Criteria of ‘literary merit plus unputdownability’ behind Sally Skinner’s decision to enter Lucy’s Fiction Prize
An interview with Sally Skinner, shortlisted for the 2021 Prize with The Mirador
I’d done a lot of research and planning but I was still on my first draft of The Mirador when I entered. My first novel had attracted a high rate of full requests but ultimately not an agent, so for this novel I was hoping to get some professional input earlier in the process. I’d also heard what an incredibly supportive community had built up around the Prize’s past and present judges, administrators and finalists.
And after the experience of querying agents, having three brilliant ones proactively getting in touch with me was amazing. Off the back of those conversations, I shared my WIP with two more that had already expressed an interest in my work - giving me all the impetus I needed to complete the manuscript asap!
I think it helps to try and write every day, but also to be kind to yourself when you can’t. As a writer struggling with the realities of being a working mum of small children, I’ve been enjoying Jenn Ashworth’s 100 Days of Writing challenge, which makes you observe your own practice and see the value in daily contact with the work, even on days when that contact is light.
In terms of entering competitions, you can’t really lose if you appreciate the value of a deadline. If you can think of it as a milestone to aim for - a word count or a submission package or a certain standard - getting listed becomes a bonus. A particularly awesome bonus if it’s this Prize.
Sally is on Twitter @salskins and Instagram @burning_qs.