Saturday, December 4, 2021 from 10am – 12pm at the Writers Workshop, Orchard Square Sheffield – or on Zoom if you can’t make it in person!
Join the Sheffield Novelists at The Writers Workshop, Orchard Square, Sheffield for an in-person get together. Feel free to bring some festive snacks to share as we write – yes, I’m going to break the mince pies out.
It’s an opportunity to get some feedback and share your work, and to get some inspiration for your novel. In this workshop, you will get a chance to read a five-minute extract aloud supportive, constructive feedback. Then we’ll discuss building characters, and have a go at some character-writing exercises.
The Novel Slam returns, live, on Monday 18th October at 7pm at the Creative Lounge, which is part of Sheffield Showroom Workstation in Sheffield City Centre.
Winning Novel Slam entrants from 2019 and 2020’s online edition share their experiences of the event. It can feel daunting, but it’s a chance for you to showcase your novel in a friendly, supportive setting. To enter the Novel Slam or to book an audience ticket, click here! There is also a pitching workshop on Monday 11th October, on Zoom from 6-8pm. For more details, please click here!
Joanna Hastings – 2020
I was in two minds whether to enter for the Novel Slam or not! My novel was in very early stages and I wasn’t at all sure that it – or I – was ready. Friends encouraged me and at the last minute I did. I knew my first chapter wasn’t working, so I swapped it for a later one that felt better. Still, it was an inadequate fix and I wasn’t in the right place in the novel-writing process to redraft it, so I chose a passage from later in the book to be my submission extract. I think some judges found this annoying, so I wouldn’t recommend it necessarily, but it represented the flavour of my work better. Friends gave me feedback on my pitch–I’m terrible at pitches. Aside from that, my preparation was mostly reading aloud to make sure my passage would fit within the time limit. Oh, and digging out an old lipstick and a clean shirt! (I’m naturally scruffy and lockdown didn’t help.)
I was pretty nervous at the event. Again, my work wasn’t ready to be in front of people. But it turned out to be lovely. Some friends showed up on Zoom, a couple of them also competitors, which felt comradely. I enjoyed listening to everyone else’s readings, and felt grateful to be in the company of so many interesting authors, as well as organisers and judges who were supportive, gracious, kind, and made the whole thing fun rather than scary. The feedback I received that night and the help Dan gave me later were both motivational, things I could look back on when I felt like a talentless fraud. They helped me keep going.
I’ve just finished the first draft of the same novel that I was working on then, so I’m between drafts, stepping back for now so I can approach the second attempt with more clarity. I keep having ideas about it, so I’m trying to just scribble a note and put it away again. Perhaps after a week or so I’ll succeed in forgetting about it altogether. I’m planning to take this opportunity to do some pre-work on a new novel set here in Sheffield, that draws on the history of the Rivelin valley and the folktale of Northern England. Maybe.
Letty Butler – 2019
In terms of my experience of Novel Slam both as a participant and audience member, I’ve found it to be incredibly inclusive and supportive, inspiring and uplifting. I’m always delighted by the eclectic array of content delivered by an equally diverse range of writers. It makes me feel less alone – knowing I’m scribbling away in good company.
Tips wise – I think the main thing is to practice reading your pitch and extract aloud before hitting the stage, and when you’re up there, go 25% slower than you think you should. It will feel odd, but nerves automatically make you read faster. Remember that it’s the first time the audience are hearing your words – even if it’s the 700th time you’ve read them. It doesn’t hurt to do a little vocal warm up before the event either – perhaps some tongue twisters, or a bit of yoga to get the breath support going – because if people can’t hear you clearly, they’re not going to vote for you. Be loud and proud of your work!
I guess it’s important to choose a bit that’s instantly accessible so the audience can get hooked into the narrative in a relatively short space of time – so something punchy & instantly intriguing or gratifying. Something that doesn’t require prior knowledge of the characters or situation in order to be impactful.
I know this is going to sound like a bit of a cliche, but it’s probably helpful to view it more as a networking event rather than a competition. It’s not the winning that counts etc etc . Writing can be such an isolating existence, so to find other local writers and connect with them is integral to keep momentum & motivation up when it gets tough. Non writers can be very supportive of the writers’ life, but they don’t truly know how it feels. For me, meeting and connecting with others writers, and establishing a strong support system is one of the key elements of remaining sane – the novel slam is a brilliant opportunity to do these things.
