Life Lesson – Read the Rules

I have so many stories floating around in my head it is untrue. Crime stories, sci-fi stories, fantasy stories, children’s stories, grown up stories. As well as writing and drawing ‘Tales of the Sly Ditt Inn’ I am trying to find time to write my fantasy novel ‘The Rukh Lords and the River God’ and to write and draw episode one of ‘Donnington Speen’. All of this is a mighty challenge as I am trying to grow Gabriel Design to make it a viable business for two people. And then there are the general day-to-day challenges of daily life, taking time to enjoy family and more.

So like a loony when I saw in the Independent that Scholastic and Montegrappa were running a competition to find a new, unsigned children’s author I leapt at the chance. Even though time was at a premium. So many of the stories in my head would be great for children and one in particular I knew exactly how it would start.

Scholastic Montegrappa Competition

I made a brief read of the rules, although my big mistake was not to read the full terms and conditions. It was mid to late April and they wanted the first 5,000 words by 2nd June. Not a problem I thought, so I wrote the first two chapters of my new book, proof read it, and typed it up. Pleased with the result I thought I should now read the full terms and conditions on what to do next.

First 5,000 words? Check. Author biog? Not a problem. One page synopsis? Again not a problem. If short listed for the next stage of the competition have the full manuscript ready by 8th August 2014? Hey, what? Full novel required in ten weeks? Well, what with everything else going on it took a month to write two chapters. Based on the story I have in mind there are another 18, which I make nine months, not ten weeks. Bum clouds!

I had put ‘Tales of the Sly Ditt Inn’ on hold to get the first 5,000 words done and would have kept the hiatus up should I have been lucky enough to be short listed. However trying to find time to write around 700 words a day on top of everything else just isn’t viable, assuming I was even lucky enough to reach that stage. Its not The Independent’s fault, its not Scholastic’s fault, its not Montegrappa’s fault. It’s all my fault. I didn’t read the full terms and conditions, I didn’t check.

I’m dead pleased with the first two chapters of my book and I will continue writing it, finding time to fit in a page here, a chapter there. Maybe when its finished there will be a similar competition and I will be able to enter after all. Maybe I’ll think its all rubbish and I’ll consign it to the bin. Maybe I’ll be so dead chuffed with it that I’ll send it to publishers anyway.

The trick of course will be juggling time. I want to get ‘Tales of the Sly Ditt Inn’ off hiatus, I want to carry on with ‘The Rukh Lords and the River God’ and ‘Donnington Speen’ needs to be done. Oh well, some things never change…

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