I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while, and the new book is being a little sticky this morning, so now seems like as good a time as any. Well, maybe not as good a time as, say, sitting on the grass in the height of summer with a bottle of fizzy wine and a groaning picnic basket*, waited on hand and foot** by a bevy of dusky maidens – that would be a pretty damn good time.

Anyway, yeah, so: competitions.

First up comes courtesy of those lovely people at Alibi, in conjunction with other lovely people at HarperCollins, The TV Times, and the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. As you probably know Alibi’s the only channel completely dedicated to crime drama, which is kinda pretty cool in our household, and this year they’re launching their inaugural ‘search for a new crime writer’.

“Oh yeah?” I hear you mumble, through a mouthful of PotNoodle, “And what do we have to do to win this competition thing you’re pimping, like a big hairy pimp?”
Easy, you cynical monkey, you’re getting gravy all down your chin and it’s not a good look. What you have to do is flex your creative writing muscles and come up with a short story (2,000 to 5,000 words) starting with the following sentence:

In my experience, those who beg for mercy seldom deserve it.

Piece of cake, right? Or a bag of crisps if you’re not down with the whole cake thing.

The competition was rolled out on the 25th of Jan (yeah, I’m late getting around to telling you about it, but I’ve been deadline’s bitch for months now) to an instant flurry of submissions. Some of which, I’m guessing, were lying about in people’s top drawers, gathering dust, just waiting for an excuse to be foisted upon the world. And a couple of the entrants didn’t even pause to read the submission guidelines and … oh, I don’t know … take the basic sodding precaution of rewriting the first line to say, ‘In my experience, those who beg for mercy seldom deserve it.’

Seriously, 10 out of 10 for enthusiasm, and 0 out of 10 for getting rejected straight away for NOT EVEN BOTHERING TO PRETEND YOU’D WRITTEN IT FOR THE COMPETITION!


Anyway, you’ve got till the 16th of May to enter, and you probably want to know what kind of goodies you’ll be walking off with, like the kids on Crackerjack (though without the obligatory pencil and cabbage) one lucky write-ist will be leaving with their arms weighed down with:

  • A pair of tickets to the festival (22nd – 25th July and I’m chairing it so it’s going to be pretty squinky this year), two nights’ B&B, and your travel paid for***.
  • One place at the Creative Thursday Workshop Master-Classes on the 22nd July.
  • A Sony eReader
  • Lunch with the head of Alibi, and a HarperCollins rep (I’ve not been invited, so I’m sulking)
  • 100 crime books, including a complete, signed back catalogue of my stuff.
  • And your story published online in an e-edition by HarperCollins.

Not too shabby, eh? And two runners up get:

  • A pair of festival tickets each, and a slot at the Creative Thursday Workshops too.

All you have to do is write your short story and submit it at the Alibi website. Where they also have a video of me looking remarkably like a fat hairy potato.

More competition news tomorrow, and perhaps a photo of a dead mouse too!****

* Groaning as in ‘full to bursting with nice things to eat’ not groaning as in ‘suffering from intestinal discomfort’. That wouldn’t be such a good time.
** Why do people want their feet waited on? Are they pedophiles? Freaks.
*** Within reason, I assume. I mean, they’re not going to fly you first class from New Zealand, are they? Be sensible.
**** I know you’ve been missing them.

6 Responses to “Competitionistical”

  1. I was feeling a bit depressed about my lack of writing progress, but this has cheered me up no end, Mr Stuart. That there are people so Labrador-like in their enthusiasm (and lack of brain) to send in a story without reading the rules of the competition gives me hope that my own words might float closer to the top of the pile.

    Not for this competition, though.

  2. Dear Mr MacBride, I hope you don’t mind me approaching you here, but this is all I could find in lieu of an email address.
    I’m doing a phd on Scottish crime fiction at Edinburgh and looking for a few pointers from you.

    Would you mind if I sent you a few short questions?

    Best wishes,

  3. Frak. I don’t even have a passport, so this ain’t happening for me.

    Oh, well. I probably disqualified myself years ago anyway.

  4. So. If by some miracle I won, they’d PAY for me to travel all the way from here to there? Seriously.

    Can I bring Bill?

    And, goddamn it, begging for mercy pretty much ensures you don’t deserve it. I know I beg all the time. 😉

  5. Hi Len,

    As long as you’re not expecting a quick or verbose reply (trying to get to grips with the new book at the moment, so I’m pretty strapped for time), pop your email address in a comment and I’ll drop you a line.

    Tammy – I looked on the site and they don’t say anything about ‘from the UK only’, but I’m guessing it’s a given. But you never know!

    Mind you, you are a big forensic fantasy crime author already, so people might think you were cheating ;}#

  6. First class from New Zealand sounds like a mighty fine idea to me 🙂 Instead of the 36 hour cattleclass flight via Singapore and Munich!



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