Sapere Books Writing Competiton
Sapere Books is looking for writers to enter a competition with the chance to win a five-book publishing contract.
To enter, choose one of the briefs listed below and write up a full synopsis (no more than 2000 words) and draft the first three chapters of the first book in the series. As the prize will be a contract for a five-book series, we would also welcome ideas and brief outlines for the next four books in the series.
This competition is open to debut and unpublished writers as well as established writers and ghost-writers. Let us know information on your writing history to date, including any books traditionally or self-published, any books drafted and any projects you are currently working on.
We are looking to hopefully award prizes to one writer for each brief and we want to find writers who we can establish a long-term partnership with, who can write to a brief, and who are keen to work on a series rather than singular novels.
BRIEF ONE: The Bletchley Park Codebreaker series
Series arc: In 1940, a young woman trains to become a codebreaker at Bletchley Park. As her skills develop, she is entrusted with higher level activity (possibly including working as a ‘listener’ at Y stations). Each book will culminate in one major discovery / interception as a result of the codebreaker’s work. One book may include uncovering a spy within Bletchley Park’s ranks.
A young woman joins Bletchley Park and begins her training, forming close friendships with her fellow budding codebreakers. In a world largely controlled by men, she challenges authority and works hard to prove her abilities. With her natural instinct and daring, and her growing expertise, she achieves a series of small interceptions as the book progresses. These culminate in a larger discovery towards the end of the book, in which the woman uses her skills to prevent disaster. The series could also possibly link with a second storyline featuring the woman’s brother who is fighting on the front lines.
BRIEF TWO: WWII Naval Thriller series
Series arc: A young man joins the Royal Navy in 1940. The series will follow him through plenty of close shaves as he survives major naval battles in the war. Each novel will focus on one major battle.
1940. The main character is being trained in the Royal Navy. After training is completed, he is thrown into action. He grows strong bonds with his follow cadets and is devastated when some of those close to him die. He will work his way up the ranks throughout the series. Each novel will culminate in a major battle. The series could focus on the War in the Atlantic, War in the Pacific or the Arctic Convoy, or a mixture of locations.
BRIEF THREE: The Medieval Queens series
Series arc: Each book will follow a different Medieval-era queen (or princess) and her experiences. There could be character crossover between the books.
The series could either follow five Plantagenet queens (Book One: Eleanor of Aquitaine 1154-1189; Book Two: Queen Berengaria of Navarre, Queen consort of King Richard I 1189-1199; Book Three: Isabelle of Angouleme , Queen consort of King John 1199-1216; Book Four: Eleanor of Provence, Queen consort of King Henry III 1216-1272; Book Five: Eleanor of Castile, Queen consort of King Edward I 1272-1307 ). Or it could follow the Royal Houses of Lancaster and York (Book One: Mary de Bohun, Queen consort of King Henry IV 1399-1413; Book Two: Catherine of Valois, Queen consort of King Henry V 1413-1422; Book Three: Margaret of Anjou, Queen consort of King Henry VI 1422-1461; Book Four: Elizabeth Woodville, Queen consort of King Edward IV 1461-1483; Book Five: Anne Neville, Queen consort of King Richard III 1483-1485).
BRIEF FOUR: Age of Sail series
Series arc: A young man has his first adventures on the high seas and eventually works his way up to captain of a ship. Each book will span a similar time period and will end with a battle. Ideally the series will span from the American Wars of Independence to the Napoleonic Wars.
A young English man joins the crew of a ship during the American Wars of Independence. There are conflicts and strong friendships built on board and anticipation builds as the sail closer to the action. The novel will end with a major battle. The series can either focus on a fictional character or follow a real historical figure, such as John Paul Jones.
The series could alternatively be written from an American standpoint, perhaps following the career of Joshua Barney:
BRIEF FIVE: The King Arthur Origins series
Series arc: Either following King Arthur as a young man and onwards, or one of the prominent knights at his court.
Written in a historical fiction style, the series will also make use of Arthurian myth and legend to create a realistic series with some fantasy elements. The series should not be YA and should appeal to an adult readership. Each book will need to stand alone and culminate in an important battle/ intrigue that is solved by the end of that book. There can be jumps in time between each book, or they can all run on closely together.
BRIEF SIX: The Gothic Houses mystery series
Series arc: Each book will be set in a different Gothic house – either prominent, well-known buildings or fictional. A strong sense of place is important, like in Daphne du Maurier’s Cornish novels.
Each novel will stand alone and the mystery will be fully resolved in that book, but there could be character crossover within the series. The books can be set any time between the late 17th century and early 20th century and should be dark and ‘creepy’ in tone. Idea for the first book: A young woman is orphaned and sent to live with estranged family in x location at a large, somewhat dilapidated manor house. She does not know who to trust and hears rumours and strange noises. There is something dark connected to the house, and she gradually unravels the mystery.
Please email your entry to Amy Durant on firstname.lastname@example.org. The closing date is 31st May.