Most of all – just try and enjoy it. It’s a great night. You’ll meet some smashing people, hear some wonderful work and it will motivate you to crack on. If you don’t get placed this year, you’ve still been bloody brave by taking one more step towards getting your work out there into the world.
Erm what else… oh yes – my writing. So, I won in 2019 which meant I got feedback from a literary agent on the first 3000 words. She went on to request the full manuscript – which was a huge compliment & confidence boost. She decided it wasn’t for her – rightly so – it wasn’t remotely ready! I’ve just got back from a writing retreat and am halfway through my 6th & (hopefully final!) draft of the same novel. I’m now adapting it into a screenplay through Sky Writes & New Writing North, having pitched the concept earlier this year. I probably wouldn’t have had the confidence to pursue this unless I’d had the validation early on regarding the strength of the idea. I’ve also just finished a non fiction book which is in the process of being formatted & sent out to publishers. So all in all, not too shabby.
And winning encouraged me to enter other competitions, so I have since been Highly Commeded by Silver Apples Magazine, Shortlisted twice for the International Reflex Flash Fiction Prize and I won the Cranked Anvil Short Story Comp in April…
It’s big, it’s back and it’s live on stage. Novel Slam 2021 is here!
Bring a 1 minute pitch and a 3 minute extract from your work in progress and compete for the title of Novel Slam champion. With friendly, insightful feedback from Sheffield novelists Bryony Doran, Daniel Blythe, Stacey Sampsom, Berlie Doherty and Gavin Extence, you could win free coaching, feedback and a read from agent Caroline Montgomery from Rupert Crew.
I seem to specialise in writing with dark humour about older people. (my previous novel Demented Love, dealt with Alzheimer’s and bondage!) This one features sex on top of Kinder and a breast- feeding grandmother.
Bad Granny is my second novel and features sexy artist, Olivia, who is looking after her five year old granddaughter, Winnie, when there’s a tragic accident. Olivia’s daughter, Fay, blames her mother and Olivia is no longer allowed to see Winnie.
Friends of mine told me that they had been refused contact with their grandchildren and after some research I found that grannies have no rights. Having grand-children myself, I know how tough that must be. Olivia is not based on me or my friends – but I’m sure some people will see aspects of themselves or me in some of my characters.
The book deals with tragic themes and I was given generous help by members of the Burns Club, based at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, who told me of the trauma they and their children had suffered after accidental burns or scalds. The action is set mainly in Sheffield, around the Hunter’s Bar area, though the main character is not enamoured with the city, at least not until she acquires a lover here!
Sheffield Novelists Group helped me so much with their constructive criticism and everyone who is trying to write should join a group like this for support and inspiration.
Bad Granny can be obtained from Amazon, Mirador Press or the Book Depository and is available as an ebook or in paperback.
The Novel Slam 2019 returns on Tuesday 22nd October 2019 at KOMMUNE. This year, the Novel Slam is an official part of the main Off the Shelf programme for the first time, so please come along and give us your support.
To help you to polish your pitch for your novel, we have a free event as part of the Writers’ Hub launch from 2-4pm on Saturday 12th October 2019 at the Writers Hub at Kurious Arts, Castle House, Angel Street, S3 8LS. For more details, follow this link https://www.offtheshelf.org.uk/event/pitch-publish-party-2019/
Enter the Novel Slam 2019!
This year, the Novel Slam takes place at KOMMUNE, a new space for eating, drinking and cultural experiences in the former Co-Op department store in Castle House on Angel Street. The building is also the home of the new Writers Hub. https://kurious.art/writershub
The event is on Tuesday 22nd October and starts at 7.00pm. Get there early to make sure that you hear all the novelists – the audience gets to vote on their favourite pitch.
To attend the event as an audience member, tickets are £5. You can book a ticket via the Off the Shelf website: Novel Slam at Off the Shelf or you can pay on the door. Audience members are very important as their votes influence who goes through to the next round.
Please come along and support this fantastic event! All aspiring novelists are invited to perform, and everyone is welcome at this event!
