After not getting around to it all weekend, I've knocked off my application for the HarperCollins Varuna Awards this evening. I was probably planning to agonise over the several chapters to be submitted -- you know, read painstakingly through 17,000-odd words and take a word out here, change a phrase there, add some telling detail . . . worry myself sick that it's just not good enough!
To hell with it. I don't have time to spend days agonising over it, and how much better could I make it in the timeframe really? I did have another go at tweaking the all-important first chapter last week, but that will just have to do the job. I even belted out the one-page summary of "my writing life and experience" without excessive consideration. And I can't quite decide whether it's a good or a bad thing that they've not requested a synopsis. It's daunting to think I'll be judged on incomplete chapters alone. I guess fate will decide whether I am worthy for this program.
For the uninitiated, the HarperCollins Varuna Award is a live-in Editorial Residency from 27 April to 6 May next year. Basically, from the hundreds of applications they will no doubt receive, Varuna 'The Writers' House' selects 20 manuscripts to send to five HarperCollins editors, who each choose one they'd like to work with. The lucky author then gets to stay for 9 days at Varuna, which is in the Blue Mountains, and work with the editor (for some of the days) on the novel.
So there are only 5 places, and you'd have to be so lucky to get picked, but if you do it's a fabulous opportunity to have your manuscript read and worked on by a HarperCollins editor. Making the shortlist of 20 would be cool too, because you can get your manuscript assessed (for a relatively modest fee) by the people at Varuna. Obviously it would also instil a little hope!
If I don't get into this program, I will probably apply for a writing residency at Varuna for later in the year, when I have a new project to work on. And if I don't get into that, I can always just throw money at it and book a couple of weeks to soak up the atmopshere and write while being fed and watered and banned from the internet.