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A couple of years back, Cornerstones launched a tempting competition: Send us your first 3 chapters to get the chance of being read by agent Lorna Longstaff. Inconveniently, they needed a completed ms (which I didn’t have) but it seemed a brilliant way to concentrate my mind, so I entered.

The good news was that I made a shortlist of 14 from over 1,000 submissions. The less good news was that I had twelve weeks to fatten three chapters into 90,000 words.

Reader, I managed it. But the book Laura Longstaff saw was very much a first draft and she said as much. A wasted opportunity.

With procrastination holding back progress on my current novel: DOUGLAS DODD’S WOMEN, setting myself a similar challenge seems the way forward. I am therefore publicly undertaking to increase my current word count of 29,815 to 85,000 by the 1st January. Something like ten weeks.

Wish me luck.

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