My enthusiasm came back! She’s sitting on my shoulder, with that lovely silky fur snuggled up against my neck. On Sunday morning I read in Writer’s News about a competition for page-turning novels run by a writers’ agency. Unlike most such competitions, they were prepared to look at “almost complete drafts” as well as finished ones. And I have an almost complete draft of a whodunnit set in the observatory. I’ve been wanting to finish it for ages, but it’s taken a back seat while I did the two books with local government support. So I got it out and looked it over, and (OK, I’m obviously biased, but) I think it counts as a page turner. Of course there was a catch. Entries had to be in “by the 26th of January”. I wasn’t sure whether that meant midnight Sunday or midnight Monday, so I decided to do what I could an enter by midnight Sunday. I started a mad rush to write the CV and covering letter and polish up my novel to make it at least clear what I plan to put in the gaps. I managed to sort out a glaring continuity errors as well. And my wonderful enthusiasm came back! She does love fiction and short-term deadlines. Before I knew it, it was 1 am. Oops. Well, I’d missed one deadline, right? I just had to hope that they meant Monday night. I went to bed and me and my enthusiasm got back into it in the morning. We fixed another continuity error, and spellchecked and did the synopsis. I finally submitted it at 11:30 pm on Monday. Best case is that I win the prize (£1,000 and they take me on as a writer. The previous winner did very well indeed.) Obviously that would be fantastic, but I’m sure there are lots of good entries and a few excellent ones. Second best case is that I don’t win the priize, but they take me on anyway. That would be fantastic too. Worst case is that I don’t even make the short list. But even then, I’m a good step further on with the novel. I must go and get my enthusiasm the fresh mango that I promised. She’s definitely earned some.