There is a squirming green worm inside me that I would like to drown in its own bile.
I am not proud of it, but the truth is, I have a nasty case of PWE (Prize Winners Envy.)
This is not about the Dorset Cereal Campervan competition; I have just about let that go. (Although a corner of me remains unconvinced there will be an actual winner. I mean, who could have eaten more Super High Fibre than me? Beloved accused me of throwing it straight in the bin just to get the serial numbers off the packet. As if I would.)
Nor is it about the 2010 Undiscovered Voices Anthology from SCBWI, bursting with new talent and doubtless full of future fabulous authors. I am really happy for the winners , I know some of them; they are all hardworking writers slogging away at the same treadmill as the rest of us and much deserved of a break . Alright, I was a bit sulky about not being eligible to enter. According to the rules, having an agent means you are not an undiscovered voice, no matter how much you still feel like one. Anyway, even one of the worthy winners blogged about similar emotions….(There you go Nick, promised you a mention :O))
No, this is far, far uglier than that. Down, oh wriggling worm, I shall have my say.
What threw me was – Oh the shame of admitting the frailty of my nice nature – the news of the Times Chicken House Unpublished Author Competition Winner, Janet Foxley. I am pleased for her, and proud in a sideways kind of way, that yet another SCBWI author has sliced a notch on our communal bedpost. Yet still the hideous, green, worm of ugliness leapt inside my throat and snapped at my own tonsils.
Why? Well, I’m glad you asked, and thank you, by the way, for being my very own therapy couch, you have a lovely, comfy lap.
If I’m honest, it was a quite a large portion of: ‘Why wasn’t it me?’
It wasn’t me because I didn’t enter and also, quite probably, because Janet is the better writer.
Ow, ow, OW.
Gosh, it hurt to say that. You see, Janet didn’t like a certain piece of my writing and I didn’t like hearing it very much. It is a puzzle, how the warm glow of praise from other writers, writers I much admire, is so swiftly quenched by the cold water of a bad review. It stung all the more because Janet is a fine writer, she does know what she is talking about…read the extracts for yourself: Muncle Trogg.
I made excuses for myself: it was a very rough first draft and my first drafts are VERY rough.was rushed out in all the excitement of a new story, gabbling characters, loose form, saggy structure and all the evidence of my terrible grammatical education.
It was pretty shocking and, in all honesty, I shouldn’t have shared it and not been prepared to hear how not very good it was. I was worried how the story characters might take it but they handled it far better than I. Dylan soaked it up as he does his many disappointments and Mouse took it all in his stride
News Flash Evans. Not everyone is going to like your work, (as evidenced by the lack of a contract on my desk.) But some people do. Some people actually love it, including my supportive agent. One day, with a bit of luck and a fair wind, an editor will love it too. They’ll fight my corner in an acquisitions meeting and actually win. We’ll work together and produce something marvellous and skip hand in hand into the setting sun with bound proofs in our sweaty little hands.
So down you worm, nobody is interested in your foul murmurings. Get over it and get on with it.
A truly hearty and heartfelt well done to the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices Anthology Winners and especially to Janet Foxley, who, despite knowing she was the winner for quite a long time, managed to not shout it from the rooftops. Can’t see Mouse ever doing that….