Great novel openings: the longlist
Judging the great novel openings competition has been entirely subjective. And with over 500 entries it’s also been a voyage of discovery. All entries were read and judged on 500 words alone. Where writers submitted a covering letter or additional information, this was ignored. I almost certainly have turned down work with commercial merit where the first 500 words aren’t reflective of the overall quality. However, this competition was designed to make writers think about the value of how important openings to novels are. If your opening isn’t up to it readers simply won’t get to the rest.
The judging criteria was “do I want to read on?” and whether I was disappointed to reach the end of 500 words without knowing what happened next.
The longlisted entries represent a wide variety of styles of writing and genres but all of them scored highly on “do I want to read on”.
Longlisted writers are:
Deborah Bryne O’Shea
Congratulations to everyone on the longlist.
I will be rereading the longlisted entries in a couple of weeks with fresh eyes, so expect the shortlist announcement and winner around the beginning of September.