2022 Novel-in-Development Award
Gain valuable feedback on your opening pages and synopsis, with the potential to win a year’s worth of one-to-one mentoring from a leading author
Are you writing a children’s book?
Want to get feedback on your opening pages with the chance to win a year’s worth of mentoring from a published author?
The 2022 Novel-in-Development Award is now open for entries of both unfinished and completed manuscripts
Gain feedback from our adult and kid readers
Everyone who enters will receive feedback from 1 adult reader and 1 kid reader. This feedback will cover 5 key areas:
- opening lines
- the set up (incl. the promise of the premise/hook)
- narrative voice
From now on, we will no longer be offering feedback on our other novel award, so this will be the place to come for feedback, as well as a chance of winning the main prize and impressing a literary agent with your work.
Supporting writers to complete a children’s novel
With this feedback and mentoring, work through the rest of your novel, refine your work, and get it ready for submission to agents.
While this award is primarily designed to support writers working on an unfinished manuscript, we also encourage those who have completed novels to enter, as the feedback is still useful and the prize transferrable to a full manuscript developmental report.
“WriteMentor is such an encouraging environment I had no hesitation in entering. I loved that the novel did not have to be complete.”
Amanda Thomas, winner of WriteMentor’s 2020 Novel-in-Development Award
OPEN FOR NOVEL ENTRIES: Chapter Book, Middle Grade and Young Adult
Judge: Chloe Seager, literary agent
Entry: £10 (+£10 for feedback)
Prize: Winner – 1 year of Spark Mentoring (at Level 3, 5000 words a month) | Runners-up – 1 year of Hub Membership
WriteMentor Spark is a monthly, online one-to-one mentoring service. Working with a children’s author, receive ongoing developmental editing, writing advice, publishing insights, and direct feedback on your manuscript to help you elevate your writing craft to the next level.
With a choice of over 15 mentors from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences, get the tailored support you need to finish and polish your manuscript.
Don’t forget – even if you don’t win the award, you can still opt in for comprehensive feedback on your submission, which is incredibly valuable for a novel in development (read below for more information on our feedback structure).
1.Could you tell us a little bit about you and who you represent.
I’m a children’s and YA agent at Madeleine Milburn, where I’ve been since 2019. Before that I was building a children’s and YA list at Northbank Talent and before that I was at Titan Books, where I started my publishing career. I represent a range of bestselling and award-winning authors including Helen Rutter, Benjamin Dean, Kathryn Foxfield, Danielle Jawando, Anna Fargher, Maisie Chan, Katie Kirby, Lex Croucher, Kate Weston, Jen Carney, Sarah Hagger-Holt, Lara Williamson and Ben Oliver.
2. What are your favourite 3 books of the last year?
Aside from books that I represent…Ace of Spades, Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry and They Both Die at the End spring to mind as highlights!
3. Our entrants only have 1500 words to impress – what are the main things you look for in openings? And any synopsis advice?
Ideally I would get a sense of the main character and their world and what’s at stake for them, but I don’t necessarily need the entire set-up in the first 1500 words as this can lead to telling over showing, expositional dialogue and throwing me into action too quickly before I care about the characters. Of course, though, it totally depends on the novel and what kind of story it is. For the synopsis, please don’t be vague and do include all the key plot points and spoilers – it’s a synopsis, not a blurb! I want to know what happens!
4. What are on the lookout for more generally at the minute? Anything you’d love to see more that there isn’t enough of?
Generally, I’m always on the lookout for anything with a hook that’s a little bit different and would stand out on a bookshelf. At the moment, I’d particularly love to find more joyous escapism.
Who can enter?
Any unagented and unpublished writer of CB/MG/YA fiction of any genre.
How much does it cost?
Entry fee is £10 for the novel-in-development award, plus an optional £10 for feedback – from 1 adult and 1 kid reader.
What do I need to submit to enter?
We are looking for the first 1,500 words of your novel and a 1-page synopsis (at the start of the document).
Entry window: February 1st 2022 to May 16th 2022. We close at 11.59pm BST.
Shortlist announced: TBC
Winner announced: July/August 2022
- Entries do not need to be complete but you should have minimum 1500 words and a synopsis to enter.
- Open worldwide but entries must be in English.
- You can also enter, even if your novel is complete.
- We are accepting only CB/MG/YA entries of any genre.
- You cannot be agented or traditionally published.
- To clarify, self-published novels are eligible.
- Independently published writers, who have not received an advance may enter, but not with the published novel.
- Submit a 1-page synopsis (single-spaced) and then first 1,500 words (1.5 or double-spaced) in the same word document.
- The word limit is not negotiable and if you exceed this, your entry will not be read. We suggest finishing at a suitable point before 1500 rather than mid-sentence. A great 1000 word entry, that finishing on a great cliffhanger is probably more effective than a 1497 word entry that stops in the middle of a scene.
- Use 12″ and a plain font like TNR. Put page numbers in the footer.
- DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME ANYWHERE ON THE DOCUMENT.
- DO PUT THE TITLE OF YOUR MANUSCRIPT IN THE HEADER.
- Please DO NOT have your name in the name of the document you upload. We are reading and judging anonymously. The ONLY place your name should be is in the name field on the form.
- Name your document in the format of ‘TITLE.docx’ – i.e. ‘THEHOBBIT.docx’.
- The manuscript titles will be able to be matched with names based on your entry form alone. We want all entries to be read blind.
- All announcements will happen via the site, so do sign up to receive alerts of new blog posts and to our mailing list, as well as Twitter account.
- Those under the age of 18 are ineligible due to safeguarding reasons. If you are younger than 18 and wish to enter, please ask an adult to do this on your behalf.
- You may enter as many novels as you wish, but will need to enter and pay for them separately.
- All entries will be sent digitally. We are committed to being green and want to keep costs for writers down, so mail entries will not be allowed.
Enter the award
Before entering, please read the rules and FAQs above.
WE ARE NOW CLOSED FOR 2022