The weekend before last, it was my 2011/12 tax return. Last weekend, it was my 2013 Debut Dagger submission.
The tax return was piss easy; the Debut Dagger was not.
But what a feeling it was when, on Saturday 2 February, at 5pm GMT, I became the 393rd submission in the CWA Debut Dagger competition.
The Debut Dagger is a competition for unpublished authors with a grand prize of £700. Many of the shortlisted authors over the past 14 years have reached that most coveted of goals: publication. So the money is good, but the exposure is better. There's no guarantee of a contract as part of the competition, but the shortlisted entries, including, obviously, the winner, will be seen by top agents and publishers, thus increasing the chances of securing the dream of every budding writer.
A synopsis and up to 3,000 words of the opening chapters were required as part of the submission. When I started on my submission at the beginning of January, I knew this was not going to be an easy task. I was happy that completing the opening chapters would be manageable even though the first two chapters of my 5th draft were waaay over 3,000 words; it was the synopsis that had me slightly worried.
Back in 2009, as part of my successful Dragon's Pen experience at Harrogate, I submitted a synopsis to a prospective agent. It was a steaming pile of poo, predominantly due to the fact that I hadn't completed the novel and had some story structure issues that I tried to cover up in my synopsis. A disappointing result, but I learnt a lot.
Now in 2013, I've pretty much completed the novel and story structure is not an issue, so building up the synposis should not have proved a problem. It wasn't a problem, but still a challenge. The main part of that challenge was summarising the plot into 1,000 words. Not an easy task. But I did it - and I am happy with the end result.
So after many quick reviews and spell checks and grammar checks, I hit "Submit", paid my £25, and released my novel out into the wild, wishing it good luck and godspeed.
Shortlist will be announced in May 2013, winner in July. I'll keep you posted.
Meanwhile, the game plan has changed . . . more later.