(The CWA Dagger logo is a registered trademark owned by and reproduced with the permission of the CWA.)
Many writers dream of the day when they see their work in print, but working out how to get there can feel like trying to solve an Agatha Christie mystery.
Here at ProWritingAid, we like to highlight opportunities for writers to get their work out there, so we are delighted to be sponsoring the Crime Writers' Association's Debut Dagger award this year.
The Debut Dagger, sponsored by ProWritingAid
Each year, the Crime Writers’ Association hosts their crime writing awards, The Daggers. The awards aim to support, promote, and celebrate crime writers of all kinds—both fiction and non-fiction—and of all ages, abilities, and career stages.
This year, ProWritingAid is sponsoring the Debut Dagger, an award which aims to promote the work of as-yet-unpublished authors and help them progress in their writing career. We are particularly excited to sponsor this award for debut writers, and look forward to discovering the new voices that will emerge.
How Do I Write a Successful Debut Dagger Entry?
November 11, 2PM ET/7PM UK: How to Improve Your Chances of Winning the Debut Dagger
Have you been thinking about entering your story for the CWA Debut Dagger this year? The deadline isn't until the end of February but we want to help you prepare.
We've invited Dea Parkin, Secretary of the Crime Writers' Association, and Leigh Russell, Chair of the Debut Dagger judges, to come and share their insider information. Learn what the judges are looking for and how to give your story the best shot at winning.
Want to Learn More?
There's lots more information about the awards over on the CWA website, including:
- a Debuts blog, where previous winners and shortlisted entrants share their stories
- crime-writing tips focusing on the Debut Dagger, several written by the readers who score the competition entries
- the Debuts newsletter, which you can sign up for here
More About the Awards
Entries for the 2022 award opened on October 1, and close on February 28th 2022. Time to get writing!
There are a few terms and conditions:
- You must never have had a traditional publishing contract for any work of fiction over 20,000 words.
- You must not have had any work of fiction over 20,000 words available to the public in the last five years. This includes independently (or self-) published novels and novels published with a non-traditional contract; i.e. where the author contributes to a publisher’s costs.
- You can’t have a contract with an agent at the time the competition closes
- You don’t need to have finished your novel—your entry should be the first 3,000 words, along with a 1,500-word synopsis
If you already have or have had a publishing contract, don’t despair! There are 12 Dagger awards in total. Visit the Crime Writers’ Association website for more information about the other Dagger awards.
Preparing Your Writing for Awards Season
So, you’ve read all of the posts on the Debuts blog and think you’ve mastered the art of classic crime writing techniques like the red herring. What’s left? Self-editing, of course!
Don’t stab yourself in the back by submitting unpolished writing. ProWritingAid can help you check for issues with grammar and spelling, but will also help you dive deeper into your pacing, readability, style, word choices, and more. Sign up for your free ProWritingAid account today.