Gosh, is it that long since I last blogged? Hmmm. Real life is obviously taking up far too much of my time. However, I have – just about – managed to keep up with the schedule for both sections of the Whittaker Prize which, given that we’re at the end of the first week of Round Five, is now roughly at the halfway stage. It’s been an interesting ride so far, I can tell you.

As far as the short story section is concerned, the first two rounds went very nicely, and I was actually in the lead at the end of Round Two. Then for some reason I hit the self-destruct button and entered my first-ever piece written in the second person for Round Three and garnered a truly horrible score for my pains. (I actually still quite like the piece, but it’s probably one of those Marmite things – you either love it or hate it. I think it’s got an afterlife, though, so watch this space.) I followed this up with a pretty wretched piece for Round Four, written in a single draft late on the night of the Friday before submission, with no time for editing. Fortunately, the judge was in a relatively generous mood, and didn’t mark it quite as harshly as I’d feared. But I’m going to have to pull some spectacular stuff out of the bag to get back in contention.

In the meantime, the poetry section is behaving very strangely. For a start, I won Round One. This should not have happened. I was also joint winner of Round Two. This should not have happened either. I didn’t win Round Three, but I did somehow manage to increase my lead. My Round Four score was respectable, but my lead has now been cut to one point, and the real poets in the field are snapping at my heels. So I’m trying very hard to come up with something really good to try and pull ahead again. The trouble is that I know so little about poetry that I don’t know what I am doing right, so I strongly suspect that it’s all down hill from now on. Still, it’s been nice whilst it’s lasted, if a bit weird.

So like I said, it’s been an interesting ride so far, and I think there will be a few twists and turns still to come. And the most important thing, of course, is that I’ve got some quite promising material out of it already.