My Books

My Books

Monday, 19 September 2016

SCBWI Conference Sydney 2016 Winner Andrea Pinkney Writer Award - tell your story the way you want!

with judge Clare Stuckey. photo by Denzo Guiney
A lovely shock
I can hardly believe it! I am so amazed and gratified to announce that at the recent Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators conference in Sydney I won the SCBWI Andrea Pinkney Writer award! Apparently I beat some of Australia's best children's authors to win - wow! The award is a personal critique of my work-in-progress, a YA paranormal crime novel, with Vice President of Scholastic USA Andrea Pinkney next month.

What do publishers actually want?
At the presentation dinner, I was so shocked when my name was called I cried my eyes out. I am a published author of children's chapter books, but after 20 years and 7 novels completed I am yet to have a novel published. This award means to me that my work can stand on its own two feet. This was the novel which I had decided to write as I wanted to write, to introduce the character and her dilemma in my natural 'voice', which has taken me 20 years to figure out. The irony is, that after I submitted the synopsis and first page to the competition I lost all confidence and began 'polishing' the first chapter - endlessly, angrily tapping away, deleting, crying, shouting at my PC etc. A writer friend had agreed with me that the new opening was dull. I feel completely lost. Why did I do this to myself, you ask? Because the initial feedback I'd had from publishers when I started submitting it, was that the opening was too much 'telling, not showing,'

Publishers are always saying they want a fresh voice, original ideas, good writing but also sticking to the formula. This is SO confusing. It's like a lost, dead language only the privileged few understand. The rest of us feel like we are on the outside, blinking in the sunlight.
with one of my beautiful mentors, Susanne Gervay. photo by Denzo Guiney

So, it was incredibly gratifying to stand at the podium with the judge and accept an award for the original version of chapter one. Ha! I completely forgot to thank everyone who has helped me reach this point. All I could think was, 'Bloody hell, why did I waste all that energy, emotion and stress trying to change it, when it was good enough already?' And afterwards, a couple of people came up to me and said how they appreciated me sharing the frustrations and crisis I'd been through. It's a lonely business, writing, and we have to have an incredibly thick skin to take the constant rejections, year after year. It felt to me that when I accepted this award for my work, the weight of every single rejection I've ever had as a writer flooded over me like a tidal wave. The relief was overwhelming.

Keep going!
So, my advice to you is keep going! Keep believing in yourself. Keep developing as a writer. Never give up your dream.

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