The aim of the Novel Slam is to provide a supportive forum where you can really sell your book in front of a live audience and professional writers.
We know how important it is for you to showcase your work. It’s also a great opportunity to get feedback from professional writers and meet other novelists.
The Novel Slam is also an entertaining evening and we want everyone to have fun.
You need to prepare a one minute pitch for your book.
Base your pitch on the most gripping blurb you’ve ever read on the back of a book – something that would make you pick it up and buy it. Time yourself. If you go over 60 seconds, a Klaxon will sound!
You will be asked to read the first line of your novel. Make sure it’s a good one!
In case you get through to the second round, please prepare a three minute extract from your novel to read. If you do get voted through to the second round, here are some extra tips:
To reel in your audience, it is probably advisable to read from your first chapter. However, feel free to read from any part of your novel, especially if it’s dramatic, action-packed or funny. Avoid spoilers and scenes with lots of characters that won’t mean anything to an audience hearing an extract from your novel for the first time.
This could be your chance to ensure that the opening of your novel is exciting and engaging. Agents, publishers and most importantly, readers, want a fantastic read from the very start.
Practise – and time your pitch and your reading – and rehearse it in front of friends and family – or even in front of the mirror.
You will be using a microphone on the night so, if possible, practise using one!
At the Novel Slam
A timed one minute pitch of your novel. Don’t forget to tell us the title of your book, your name (or pen name).
Read the first line of your novel.
The audience and the judges vote for their favourite pitches.
There will be a short break while the scores are added up.
Eight writers will get through to the next round.
The eight novelists to get through to Round 2 each read their three minute extract from their novels.
The judges will give constructive feedback to each writer, and will award scores secretly, to be given out at the end.
The judges will retire to add up their scores during a short break.
First, second and third places will be awarded to the judges’ three top choices.
There’s also an audience prize, for a writer who didn’t get through to the final three.
Kate Shaw founded the Shaw Agency in 2019 after eighteen years as a literary agent at Aitken Alexander Associates and The Viney Agency.
During Kate’s career in books she has promoted Booker-shortlisted authors, discovered Sunday Times-bestselling writers and represented multiple award-winning books that have sold millions of copies worldwide in dozens of languages and been optioned for film & TV.
Kate has brought her clients with her to The Shaw Agency and her mission is to continue to inspire them to be the finest writers they can be, to negotiate the best deals for them across the world and to discover and nurture new authors.
Kate’s passions are literary and commercial fiction, crime fiction, powerful and quirky non-fiction, teen and children’s books.
A read through of the first three chapters of your novel and feedback from author Daniel Blythe
A professional coaching session
Local authors’ book giveaway
A month’s free membership of the Writers Hub
Urban Tiger Radio
On the night, Urban Tiger Radio will be looking out for promising authors to record podcasts for their Soundscape Magazine for original music and literature. It’s a great way to promote your novel. https://soundcloud.com/rbanigeradio
Meet the Team
The Judges – a lovely selection of Sheffield writers – definitely not as scary as X-Factor!
Stacey Sampson: Stacey is an actor, writer and facilitator from Sheffield. Her work as a performer and scriptwriter spans theatre, television and film. She won the first ever Novel Slam and since then her novels have gone on to win the Arvon Award, Norther Writers’ Award and the Mslexia Novel Competition.
Daniel Blytheis a writer of 10 novels for children and adults, as well as non-fiction books on diverse subjects and short novellas for reluctant readers, and is published internationally in the UK, Europe, the USA, South America and Asia. He has worked with over a dozen different publishers in 25 years and is represented by a leading UK literary agent (Rupert Crew Ltd). He has written several of the official Doctor Who books licensed by the BBC. Daniel’s first ‘literary’ book was 1999’s The Cut (Penguin), followed by Losing Faith and This is the Day. In 2012 his first supernatural fantasy novel for young readers, Shadow Runners, was published. Emerald Greene and the Witch Stones (for age 9-12) was published in 2015 and a sequel Emerald Greene: Instruments of Darkness in 2017. His new novel for older teenagers, a sci-fi mystery called Exiles, has just been published and will be officially launched at Kommune in Sheffield in November 2019. Daniel has worked extensively in schools with pupils of all ages and has taught on the M.A. in Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University. He also mentors, advises and edits writers of all ages through various literary consultancies. He has two teenage children and lives in the wilds of rural Sheffield.
