With a deadline of 31st March, there is still time to enter your novel into the Fiction Factory First Chapter Competition. They require a maximum of 5,000 words of your First Chapter, plus a one-page synopsis. Prizes: the winning entry will be read by agent Joanna Swainson of Hardman & Swainson Agency and will receive £500 plus an appraisal. All shortlisted entries will receive a free appraisal. Entry is £18, or £38 including an optional assessment. Details: words@fiction-factory.biz

This is an opportunity to get your novel seen by a top agent, so well worth considering. Skipper, who is something of an expert on these matters, says two weeks is plenty of time to polish those 5,000 words.