Undiscovered Voices 2012

How lovely to be an honorary mention! Ok not quite as lovely as getting to go to the party but that’s fine, I’ve got a bottle of fizz – I can have one anytime.

What this experience has taught me is that as excited as I am about getting published one day, and I feel more and more confident that it will happen eventually, is that I’m a teensy bit more excited about the idea I’ve had for my next story. Now I’m not going to tell you exactly what that is but I did get the idea when I was whiling away a few weeks in Australia, earlier in November. That’s the gadabout I am.

It probably won’t be set in Australia but it will involve a house on a corner, a woman who used to be a man (and that’s the least interesting thing about her), an imaginary (17th century) friend and a fifteen-year-old runaway. And yay, I’m branching out into YA! Emily Barker also provided inspiration with her music, which I love. YA might not be my thing and I might just fall into an MG voice like I usually do but I’m going to give it a go.

I’ll be diving into this new world after Christmas, if I can wait that long. Right now, I’m letting the dust settle on a story about a girl called Bert – first draft completed on Saturday 3rdDecember 2011. It’s about daughters, dads, and denial. Here’s some blurb:

Her name’s Bert Smith not Bertina – if she could only convince her mum that she likes it that way. Bert wants to be her Dad’s first mate forever, taking tourists on boat trips around local beauty spot, Stonewave Cove. But Mum’s having another baby and the baby’s not Dad’s.

Bert is forced to live with her Mum’s boyfriend, Ronnie, in his super-clean starter home in town, only an hour away on the bus but a million miles from Stonewave and Dad. Bert decides that whatever lies Mum tells about Dad not being able to have kids, Dad is her Dad and he needs her if he’s not going to drown in beer and get hurt all over again.

In the end, above a storm-tossed sea on a deserted cliff, Bert must finally accept the identity of her real dad.  And she can choose – get rid him forever or save the last man on earth she’d want for a father.

Bert… so far is about denial, a family breaking up, growing and regrouping, and the girl who has the power to destroy it all. Can eleven-year-old Bert deny herself the chance to have the one and only Dad, she‘s ever wanted?

I would love to write something huge and fantastical but I’m not sure that’s me.  If I had a theme it would be the extraordinariness of ordinary people. Duggie, who earned his Honorary Mention is very ordinary – kid living with single mum on local authority estate who thinks he needs a magic spell to sort his life out and believes he’s found one. It’s a story about growing in confidence – Shameless meets Tracey Beaker. Perhaps in some ways it’s too ordinary and that’s its problem, but I had fun making it up.

So I’m very glad I joined SCBWI, honoured to be mentioned in the excellent Undiscovered Voices 2012 Anthology and wish all the winners many congratulations and publishing deals. With my fellow wonderful mentions I’ll press on, wantonly littering the real world with imagined ones if only for my own amusement.

Here we are again (in alphabetical order of course)

SPRINGPUNK by Julienne Durber
HOW NOT TO GET NOTICED by Jennifer Hicks
BUBBLE AND CAT by Michael Marett-Crosby
THE SILVER FISH by Anne Mitchell
NORTH OF NOWHERE by Chantel Marie Napier
THROUGH MORTAL EYES by Sally-Jayne Poyton
BREAKWATER by Melissa Rogerson
AT FAULT by Joanna Sargent
Jennifer Graham
Kim Geyer

I’ll also try to keep up this blog.



14 responses to “Undiscovered Voices 2012

  1. Enjoyed reading about your stories – past, present and future. The new one sounds very exciting 🙂 Also, congrats again on your honorary mention – I have no doubt that you’ll make it to the other side!

  2. Thank you so much for reading and leaving a comment.
    Comments are so exciting !

  3. Well done Jan – am always a bit said I’m not eligible to enter – which I know is ridiculous given I have an agent – it’s just the buzz that’s created around the UV competition is SO exciting – who wouldn’t want a piece of that? x

    • Thank you very much, Kathryn for commenting:o)))) I am very pleased for the winners and hope all the other honorary mentions take full advantage of their little piece of the action. x

  4. I was talking to Sara Grant last night about the shortlist (asking in a slightly threatening way, why didn’t so-and-so get in?) and Sara said though she had no part in the picking, she attended the discussions and that it was an incredible experience hearing the passion with which the judges discussed and praised those included in the longlist. So it’s no small thing to be there.

  5. Love the sound of the new WIP! Congrats on your honorary mention and now, you know of course, it’s time to be onward and upward! Happy scribbling!

  6. Well done, Jan! The longlist is quite an achievement. And your writing is wonderful. Good luck as you keep moving forward!

  7. Having read your work at SCBWICON I reckon there’s plenty to be happy about. You will get more than an honourable mention one day IF you keep plugging away, Jan.

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