CBC and Curtis Brown are proud to partner with the Women Prize Trust and Audible to run Discoveries, a prize and writing development programme, which provides practical support and encouragement to aspiring female novelists of all ages and backgrounds, from across the UK and Ireland.
The discoveries will culminate in a prize, and the author of the winning novel, a representation by Curtis Brown, will be awarded as well as a prize of £5,000. One of the most promising writers from the six-writer shortlist will be named Discoveries Scholar, and this writer will win a free scholarship place to attend a three-month novel writing course with Curtis Brown Creative (worth £1,800). Learn more about all the prizes and opportunities offered through Discoveries here.
To enter, all you have to do is send us the opening (up to) 10,000 words of your novel (including any introduction) and an abstract of up to 1,000 words (but if you can, make it shorter than that – 500 words is a lot).
Our founder and referee Discoveries 2022 Anna Davis previously shared some of her tips for preparing your application. Here she shares fourteen other tips that focus specifically on writing a compelling summary…
An abstract is a concise, lively overview of your novel. For your application to the Discoveries Prize, it will sit alongside the opening of 10,000 words and must outline the full narrative arc of your outline. One page should suffice you to cover all the required information, and make the summary easy to read and understand. Aside from the fact that you need a summary to get into this award and submit it to literary agents, it’s actually a great way to see if your plot is working right. If you can’t summarize your story on a page, there’s probably something wrong with it…
Here are my tips on how to write a really good one-page summary of your novel:
1. Put your nickname at the top
Even if it’s still just a business address.
2. Mention the genre you write in
For example, romance, science fiction, fantasy, thriller and crime, psychological suspense… If you are not writing with a clear literary genre or you are not sure of your genre, just skip this.
3. What are you sure You need in/near the top is your pitch line
This is usually the main question, dilemma, or driving force of the novel – or heart From the novel in another way. And if you know you have a great hook or a high concept, this should be your line. Understandably, writers are too busy trying to get their latitudes right – but remember that you’re going to keep telling your story along the way anyway – it’s not all about that one line.
4. Some people like to include a quote from the novel
Quotes can provide a glimpse into the tone of your novel as well as excite and entice the reader. They can be a good way to go if you’re struggling to get to the playing field – but somehow go here – you don’t need both.
5- Continue to cover the plot of your land in its wide forms
Put your story in simpler Terms. Don’t try to include everything: we don’t need all the twists and turns and complex subplots – just the main plot points so that readers can see your novel He is Where is it headed?
6. Get your protagonist’s name early
Expressing the main character’s motives. It’s good to show who this story is for. but don’t enter very Many character names. We don’t need your full list of actors – in fact we don’t need many names at all or you will clutter your page with them. This can make your summary confusing and difficult to understand.
7. Give us when and where
We need to know the basic setting of the novel and the time period in which it occurs (particularly if it is a historical novel. We tend to make the “now” assumption). Again, however, do not include a lot Place names and dates – keep it simple.
8. Should I include the ending?
The honest (though annoying) answer is that it’s up to you. Some agents might say they need to see the ending because it’s such an important part of the story – they’re upset if it isn’t there. But others say they don’t like giving up any major development in the tale because they still feel they want to treat the novel as a reader. For the Discovery Prize, readers and judges will only read 10,000 opening words, so I’d advise expressing the full arc of your story.
9. The best summaries convey the tone of the novel as well as the plot
If you can find a way to bring the feel, atmosphere, or sound of the novel into the summary, it will really bring it to life. It’s not necessary and not worth worrying about if you can’t see a way to do it, but it does add a little extra zing.
10. Don’t pile praise on your novel
The summary is not the place to say that you are going to become a world bestseller, or even to comment that the novel is gripping, funny, touching, etc. Leave it to others to make judgments about the ten best-selling books or award-winning potential.
11. Do not include the detailed chapter
Or mini summaries of the content of individual parts of your book. This is not your business plan – the agent or publisher doesn’t need to see all of that stuff.
12. Choose Story Instead of ‘Themes’
Tell us what drives your novel but don’t provide a list of themes or images with the idea that this will make it appear more meaningful and thoughtful. Topics should only be mentioned if your book explores a major problem or if it is. most essential He is concerned, for example, with sadness as the driving force of the story.
13. Don’t talk about unreliable narrators
People often make the case that first-person narrators are unreliable. I think this is a hangover from the undergraduate English degrees. Basically Which And all The first-person narrator is untrustworthy, so it’s not worth highlighting.
14. Unusual narrative structures
It’s probably really impossible to sum up your novel in the way I advise here – because it’s very experimental, its cast of characters is huge and without any kind of centrality; Its plot is so unconventional that it barely exists. If your story is really And therefore Unusual and funky, you wouldn’t actually be able to produce a “normal” summary of it.
If so, determine if you can write a page that gives an idea of what you are trying to do in the novel, and speaks enthusiastically about your novelistic endeavors. Or perhaps try a page from a particular character’s perspective to entice and entice the agent – even if it’s not actually an overview of the story in the traditional sense. However, if you read about it again and find that it sounds like an academic exercise or just too pretentious and unreadable, don’t submit it with your work. Most novels can Be brief, so don’t jump on that last point!
Good luck with your Discoveries and taming the devious beast that is the summary!
Find out more about Discoveries 2022 and how to sign up.