Words & Pictures from the Beginning to the Beginning

Welcome...
to Words & Pictures. By the magic of the Web, around fifty people have conspired to bring you this online interactive version of the SCBWI British Isles newsletter. As much a blog as it is a magazine, the blogzine, Words & Pictures is new today.  I'm Jan, your editor.



Jan CarrThe blogzine may be new but Words & Pictures isn't. I'm delighted to share this first digital editorial with the Carnegie shortlisted author Elizabeth Wein who founded Words & Pictures in 1996. I'll let Elizabeth tell you how it began.


Elizabeth WeinBack in 1996, Gloria Hatrick contacted me because I was one of a handful of UK residents whose names were in the SCBWI directory. Gloria was the Regional Advisor of “SCBWI British Isles” and she was anxious to get some networking and interaction going among members. We were very farflung and one of the ways Gloria and thought we could keep members connected was through a newsletter. I volunteered to put something together.


Jan CarrNewsletters are all about connection; they give the group a focus, a point of connection and add to the group identity. At a time when the choices for connecting with other SCBWI members or indeed, anyone, can be befuddling, why do we need yet another? Like all great blogs, Words & Pictures offers something to connect about. But there's more, think of Words & Pictures like a conference. A virtual venue where as well as connecting  you can showcase your work, ask a publisher or an agent, learn from expert practitioners, celebrate success, keep up with members round the region and even across the world. For the first time Words & Pictures is open access, we particularly welcome non members and when you've seen what a great place SCBWI is to be, we hope you'll join.

Elizabeth WeinWe held our first meeting in London in the summer of 1996, and later that year we printed our first issue of the new newsletter, edited entirely in Microsoft Word and printed at a local copy shop. We mailed it out to our 25 members; and to some of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) who lived in the UK, encouraging them to join our SCBWI region. We organized a contest to design the SCBWI BI logo, and another to come up with a name for the newsletter. Words & Pictures was the result. The first issue with that title appeared in Winter 1997. I produced quarterly print issues for five years until I turned the newsletter over to Leila Bouri in 2002. 

Jan CarrThere are quite a few members of the Words & Pictures team that I've never met in the real world! We've emailed, facebooked, tweeted, skyped, yahooed, so I feel like I have. I look forward to the real thing.

I was delighted when I read Elizabeth's vision for the newsletter.             


Elizabeth WeinMy original vision for the newsletter was much more ambitious than I was able to make it. I really wanted readers to be able to interact with it like people do with the Internet today. Unfortunately few of our readers were even connected to the Internet. So the best I ever managed was to include a list of web sites of interest. Our Winter 1997 issue included an article that began, “What exactly is the Web?” and provided a list of SIX “useful search engines” which DIDN’T include Google! Seems like the dark ages now, but happily www.scbwi.org did exist even back then! 

Jan Carr
...from 'SIX useful search engines' in 1997, to an embedded, connected, linked blogzine in 2013! 
Plus, something I've already found very handy: Sheila's Videos -  how to do social media videos that fill the embarrassing gaps in knowledge someone editing a blogzine should really have covered by now. Sheila's making Words & Pictures some exclusives. How the world moves ...

Elizabeth Wein My editorial team consisted of ME. Gloria usually provided me with a Regional Advisor’s letter, and I would pester a couple of other people to report on meetings or come up with articles and drawings. Then, with one lead story, I wrote the rest of the copy myself. 

Here’s an excerpt from a story titled “How to Make Your Debut”, published in our Autumn 1997 issue: 

“In case you think that writing for children is always plod, plod, plod, with never any gain in sight, consider the case of new writer Joanne Rowling. Not only has she sold her first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, to an American publisher for an advance worth more than £100,000, but she has three different producers arguing over the film rights to the book… She plans a series of six more books to continue Harry Potter’s story, and has already delivered the first of these to Bloomsbury, her British publisher.”

Jan CarrI am very proud of my editorial team.  Not only are there these fabulous people working together to give readers something new to read every day many more are writing and illustrating some excellent content. 

Here are some highlights: 

  • Sara O'Connor from Hot Key Books introduces her column 'Ask a Publisher' today, MONDAY,
  • SCBWI bloggers feature in Nick's first ten minute blog break round up on TUESDAY
  • Ferelith Hordon gives us an exclusive interview about the Carnegie Medal judging process on WEDNESDAY
  • Maureen Lynas introduces herself as SCBWI's new Network Coordinator on THURSDAY
  • our Art Director's portfolio  opens  the SCBWI Featured Illustrator section on FRIDAY
  • (look out for episode one of Amanda Lillywhite's brand new web comic Duck & Bear on the following Friday)
  • there's the first crop of members successes to celebrate on SATURDAY 
  • Agent Anne Clark sets SCBWI members their first Slushpile Challenge on SUNDAY,
  • And look out next week too, for our first 'wish you were there SCBWI event write up.


Elizabeth WeinWhen Leila Bouri took over the newsletter in 2002, she revamped its look and increased the size of the folio; in 2005 the task of editor passed to Eileen Nester Ramchandran, who introduced colour and by 2009 had turned the newsletter into the on-line production I had originally envisioned but had been unable to achieve.