Bryony Doran is a novelist, poet and short story writer. Graduating from Sheffield Hallam University with an MA in Writing, Bryony went on to win the Hookline Novel Award with her debut novel, The China Bird. Her other published works are: A short story collection, The Sand Eggs and a poetry collection, Bullet Proof, included in Home Front, a quadrilogy of modern war poetry published by Bloodaxe.
Iain Broome is the author of A is for Angelica, a novel about a middle-aged man struggling to care for his seriously-ill wife while obsessing over the lives of his neighbours.
Having worked for many years as an agency copywriter, Iain is now a freelance writer and content producer. He has previously edited literary magazines, co-organised a successful monthly spoken word event and maintained a popular website and podcast about writing.
He lives in Sheffield with his wife, daughter and identical twin boys.
Beverley Ward is a writer, coach and facilitator. She is the curator of the Writers’ Hub at Kurious Arts, Sheffield. Her latest book is coming out in 2020. Dear Blacksmith is part love story, part grief memoir, recounting the author’s brief and unconventional love affair with ‘Blacksmith Paul’, a maverick who lived out on the moors in the Peak District – and the heart-rending details of her grief after his sudden death, just eight months into their relationship. coming out 2020.
Anne Grange is a writer, editor and creative writing tutor and facilitator from Sheffield. She is the author of Distortion, a novel inspired by her love of music and festivals. She runs the Sheffield Novelists writing group every month, giving writers the chance to get feedback on their work in a supportive atmosphere!
It was so exciting to see my book come out, especially in paperback. It all seemed worthwhile. Those hours staring at a blank screen or at least they felt like hours. Deleting chapters and starting again.
Refused by several agents, I decided to self- publish, though not without trepidation. It contains some sexually explicate scenes – what would my adult children think? Could I even tell my elderly relatives?
I didn’t set out to write a racy novel, though the idea for the book came from a friend who I knew was having an affair. She told me that her lover was now suffering from dementia and the novel was conceived, if not yet born. Originally, the mistress was the main character but the wife, Paula, developed organically and became the primary focus.
My research included joining a web site for women wanting to date younger men. I joined toyboy flirt.com. as if I were Paula, a sixty -year old woman looking for some fun. I much prefer the name of my fictional website. mrsrobinson.com, but the replies were great and some went into the novel, though others were too sexual even for Demented Love and many of the photographs were gross. I had plenty to choose from, as within a week, I had over 500 replies!
I also attended a day centre for dementia sufferers and sought advice from friends whose parents suffer from Alzheimer’s. I did a lot of soul searching about the voice of Jack, who has Alzheimer’s. The book is full of dark humour but I did not want the reader to feel I was mocking Jack but rather laughing with him.
I wrote each chapter from the point of view of a variety of characters, so I set myself the hard task of finding voices for characters as diverse as an eighty- year old dementia sufferer, his gay son, a toy -boy and a young surrogate mother.
I started Demented Love several years ago, when attending a creative writing evening class run by Susan Elliot Wright. I had constructive feedback from other students and from the Sheffield Novelist’s group. I pitched it at the Novel Slam in Off the Shelf and came second. This gave me the confidence to apply for the MA Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam, where I completed the novel as my final piece.
My blurb describes it as S&M for the M&S brigade and most people find it very funny. I hope though behind the humour it begins to reverse the asexual way older people are generally portrayed and to explore the dynamics of elder abuse in a very different way.
If you want to buy it is on Amazon to download or in paperback
The novel slam was a big success again this year. The decision to change to a larger, more accessible venue, the Adelphi Room at Sheffield’s legendary Crucible Theatre, really paid off, and once again, it was a delight to meet so many writers.
The novel slam can be a nerve-wracking experience for entrants, although that’s not the intention! The idea behind the novel slam is to get used to promoting your work in public (in case you meet a literary agent in a lift, or just to enthuse your friends about the book you’re working so hard on), meet other writers and to get feedback from our expert judges.
One of the entrants, Anna Caig, who also writes for the Sheffield Telegraph, wrote a blog post about her experience in the novel slam, which can also be found on the official Off the Shelf blog: Off the Shelf Official Blog.
