The rejection letter that made me happy

The Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition

In my last post I said I was waiting to hear back from a literary agent about my fifth picture book.

Well, I can now reveal… that they sent me a standard rejection letter three weeks ago!

[Loud raspberry noise.]

Whenever I receive a rejection letter (I’ve had a few), my heart normally sinks for a split second and then I pick myself up and carry on typing. After all, rejections are par for the course.

Steven King famously saved his rejection slips and spiked them on a nail in his wall. He said, “By the time I was fourteen the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.”


However, when the last rejection plopped into my email inbox three weeks ago, I actually cheered!

The reason is simple: The closing date for The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition is December 18th. And in order to enter the competition, you have to be an unagented children’s author.

The prize is stupendous: a worldwide publishing contract with Chicken House with a royalty advance of £10,000, plus representation from a top children’s literary agent.


But the main prize, for me, would be to finish my darn novel! This alone would be a life-changing experience. (If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll know how much I’ve struggled with this.)

So… there are nine weeks until the competition closing date.

That’s nine weeks to tie up the plot, write another 20,000+ words, and edit the 20,000 words I previously wrote (which, to be honest, are so all over the place, half of them may as well be in French.)

I have no idea whether I can pull this off. I’ll have to write like a lunatic and I doubt I’ll have much time to blog. But I’ll post regular updates on my Facebook page, so head over there if you fancy seeing how my nervous breakdown is progressing seeing how things are going.

At the very least, I’ll have an almost-complete novel by the end of the year. And that will be be something worth cheering about!

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