Sara Grant got her agent and ultimately her first book deal through Undiscovered Voices. Now she’s on the other side of the submissions process and part of the team of editors who do the initial read through of all the submissions before the illustrious judging panel get to read them.
As she writes: “I love quiet novels and action-packed thrillers. I adore literary novels as much as high concept stories. No matter the story you want to tell – you still have to hook me, entice me to read more from those first lines. I should be desperate to know what happens next. Each year there are those extracts that linger and sparkle and surprise. Even after eight years, I still remember the opening lines from the first Undiscovered Voices extracts:”
Visit Sara’s BookBound Blog for more of her words of wisdom here.
Sara Grant worked on twelve different series and edited nearly 100 books when she worked as a senior commissioning editor for Working Partners. She writes edgy teen fiction (Half Lives being her latest) and a funny, magical series for young readers (Magic Trix). Sara is the co-creator and co-editor of Undiscovered Voices. Her YA novel Dark Parties won the SCBWI Crystal Award for Europe.
A finalist in the last Undiscovered Voices, Claire Fayers now has an agent and signed contract for her novel, The Accidental Pirates: Voyage to Magical North, due to be published by Macmillan next year. She’s been blogging over over at Middle Grade Strikes Back about writing a winning opening and sharing a few pointers that she’s learned through Undiscovered Voices and beyond.
As she says, “2015 is a good year to write middle grade fiction. Actually, any year is a good year because where else can you spend your days in the company of pirate ships and man-eating penguins, but this year is particularly good because it sees the launch of a new Undiscovered Voices.”
Two of our favourite tips from Claire are:
- “When you think you’ve finished, put your opening chapters away for a week or two, then read them again. Read out loud. I use an electronic text-to-speech voice because nothing highlights dull writing like hearing it read in a robotic monotone.”
- “Don’t hold back. Know what you’re aiming for in terms of genre and tone, and go at it like a bull in a red-flag-and-china shop… be yourself. Be dark, be funny, be scary, be ridiculous, be anything except the same as everyone else.”
You can read the rest of her amazing tips at: Middle Grade Strikes Back