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Ahoy, Romantics!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mills and Boon’s Passions- Aspiring Author Auditions is a one-of-a-kind opportunity, aimed at giving aspiring Indian romance authors a chance to be a part of the global genre of romance. The competition is held annually, inviting the aspirants to submit their manuscript entries between December and mid-January. The winning authors not only get a chance to publish a full-fledged Mills and Boon romance novel but also get a prestigious editorial mentoring for an entire year, thus garnering global recognition. Sharada Iyer reports.

With a panel of international editors, based in the United Kingdom, to review the entries, five of the best manuscripts are then selected out of the received entries. Three winners are then adjudicated of these five through a public voting process. This competition is in it’s fourth year now, Passions has since its inception seen a lot of participation and the participation for this year’s competition promises to be even more substantial in terms of numbers as compared to last year. Manish Singh, Country Head for Harlequin Publishing, puts the valuation of received manuscript entries for last year’s competition at around 1,200 while also adding that the publishing house has a few more surprises in store for this year’s participating romance authors so as to further encourage their inherent writing talent.

This year’s competition also marks a huge change in the manuscript entry format as compared to the previous three years. Whereas till last year, aspiring authors were required to submit a romance novella with a word count of about 1,500-2,000 words, this year’s participants need to send a synopsis along with the first chapter of their intended novel. Elaborating on this differentiating aspect about the format Manish Singh states, “We have changed the format of the competition this year and though the aspect of simplicity of format may differ for many, both the formats provide opportunity to showcase the writing talent.” Aside from the Passions-Aspiring Author Auditions, interested authors can also send their manuscripts to the publishing house for any of their romance genre series round-the-year without any deadline.

Experiences of Past Winners
Ruchita Vasudeva – Winner Passions III (2011-12)

A doctor by profession, Ruchita Vasudeva won the third edition of the Passions-Aspiring Author Auditions for her story ‘Her Dream Date.’ Sharing her experiences, she says, “It sounds surprising to hear a doctor winning a writing contest. For me, it wasn’t a spur of moment thing but a long held cherished wish to write for Harlequin Mills and Boon. I have learnt to explore the new possibilities about the story which I would never have had the courage to discover otherwise. From the mind to paper is a tough communication and a helping hand like an experienced editor can be an awesome help. My advice for aspiring contestants is to read extensively into the genre they are aiming for. Get someone dependable to read your work. Write from your heart and write the story you believe in. Let the characters drive the story, not the plot. Don’t let the fear of being rejected stop you and remember that if you have tried, it’s a step forward.”
 
Last day for Manuscript Submission: 25th January 2013.
Further details of the Passions audition can be checked at http://www.millsandboonindia.com/

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