So, as we plunge headlong into what is looking very much like being the final month of the year we've all come to regard as 2011, the question on everybody's* lips is, "How is the Ten-Four Challenge going, Dan?"
And the answer to that is, "Reasonably". I'm up to seven now, with entries sent (since my last post on the subject) to the NAWG Open Competition, the BBC's Opening Lines, and The New Writer. I don't really have a sense of how I might do in any of these, so hopefully I won't be too disheartened if none of them come to anything. For the NAWG one, Linda Lewis has selected the shortlist (which is, as yet, unpublished) and I've won a second and third prize in the two competitions she organised herself last year, so there's a chance she might have liked the story I sent this time. The final judging is done by a panel of NAWG people, though, so even if I have got through, their tastes are a complete unknown.
The New Writer competition is different again. Jonathan Pinnock is the judge there and, after reading his highly entertaining romp, Mrs Darcy Versus The Aliens, I have a feeling he might enjoy the story I sent in, but the arrangement at TNW is more traditional - and in fact the reverse of NAWG - in that Jonathan will only see the shortlist. So if the initial readers aren't keen on a story about a XXXXX from XXXXXX who finds himself completely XXXXXXXX, tries to XXXXXX a XXXX with the local XXXXXX XXXXXX, gets caught up with all manner of XXXX XXXXXXX and ends up having to XXXX his own XXXXXX, then I'm dead in the water there, too. [Obviously I've had to censor key elements there to ensure I don't jeopardise the anonymous judging process].
It seems kind of audacious sending stuff to the BBC, but I think the story I chose suits their criteria. Well, it's the right length and there's not too much dialogue, which is what they asked for, so I don't think I've fallen at either of the really obvious hurdles.
I will, of course, keep you posted if anything happens on any of these fronts. And I'll be revealing details of where I send the final three entries of the year, assuming I manage to write/edit them in time...
In the meantime, I'm also curating my own competition, the Somewhere To Start From Treasure Hunt! The initial response to it has been more muted than I had hoped, so I would just like to assure everybody that it is a genuine competition, it's really easy to complete (if you can read and count, you'll have it sussed in no time), and the odds of winning a prize are extremely good. It's also free to enter, with a chance to win £50 to spend at Amazon.co.uk - that's got to be worth a shot, surely? Good luck!
*Well, I say everybody. What I really mean is that Teresa Stenson said she was "waiting to see what happens", a couple of weeks ago (in the comments bit).