John Marsden Prize for Young Australian Writers

If you’re a writer who’s under 25, you might be interested in entering the John Marsden Prize for Young Australian Writers. Entries have just opened for this prize, which is being facilitated by Express Media and funded by Marsden himself.

The competition offers the following prizes:

  • Short Story prize (18–24) $3000
  • Poetry prize (18–24) $1500
  • Short Story prize (under 18) $500
  • Poetry prize (under 18) $500
You also have the chance to have your work published online and in the December issue of Voiceworks.

See Express Media for more information, and for entry forms.

Are you having trouble with your novel’s beginning?

Writing the beginning of your novel is one of the most challenging, and most important, aspects of writing a novel. Get it wrong and you’ll lose the reader’s interest pretty quickly. Maybe they’ll come back to the book later in the hope it will get better, or maybe they’ll put the book down, never to pick it up again.

For those of you who are having trouble, I just read a great blog post from the Ampersand Project (Hardie Grant Egmont’s project that accepts new submissions from unpublished writers for a period each year – see more on the project here).

The post outlines some fantastic tips from Writer’s Digest on what to avoid when you’re writing your beginning, including opening with a dream or with an alarm clock buzzing, being unintentionally funny, and opening with dialogue.

Take a look at the post, and revisit the opening scene of your novel. Does it need tweaking?

Good luck!