Off The Shelf 2016 has been an embarrassment of riches for the literature lovers of Sheffield. I have enjoyed every moment, from Withnail and I director Bruce Robinson talking about his new book on Jack The Ripper, to searching for the truth behind the ‘green man’ with Nina Lyons, to hearing Melissa Benn’s views on women in public life and education.
I must have been carried away by the atmosphere of the festival when I agreed to take part in the Off The Shelf fringe ‘Novel Slam’ event. Essentially, this is the X-Factor for people writing books.
The first round consists of a one minute ‘elevator pitch’ from each entrant to an audience, describing their novel. Then there is an audience vote and half the contestants are eliminated. The remaining ten people read a three minute extract from their novel. Followed by another audience vote whittling ten down to four finalists. These four then read for a further five minutes. And the eventual winner is chosen by a panel of judges.
So, all in all a kind of torture.
I spent a long Saturday afternoon the weekend before the slam up in my bedroom with an egg timer shunning my family, and perfecting (or at least deciding on) a one-minute description of my novel.
This is the book I have been writing on and off for nearly five years: a dark, gruesome tale of murder, myth and the supernatural, the research for which has probably seen me added to several watch lists. How to use naturally occurring plant-based drugs for mind control, anyone? But it has been much more off than on. It is in no way finished or well-edited, and the thought of reading aloud from this far from polished work was nothing short of terrifying.
I am turning forty next year, and I wonder if this could be my mid-life crisis in action. Turns out that putting myself out there to be judged by a room full of strangers is quite the adrenaline rush. Some people buy a Ferrari; some people sleep with their secretary; some people go bungee jumping. I prove to myself that I’m still alive and kicking by taking part in a novel slam.
On the day of the slam, my butterflies began well before breakfast. By mid-afternoon I was feeling sick.
I met my friend, who was also competing, for a gin and tonic beforehand in the vain hope that this would give me courage. By this point I could no longer feel my hands. The only other time in my life I remember feeling that anxious was on my wedding day.
The slam was held in the Adelphi Room, which is part of Sheffield’s beautiful Crucible Theatre. This is a glass fronted room below the huge Crucible sign whose contents is visible across the whole of Tudor Square below. We could not have been more exposed. As I stood up to read my synopsis, I was so flustered I nearly stumbled backwards through the glass window.
My recollections of the experience itself are something of a blur. There was some fabulous writing from my fellow-competitors that I could in no way fully appreciate due to my anxiety. When I was voted through to the second round I accidentally gave myself a whoop I was so pleased.
I’m sad to confess that I didn’t make the final four. But was reassured by the fact that these writers were stunning. It was only at this point that I could really relax and appreciate the quality of the writing showcased at the event.
The feedback I received from the judges was all spot on, and genuinely helpful for me to take away and use to improve the book. And I met some great fellow Sheffield-based aspiring, as well as actual real-life, novelists. More than anything, it felt wonderful to be immersed in that world where we’re all in the same boat; where everyone in the room gets that writing is the best thing ever, and there is no better way to spend your time.
So, while I didn’t come out of the experience covered in glory, neither was I humiliated. It was a fantastic evening, and despite the lack of feeling in my limbs I loved every (perfectly-timed) minute.
I hope that all the entrants have now recovered from their trauma and are now working on their novels. Many thanks to everyone who attended the event and made it a success.
Congratulations to the winners. I hope you enjoy your prizes!
The Sheffield Novelists writing group is open to all writers who are serious about writing a novel. Contact us for details.
At the Louder than Words music writing festival in Manchester, Sheffield Novel Slam organiser Anne Grange caught up with the Novel Slam’s 2015 winner Olivia Piekarski about her experience.
I heard about the novel slam though my writing group, Manchester Women Writers, which is an amazing mixed-ability group of writers who meet weekly at Manchester Central library. Susan Solazzi, who runs the group, found out about the slam. I thought it sounded amazing. I need to find an agent at this stage of my career, and the chance of a guaranteed read-through of my manuscript by Joanna Swainson seemed too good an opportunity to pass up. I rang up and booked a place in the Novel Slam.
