I didn't get an email from Mslexia and I knew the longlist was out, so I (unsurprised) carried on pottering with the book. For some reason (baffling) they sent the email to my husband instead, presumably because he took out the subscription for me a few years ago.
Now, can you see the tiniest flaw with this delightful and flattering, and completely unbelievable email??? I was sent this on the 27th but I only got it this evening. Allowing for the donkey postal service across North Devon, if I post it first thing Monday it might (might being rather a strong word for a remote possibility) get there by the 1st. OK, there's the word 'preferably' but the problem for me is that I'm not sure I'm quite ready to send all 90k words off in the next (consults fingers) thirty-two hours. That doesn't even allow for checking grammar, spellings, repetitions, printing time, kissing every page, wrapping it up and walking down to the post office. I could send in the second draft with the few modifications from the third draft, but the latest draft is 8 million times better.
This is to let you know that your novel has been longlisted for our inaugural novel competition. Congratulations! This means we now need to see the complete manuscript, plus a synopsis of up to 1,000 words. Can you please let us have these as soon as possible, preferably by 1 November. I’m sure you understand that it takes much more time to assess a complete novel than it does a 5,000 word extract, so the panel needs to start immediately.
If you are unable to let us have the novel for any reason – if it is unfinished, or has been accepted for publication in the meantime – please let us know as soon as possible.
Please send the novel, printed out onto one side of A4 paper, double spaced, point size 11 or 12, to our office at Mslexia Publications
So instead of dawdling through the latest rewrite at a chapter a day, I have to do...more than one chapter an hour. So, if I sleep four hours each night...that's about one and a half chapters an hour with five minutes refreshment breaks per hour. Oh. My. God. Did you see the 1000 word synopsis? Now that - I could manage in 32 hours, no problem. Thank God for no.1 son, who is on cliche patrol.