Jan CarrI'm also  really pleased that Stephanie Williams who took over from Eileen is still on the team. I'm also grateful to the SCBWI illustrators who have given Words & Pictures a head start by allowing us to absorb the Illustrators' Blog.
You can read more about Words & Pictures' history and our 2013 vision here.


Elizabeth WeinI am absolutely delighted to see Words & Pictures back in existence. Under Jan Carr’s enthusiastic guidance, with self-publishing and Internet access so much easier and faster than it was 15 years ago, and with a full editorial and production team willing to go the extra mile to make contributions and generate reader interest, the new, improved Words & Pictures will go far beyond my original modest ambitions—here’s to a bright future!


Jan Carr Thank You, Elizabeth and I'm delighted to say that on THURSDAY we have an extra feature, when Candy Gourlay  interviews Elizabeth about her Carnegie success.
So I very much hope Words & Pictures lives up to expectations, that it will inspire you, support you and that you'll feel moved to comment! 
Jan Carr

Jan Carr is the editor of Words & Pictures. Her fiction is older middle grade, she blogs occasionally and loves to write in magenta.

30 comments:

  1. What a fabulous glimpse into the past - here's to the future! Onwards and upwards Words&Pictures.

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  2. I know how hard you've been working on this Jan! Well done! Onwards, absolutely!

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  3. Thank you Kathy and Candy!
    My keyboard is exclamation mark heaven right now!!

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  4. Fascinating and so nice of you guys to launch this on my birthday! ;-)

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    1. Happy Birthday jeannette!

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    2. We were discussing launch dates and I said, Hey Jan, we've GOT to do it on Jeannette's birthday!

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  5. Fabulous. Big thank you's to everyone involved right from the beginning to now.

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  6. This all looks amazing. Well done, Jan!

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  7. What a fantastic site this is! Well done to all the team for your hard work - it's going to be brilliant to check in on constantly - it will be a fantastic source of information and inspiration.

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  8. Happy Blogzine day! Perfect timing for digital hungry SCBWI_Bies. Congratulations - the weeks ahead look scrummy!

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  9. Happy B days! Bologna/Blogzine day (and Birthday Jeannette!)
    Jan - and Candy - you rock!

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  10. I love this! What exactly IS the Web? It's a question publishing is still asking itself almost 20 years later.

    Congratulations, Jan, for pulling this all off, and congratulations Elizabeth for planting the seed with those 25 members! Haven't you and SCBWI-BI come a long way!

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    1. Thank You Sara!
      I know someone who can answer your very interesting question re the Web. http://users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/lac/

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  11. Congratulations everyone on Words and Pictures. It looks great. I have to dash off now to read every word.

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  12. This looks fabulous - professional, colourful and stuffed with good things. I'm going to take my time reading it so I can enjoy every bit fully. Well done, team!

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  13. Thank you Jeanette, Maureen, Lesley, Elizabeth, Sue, Bridget, Jo and Linda!
    I should have said 'Happy Birthday Jeannette!' with a capital J. I'm taking my editing responsibilities seriously;)

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  14. This is so exciting! Well done, and thank you, to everyone involved,

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  15. Congratulations Mama Jan, it's great! (Am I the only one who didn't know JK was Joanne? Probably. Yes, I'm sure

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  16. Thank You D.J. and Sheila!
    Interesting about names versus initials....Does JKR seem any different to you Sheila, now you know?
    And D.J. I know that sometimes you're a Dee which one feels like the real you, I wonder? - if you pick up this reply you don't have to answer that!

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  17. (Hi there, tried to post congrats yesterday and got stonewalled by Blogger's interface refusing to recognize my Wordpress profile. Trying again using my Google profile. Take that, Blogger. -_- )

    ahem. WHAT A FABULOUS LOOKING SITE! And honestly, I don't think I could have possibly envisioned in 1996 how interactive and dynamic the newsletter would become. I am so impressed with Jan's effort and initiative! Thank you all for the tremendous support and involvement.

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth.

      "Take that, Blogger." - I'm going to use that:)

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  18. Wow Jan you have been busy - great site, congratulations - it is simply fab!

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    1. Thanks Lou!
      I will be back... to Ecritique. I have to write a book and sprinkle exclamation marks and ellipses all over the place.

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  19. Gosh, as a complete novice and virgin to Words and Pictures or even anything like it, I think its great. I cant comment on what it was like previously but I will definitely keep an eye on it from now on. Well done Jan, never cease to amaze me!

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    1. Sue! Thank you so much for looking in!
      You're quite amazing yourself;)

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  20. It's looking really go, Jan.

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    1. Thank You Anna, looking forward to seeing your work on here:)

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  21. Wow, Jan! What a fantastic site. Lovely to hear about what came before, too. Huge congratulations to you and the whole W&P team!

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    1. Thank you Amy. Yes this is a superb team effort. It's truly wonderful how so many people have worked so well together:)

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  22. I like your post ,now I must complete my research for my paper.

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