The Novel Slam 2018 returns on Thursday 18th October 2018 at DINA. It isn’t officially part of Off the Shelf festival this year, so please come along and support an independent event, organised, hosted and attended by local writers and their friends!
However, that means that we were able to fund a FREE pitching workshop, which is all about how to write a brilliant blurb and a sizzling synopsis, and find out just what to say if you find yourself in a lift with an agent or publisher!
Follow this link for details and to book a FREE place at Perfect Your Pitch! http://www.offtheshelf.org.uk/event/perfect-your-pitch/ This takes place on Saturday 13th October from 1.30-4.30pm at St Matthew’s Church, Carver Street in Sheffield City Centre. The workshop is led by the fantastic Beverley Ward and Anne Grange.
The Novel Slam!
Information for Writers
- The novel slam is fun – but we also value quality feedback and making sure that every writer feels supported, so please give it a go!
- You need to prepare a one minute pitch for your book. Think about the most exciting blurb for your book that would get people picking it up in bookshops (and buying it in droves). Time yourself. If you go over 60 seconds, some kind of Klaxon will sound, I’ve been told. You will also need to tell us the title of the novel.
- You also need to pick a three minute extract from your novel to read. Here are some extra tips:
- Most writers choose to read from their first chapter, but some winning competitors in previous years’ Novel Slams have used particularly funny or thrilling scenes from further into their novels.
- If you feel that the opening of your novel isn’t particularly thrilling – why? Readers (including agents and publishers) are looking for something that grabs them immediately. Preparing for the novel slam may be a good chance to test and re-draft your novel.
- Choose an extract with lots of drama and action, but avoid scenes with lots of dialogue by characters that the audience won’t know about.
- Avoid spoilers – you don’t want to give away any big secrets that readers won’t know until later in the novel!
- With a bit of practise, such as a free pitching workshop (see above for details), or reading out extracts from your novel to your friends, family or pets, your pitch and novel slam will be perfect. Make sure you speak clearly and practise looking up into audience members’ eyes! There will be a microphone for you to use at the event, so please try one out if you’ve never used one.
On the Night
- The first round is a time one minute pitch of your novel. You have one minute to wow audience and judges alike. Don’t explain your whole plot, just write a blurb that would make readers pick up your book and buy it straight away. The title is very important too!
- The audience then votes for the novels they most like the sound of, and there will be a short break. Eight people will make it through to the next round.
- The novelists then have three minutes to read their three minute extract from their novel.
- The judges will give constructive feedback to each writer, and will award scores.
- There will be a short break while the scores are being added up.
- First, second and third prizes will be awarded to the three top judge’s choices, with an audience prize for the writer who received the highest score in the pitching round without getting through to second round.
- The prizes will include a read-through by a top agent, a writing workshop, a podcast on Urban Tiger Radio, and professional coaching or mentoring.
Meet the Panel
Stacey Sampson:Writer, actor and drama practitioner, well known for her work in This Is England. Her first novel won the Arvon Award at the 2013 Northern Writers’ Awards, and she is the winner of the 2017 Mslexia Children’s Novel Competition.
Daniel Blythe: The author of many novels for adults and children, including The Cut, Losing Faith and This is the Day. He wrote the bestselling Doctor Who adventure Autonomy for BBC books, and his books for younger readers include: Shadow Runners, Emerald Greene and the Witch Stones and Emerald Greene: Instruments of Darkness for younger readers. He also works as a writer in schools, inspiring a new generation of writers.
Bryony Doran: Novelist, poet, short story and script writer. Bryony won the Hookline novel award in 2009 for her debut novel The China Bird. Her short story collection The Sand Eggs has also won critical acclaim. One of her latest works is Home Front, a a quadrilogy of book-length sequences by four female poets living in a state of separation from sons or husbands who are in a war zone. Bryony’s poems in the book telling the story of her son joining the army and his tour of duty in Afghanistan. Bryony also works as a creative writing coach, helping other writers’ creativity to flourish.
Gavin Extence: The author of best selling novels The Universe Versus Alex Woods, The Mirror World of Melody Black and The Empathy Problem, he is an alumni of the University of Sheffield and is the patron of Walkley Carnegie Library, supporting reading and creativity in the community.
Our compere for the evening will be Iain Broome, author of novel A is for Angelica . He is also a freelance writer, editor and content producer. Once again, he will be poised with his horn if any novel slam entrants go over their time limit!