Monthly Archives: April 2014

Pulp Idol Heats 2014

PulpIdol Heats

The judges and winners of one of the heats from this year’s Pulp Idol. (Picture: www.writingonthewall.org.uk)

Last year, I entered the PulpIdol writing competition, held each year as part of the Liverpool Writing on the Wall Literature Festival. It is something that I have circled in the diary, but it was the first time I had something substantial to submit for. I was selected for the heats, although I didn’t make it to the final, but the experience was a good one, especially the chance to meet other writers and to get feedback from the judges who are all published authors. I would say that the experience kick-started my desire to take the more creative writing side a bit more seriously and led to me signing up for my MA.

Fast forward twelve months, the Writing on the Wall Festival and in particular PulpIdol is back, and yet again I submitted a chapter of a novel for the competition. It is one that I had been working on this term during the workshops as part of my MA. It had been polished, restructured and generally bashed about to make it worth listening to (or reading).  I was successful in making it to the heats again this year.

The heat that I was selected for took place in the wonderful setting of the Liverpool Central Library. There were a number of heats taking place there over two nights, as well as an online one. From these they would select ten writers for the final, who would all have the prize of being published in the yearly Firsts anthology.

Having been given my heat, and dodged the bullet of going first (I ended up reading fifth). I sat through a number of really good and interesting first chapters. In my mind I was trying to place mine alongside the others. Once all the chapters had been read the judges sent everyone outside while they had their deliberations as to the three that would go through. Milling around outside gave us the chance to chat to our fellow contestants and a wonderfully supportive bunch they were. I was even chatting to someone who had travelled down from Newcastle to take part – there’s commitment for you. After what was only a short delay, but with the nerves kicking in, it seemed longer. They called us all in to hear who had made it through to the final.

They called out the first winner, who was sat next to me and while I was congratulating her, they read out my title, and then my name. To say I was shocked was an understatement. I was still taking it in, when they called out the third name, I nearly forgot to applaud him given that I was still processing what was going on.

So I have made it through to the final. Delighted, doesn’t quite cover how I feel after this. The final will select a winner, but knowing that I will be published in the anthology next year, is enough of a reward. Just to be in the final is a great achievement.

End of Term

photo

It’s hard to believe that the first year of my MA in Creative Writing is now over. Apart from one or two meetings with an assigned tutor, the assignments and classes have finished for year one. My usual Tuesday nights have been something of a distraction given everything that else that was going on in my life.

It is two modules down (Contemporary Novels I and The Workshop), with four more to go – one which will include the final major project of the novel in the final year. In the meantime the down-time in class gives me a chance to build up a portfolio of work in readiness for the workshops of next year. The aim over the summer is to try and send some work out to be published somewhere.

The second module has been really good, it was led by the writer AJ Dalton who has worked us all hard in the allocated sessions, though they have been enjoyable too. The homework that was set has seen the group pull together a portfolio of work that includes elements that will help with the marketing of our work and ourselves as writers. There have also been numerous opportunities to get feedback on our developing novels. So much so, I feel the first two chapters of my novel are beginning to take shape. Though there are still a few teething problems with the narrator/POV, which are slowly being ironed out with each draft.

As well during these sessions we have looked at many aspects of the writing craft as well as dis-cussed aspects of the publishing industry. These sessions have been both inspiring and informative.

Not only have the sessions been productive, but Adam has joined us in the pub afterwards to
further discuss our work and that of the industry. I have to say it’s been one of the best modules that I have done during any of my studies.

Although I am sad that it’s over, here’s to the summer, and preparation for the next academic year.