This is done through dialogue, interactions with other characters, access to the character’s inner thoughts. In good novels, characters can be felt to be taking their authors to places they may not have planned; in dull novels, you sense characters as puppets under the author’s control.
- Writing that trusts readers: stop telling and explaining (Show: put the reader in the position of eyewitness, eves-dropper. Rarely should the writer have to tell the reader what ought to be interpretable. There’s no crime in making the reader work. In fact, good readers enjoy the sense of participation.)
- Problems with plots, inconsistencies can be fixed. (That’s what editors do, but inconsistencies sometimes reveal that authors are not giving characters their heads.
- Writing that’s dead, dull, cliched and lacking a vision can’t be fixed.
Our test of writing is always to “hear” it. Good writing has rhythm, a sense of shape, balance.