My novel The Guest List is my first piece of fiction that I’m pleased with. I’m nearing the end of my first complete draft. I’ve gained confidence as a fiction writer since The Big Midweek, the music memoir I co-wrote with Steve Hanley, ex-bassist of the legendary and notorious band the Fall was released. After all, it had a guaranteed audience of at least 5,000 fanatical Fall fans. Our independant publishers Route don’t insist on working with agents, unlike the larger publishing houses, so I had by-passed that stage during The Big Midweek process.
I almost didn’t make it. The train was delayed, and I was sending frantic text messages to the organiser, Anne. Steve and I piled into a taxi at Sheffield railway station, and told the taxi driver to put his foot down. We reached Bank Street in about five minutes, but didn’t know where Bank Street Arts was and sped past it. Luckily, I caught sight of the A-board outside as we were speeding past and stopped our driver just in time. I arrived just as the first writer was doing his pitch, and we sat down at the back, massively relieved.
Reading the guidelines for the Novel Slam, I was impressed with the format. It was a clean slate that enabled all the writers to compete on an equal footing. The pitching round meant that you had to sell the book to the audience in one minute. I spent hours developing a decent synopsis that fitted into the time limit – something that would be perfect for the blurb at the back of a dust jacket. There were lots of good pitches though – I think that Iain Broome, the compere, was a bit disappointed that he didn’t have much opportunity to blow his horn at people who had run over the allotted time!
The three-minute reading from the start of the novel was the most important and most difficult part of the Novel Slam to get right. I knew I needed to hook people in from the first page – that was all I got to read, and if you were browsing books in a bookshop, that’s all you’d read too, when deciding whether to buy a book. Three minutes was just the right amount of time to keep the audience interested. I was elated when people were laughing and clapping in the right places, even though it made my hands shake with nerves! It was a good experience, but a little terrifying. Getting a positive audience reaction to your work stops you from feeling like a nutter, sitting at your laptop and laughing away to yourself.
I was blown away by the standard of everyone’s writing. All the competitors were serious writers – competing for serious prizes, such as a read-through by the Literary Consultancy, and creative coaching.The feedback from the judges’ panel was very well thought-out, and gave all the writers something to work on to improve their work.
In the break, people came up to me to say that they loved the opening of my novel, which was great. Being an author is very isolating. It’s not like being in a band, where you get immediate feedback from your colleagues and from the audience. The Novel Slam is a beautiful way of testing authors’ writing.
When I found out I’d got into the final, the feeling was amazing, and when I won, I was completely overwhelmed. Then I ran back off to catch the last train, feeling like I’d got away with a total hit and run, Manchester style.
Writing a book is a massive undertaking, and the chances of actually making money from it are very slim. Truly dedicated writers have no choice. They have to go on. It’s an all-consuming passion, even though it’s important to live a “real” life at the same time. Writing is a condition, and only becomes a viable job for very few. The entire profession should be stamped with a mental health warning but if you really can’t help yourself perseverance and patience are key.
I’m now working hard on finishing the first full draft of The Guest List, but I’m buoyed up by the experience of the Novel Slam.
Thank you, Sheffield!
Note from Anne: I was waiting for a tram home after the Novel Slam when I found lots of panicky text messages from Olivia on my phone about her train being delayed. While she was texting, I was busy taking the ticket money for the event, and was too busy to check my phone. I was so glad she’d made it! It was a great opportunity to congratulate Olivia. Her novel is set in the mid-nineties, against the backdrop of Oasis’ rise to fame. My writing is also closely intertwined with music, and we started chatting. This led to an invitation to me working on Across the Tracks, the book of the Louder than Words festival for Route Online publishing, and I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. I had a fantastic time, met lovely people, including some music legends, and now my work will be in print too. As a writer, chat, network, ask questions; be cheeky. It might just get you somewhere!
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!
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.
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.
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.
This is the blog for the Sheffield Novelists Writing Group. We are a friendly group of people writing novels – at various stages and levels, and everyone who is writing a novel is very welcome to join us!
We meet monthly at Bank Street Arts in Sheffield City Centre, usually on the last Monday of the month at 7.30pm, but during the summer months and December, dates may change, so please contact us at: email@example.com for more information.
This blog is a work in progress, so please bear with us, but it will evolve and develop over the next few months.