Sheffield Novel Slam 2018 – join us!

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An aspiring novelist reads at the novel slam in 2017.

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!

This year, the Novel Slam takes place once again at DINA, so you’ll be able to enjoy the evening in atmospheric surroundings. Hopefully the stage will still have that spangly curtain! There will be a fully stocked bar and friendly, cabaret-style seating.
The event is on Thursday 18th October and starts at 7.30pm. Get there early to make sure that you hear all the novelists – the audience gets to vote on their favourite pitch.
To book your place as an entrant or as an audience member, please follow this link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/novel-slam-2018-tickets-50071700805
Please come along and support this fantastic event! All aspiring novelists are invited to perform, and everyone is welcome at this event! Tickets are £10 if you want to enter, and £5 to be part of our voting audience.
If you read this blog post, or book a ticket on Eventbrite, please share it on social media or by email, to help spread the word!
The Facebook Event for the 2018 Novel Slam is: Novel Slam 2018.
Please share and tell your friends about it!

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.

The Judges

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 CutLosing 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 WoodsThe 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!

Good luck!!

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Be heard! Join the Sheffield Novel Slam 2017

Poetry slam logo

It’s that time of year again! The novel slam is now part of the official Festival Fringe of Off the Shelf in Sheffield.

On Monday 9th October, at 7.30pm, the novel slam launches at a new venue, DINA https://www.facebook.com/dinavenue/ DINA is a new venue for the arts. Expect an intimate feel, a stage with a touch of glittery glamour, and importantly, a bar!

Once again, we have a panel of judges with a world of writing expertise, our very own X-Factor style judges of fiction talent. (Don’t worry, they will be friendly!)

The novel slam is still a unique concept – there are lots of poetry slams, where poets can find their voice, but we novelists had no outlet to reach an audience or get feedback from professionals. If you are writing a novel – or a novella, this is your chance to entrance the audience.

Please take the plunge – it takes a little courage to pitch your novel and read out extracts, but in return for preparing well and rehearsing, you’ll get feedback from award-winning authors, and the chance to win writing related prizes such as coaching, critiques, and feedback from a literary agent.

If you don’t want to compete, we would love to have you as part of the audience. Come and meet Sheffield’s new writing talent! You also get to vote for your favourite entries, so the night doesn’t happen without you.

Tickets cost £5 /£3 concessions on the door.

If you want to compete in the Novel Slam, call Anne on 07815966784, or email sheffieldnovelists@gmail.com to book  your place. Entrants from previous years are very welcome to have another go, particularly with a new book. New writers are especially welcome too!

There is a Facebook page for the Novel Slam so if you’re going to the event, please use it to help us to spread the word! Sheffield Novel Slam on Facebook

Tickets for audience members and entrants will be available on the door, but you can also reserve tickets here via Eventbrite: Reserve a ticket.

Watch this space for more news about the judges and our compere for the evening.

The Rules

The novel slam is a fun, yet slightly competitive way to promote new writing talent. Everyone is welcome to enter, and the atmosphere is warm and supportive! Please don’t be daunted by the prospect of entering. There will be constructive criticism from the judges, but they know what they are talking about – they’ve won prizes for doing it!

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. Ten people will make it through to the next round.

The novelists then have three minutes to read an extract from their novel. Here are some 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!

The judges will give constructive feedback to each writer, and the audience and judges will vote for their favourite novel extracts.

In the final round, the four finalists will read for a further 5 minutes each and will each receive more in-depth feedback from the panel of judges. The overall winner will get the first choice of prizes.

Practise makes perfect: craft your pitch carefully, test it out in front of your family and friends, use a timer when you’re rehearsing, and edit your extracts to read so they’re engaging, attention-grabbing and intriguing.

The Judges

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 CutLosing 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!

Good luck!!

 

 

 

 

Novel Slam 2015

The annual Off the Shelf Novel Slam has become something of a Sheffield tradition over the last few years, with fiction writers getting brave and pitching and reading out their work in front of a live audience. The aim of the event is to give new fiction writers an audience, and a chance to showcase their work, just like poets would do in a poetry slam. Writing novels can be a lonely business!

Scary-Book

The novel slam takes place on Tuesday 27th October at 7.30pm at Bank Street Arts, in Sheffield city centre. Tickets cost £5 /£3 concessions on the door, and refreshments are available. If you don’t want to compete, just turn up, enjoy it, and vote for the best books.

If you want to take part in the Novel Slam, call 07815966784, or email sheffieldnovelists@gmail.com

The first round is a 1 minute pitch of your novel. You will be timed! You have exactly one minute to convince the audience that your novel is a must-read. You don’t need to explain your entire plot, you just need to prepare the blurb that will make readers pick your book off the shelves and take it straight to the till in the bookshop.

The audience will vote for their favourites, and after a short break, the ten people through to the next round will have 3 minutes to read a compelling extract from their novel. Most people pick the start of the first chapter, but some writers have had success with extracts from the middle of their books.

The panel of published writers will give feedback to the contestants and there will be a break while the audience vote again, and the judges pick the four winning novelists.

The winners will each read a slightly longer extract from their novels, and the judges will give more detailed feedback.

The prizes will include reading of your novel and feedback from literary agent Joanna Swainson, a free read of your manuscript by The Literary Consultancy and free creative coaching.

Although the competitive format of the Novel Slam may seem a little daunting, it’s just for fun really, and a great chance to meet other writers.

Tip: practise makes perfect, so carefully craft your pitch, test it out in front of your family and friends, use a timer when you’re rehearsing, and edit your extracts to read so they’re engaging, attention-grabbing and intriguing.