shortlisted!

So I’ve been neglecting this particular baby of mine lately – which coincides in the most boring, domestic way with the Rocket finally (sadly) no longer sleeping during the day. Those two hours each day when she napped were the times I fit in extra reading and blogging, and I feel the loss of them keenly and with much whining.

Last year I submitted a crime manuscript to a publisher, and while that version of it did not get accepted, I received some pretty great feedback about the work. I thought I’d give that particular novel a break so I could come back to it with a fresh perspective (and be able to poke holes in all my plot points after I’d forgotten them), and in the meantime started writing short stories to send off to competitions and journals. One of the stories was about a primary school kid who spends her school holidays making a horror movie with her friends, and after I got to 80,000 words I realised that it wasn’t very short at all and that I’m not very good at brevity (no news there), and submitted it to the Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing. I hadn’t written a book for younger readers for years, and it took a bit of mental rearrangement to ditch the swears and cinematic in-jokes to make it better for kids, and at least the horror movie aspect meant I got to put a bit of criminal carnage in, even if it was via prosthetics all over the main character’s little sister’s face.

Today the shortlist for the Text Prize was announced, and I’m on it. I can’t even begin to express how thrilled I am about it. While I’ve been writing reviews for a while (and even get paid for some of them) this makes me feel like all the hours I spend writing fiction instead of pirating Game of Thrones are paying off – that I’m not wasting my time doing this. I feel vindicated – and it feels amazing.