I just know you’re going to be so disappointed in me…

There is a squirming green worm inside me that I would like to drown in its own bile.Mongolian Death worm

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.

The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction CompetitionWhat threw me was – Oh the shame of admitting the frailty of my nice nature – the news of the Times Chicken House Unpublished Author Competition Winner, Janet Foxley.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.

poor grammar cartoons, poor grammar cartoon, poor grammar picture, poor grammar pictures, poor grammar image, poor grammar images, poor grammar illustration, poor grammar illustrations 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

Sort of.

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….


21 Comments Add yours

  1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

    I should just say that Janet graciously gave permission for me to post this blog! I did get over it, honestly ;O)

  2. Ellen Renner says:

    Not disappointed at all to find you’re human, Kathy. But that is an awesomely scary worm. (Love the mouse!) xx

  3. It’s human nature. It’s also really difficult when you’re doing the very best you can and others seem to be jumping the queue, so to speak.

    I was always delighted and happy for them, but it was tinged with sadness that it wasn’t me.

    Hang in there. Keep going. (Sorry, it’s pretty much the only advice I have.)

  4. julie w says:

    Mouse is actually real!! You have photos of him!! Going to be one very excited 7 year old boy in the morning!! (PS….someone didn’t like your work?? Well, no accounting for taste…..) Jx

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      you have to remember it was pretty rubbish when I showed it – honestly. And Janet is lovely.

  5. Keren David says:

    Love your honesty…brilliant blog…

  6. Lucy Coats says:

    Thing is, after reading this, I am lost in admiration at your bravery. I’ve never been part of a critique group, and keep my writing so close to my chest it’s practically welded to my torso. The Wanton Toast Eater and the kids might see a bit–but it’s normally just the agent–and then if she likes it, an editor. Sometimes the latter likes it, sometimes not–but even after 19 years of this job, I still hate that heart pounding, sick feeling moment of actually tearing the pages away from my bosom and showing them to someone else. I may be a wolfygirl, but I am a critiquing cowardy custard!

  7. Sue Hyams says:


    You are not alone! I think it’s natural to feel writerly envy – although the camper van competition is another matter altogether! Writing is such a lonely activity and sharing that writing makes us very vulnerable. And while we work and work and work and often get nowhere, others work and work and work and get everywhere! Your time will come and thanks for the post – and the fab pictures too!

  8. Sue Hyams says:

    But Muncle Trogg is good, isn’t it?

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      Oh yes!

  9. Tracy says:

    I feel your pain. With each post I’ve put up about the UV authors I’ve felt a mixture of envy and happiness. I did enter the competition and I got precisely – nowhere.

    But hey, your time’s a coming Kathryn.
    And remember this, you have an agent and I’m envious that you’ve got that far.
    I can’t even get me one of them suckers!!

    Tracy 😦

  10. Jackie says:

    Er, Kathy – now please take this in the sprit in which it was intended (supportive critiscism and all that) but, er, please don’t be upset but, erm, that’s nota mouse – that’s a hamster. OK, I’ll go an hide until you forgive me.

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      OMG Jackie – you are taking your life into your hands – you KNOW what Mouse is like on the subject of his origins. We’ll just pretend you didn’t notice and step quietly away, easy does it now….

  11. Nick Cross says:

    Thanks for the plug!

    As you know, I share some of these feelings and I also get shot down at critique from time to time and feel like a total worthless slug for about a week. On the other hand, I have done the same to other people (a sin I am still apologising for…)

    I think competitions are lovely if you win, but I also worry that they can be counter-productive for everyone else. Yes, it’s nice for the 12 of us to get hoisted up and carried around like we’re going to save publishing, but what about the people who were nearly as good? I know for a fact that at least one of the honorary mentions had as many of the judges ask for the manuscript as I did! All. Very. Subjective.


  12. Why does that Mouse look suspiciously like a hamster…?! And please, don’t try to bite me for saying so – now I’ll just go and hide with Jackie!

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      Not you as well – do not say that in front of Mouse. He’s very touchy on the subject ….

  13. vasu says:

    hey kathy – i envy you your writing style. Now this probably means that that green worm has migrated from you to me. So what are you going to do now that you don’t have it inside you? hmm – ouch – its prickling inside me now!

  14. Mariam Vossough says:

    You carkin’ nutter! Love you loads 🙂

  15. Jane says:

    Well I’ve read Dylan & Mouse and I enjoyed it! So much better than the load of rubbish I had to read to my Year 1 class yesterday lunchtime, I honestly don’t know how that got published. It really does make me wonder sometimes…
    And yes, ahem, I think Mouse is in his hamster costume in that photo and has tied his tail behind him!

  16. Yvonne says:

    I defy anyone to say that they’ve never experienced a green “thing”….think of it as misguided passion! Are you sure Mouse took it all in his stride…..that’s a serious piece of shooting equipment he has hold of??!! Great blog!

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      Am keeping a close eye on him, he’s pacing at the moment which is not a good sign. i think it’s all this talk of the H word ( shhh, hamster)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s