Friday, 31 May 2013

Duck & Bear Episode 3

Killing Darlings - Duck makes some brutal decisions, is her book being trimmed down, or cut to pieces? Click on the image to read Episode 3 of Amanda Lillywhite's tale of Duck and Bear!

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Network News Overview

by Gill James

This week we’re taking a bit of an overview of some of the activities that happen in the networks. Note how much food is involved...

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Writing is Re-writing

By Rosemary Bird-Hawkins

Why re-write?

I often tell my creative writing students that the secret to writing is re-writing. It’s a phrase that I’m sure you’re all familiar with; that writing groups, courses, agents and publishers would agree is important.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 28th May

It's been fun, fun, fun in the sun (sun, sun) this bank holiday weekend, so let's keep the vibe going here on the Blog Break with a super SCBWI humour special!

Monday, 27 May 2013

David Almond: the freedom of knowing your limitations

Photo Credit: Donna-Lisa Healy
Rowena House asked for some writing advice from David Almond, the Carnegie, Whitbread and Hans Christian Anderson Award winning author of Skellig and more than fifteen other novels, plays and short story collections for children and readers of all ages.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

The Chalkface Challenge: The Pilot

There are some new competition judges on the block and they know what they like. They're the love you or hate you sort of judges. They could be your harshest critic or your biggest fan. They're not the gatekeepers but if you want a future in this business, they're ultimately who you have to please.

Do you have the courage to find out if your work stands the test?

A Blissful State

It's been a totally manic seven days - we are in the blissful state of having more than enough material. Thank you to everyone who's contributed! I want to say in a trembly voice "You've all done very well." But that would date me terribly...  So I'll just say you're all stars in the W&P Universe!

Dave Cousins’ Journey to the Crystal Kite

The SCBWI Crystal Kite Awards recognise great books from the 70 SCBWI regions around the world. Each regional chapter is assigned to one of 15 divisions and the membership in each division votes for their favourite book published by an SCBWI member that year. The Crystal Kite Awards are a regional complement of the annual SCBWI Golden Kite Award, given in four children’s literature categories. Both awards are unique as they are chosen by other writers and illustrators, which makes them the only peer-given awards in publishing for young readers.

Here at SCBWI British Isles we’re very proud that the winner of The 2013 Crystal Kite for the UK and Europe is Dave Cousins for 15 Days Without a Head.

Jan Carr spoke to Dave about his journey…

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Friday, 24 May 2013


Amber Hsu is a Chinese-born, US-raised, UK-based artist, illustrator and writer and is this month's Featured Illustrator. See Amber's portfolio on our Featured Illustrator Showcase page!

Hi, thank you so much for inviting me to be here and share some art.  I feel honoured to take part.

So, about that Banner Art.

The banner art is from an illustration that was a selected winner for 3x3 Magazine’s Illustration Annual Show Children’s Show. That was exciting for me because I’ve admired their anthologies for so long and they’re always filled with such inspiring work. I’m in the process of developing this into a full book. I’ve conceived of the story already, and now it’s just a matter of finding some time to put it down. Here’s the complete piece below.
My winning entry for 3x3 Magazine.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Network News: Welcome to the new South East Scotland Network

A new Local Network Group is being formed by M. Louise Kelly and Sheila Averbuch - SCBWI BI South East Scotland. The group is meeting in Edinburgh and is (currently!) the most northerly local network group in SCBWI BI.

SCBWI members from nearby are encouraged to get in touch. 

Network News: South East Spotlight on Southampton

Southampton Common
It's all happening with SCBWI in Southampton...

We had our first SCBWI Southampton Goal Setting Supper  on Thursday May 16th and on Monday May 20th, the SCBWI Illustrators Juried Exhibition went up in Southampton Central Library.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Tiaras, shamanic journeys and cake cake cake… the SCBWI Retreat at Dunford House

What do you get when you put twenty-nine writers plus one editor in a beautiful house in the Sussex countryside, feed them with slap-up meals and endless cake? An amazing, stimulating time and some inspired writing says Tania Tay.
We had a pyjama party on our last night. Do we look like we're having fun?

Coping With Rejection

By Elizabeth Dale

You’ve done it! You’ve written your book, you’ve edited it over and over, you’ve given it to friends and fellow wise SCBWI members to read and then – ta-ra! - you’ve emailed it to a lucky publisher or agent. What do you do now?

Undiscovered Voices: Changing Lives

By Nicky Schmidt

One of the “Big Events” on the SCBWI-BI calendar is the biennial Undiscovered Voices competition. Offering unpublished and un-agented UK and European SCBWI members a unique window of opportunity, the competition is the proverbial golden carrot of dreams and hope dangling before a writer’s nose. And if you’re wondering why, then, very simply put, being an Undiscovered Voices winner can be a life-changing experience.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 21st May

It started as a bit of a slow week in the SCBWI blogosphere, with a lot of people clearly still recovering from the SCBWI retreat! Luckily some great posts have popped up in the last couple of days, so I do have plenty to discuss...

Monday, 20 May 2013

Ask A Publisher - Q&A with Sara O'Connor, Editorial Director at Hot Key Books

Welcome to our regular Ask A Publisher feature, hosted by Sara O'Connor, Editorial Director, Print and Digital at Hot Key Books.

This week Sara answers your questions about sales and marketing for debut authors. She'll be answering your other questions (about graphic novels, her editing process and second books) next month.

Social Sheila Video: get your head around hashtags

By Sheila Averbuch 

If you're new to Twitter, hashtags (the # symbols) can be one of the most off-putting idiosyncracies. But once you understand that the symbols merely flag up an important concept in the tweet, you'll realise how helpful they can be in building your network and deepening your understanding of the industry.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Die Hard meets Rainbow Magic for a Young Adult Audience

Ok, the title of this post has nothing to do with what's coming up, but did it get your attention?  Rebecca Frazer from Orchard Books was a little excited by it at the writers' retreat at Dunford House. If anyone's inspired, go ahead.
I had an emotionally charged, cake-filled weekend but did I manage to find some headspace? In the end, yes. It took a couple of days, but a one to one with Rebecca and the prospect of the Sunday night ‘pyjama party’, where we read something we’d written that weekend, forced me to face the fact that the WIP was too unwieldy. It was time to start again. I wrote 750 words before dinner on Sunday that have set me on a much better trajectory. The challenge now is to find the headspace to keep up my 750 word daily target and I’m falling behind already. Help.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

What Are They Drinking in the North East?

Something is afoot up North - this week we have inspirational stories from Kate Pankhurst and Rebecca Colby and Sam Zuppardi and guess where they're all from?

Friday, 17 May 2013

What I did last summer - The Highlights Foundation Advanced Illustrators Workshop

The annual series of Highlights Foundation workshops for children's writers and illustrators takes place amongst rural scenery in Honesdale in the USA. Here, our Illustrator coordinator Anne-Marie Perks reports on last year's Illustrator Workshop.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Network News: Central East

By  Gill James 

SCBWI British Isles Central East Region covers: Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. It is open to all members of SCBWI living in these counties (or very close by!).
A group regularly meets up in Cambridge. It's open to any member of the SCBWI.
Members are geographically spread around East Anglia, but in touch through e-mail newsletters where members are encouraged to share news and recount recent successes (and disappointments!). More details about the group can be found out on the here.(Signed up members only - If you’re not a member yet and live in this region, why not join?) 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Catching a publisher’s eye; hopeless task or hope for the future?

Mr Stink by David Walliams

What makes an exciting first chapter, and what instantly turns us off?

Following on from Alex English's Killer First Lines feature, Celia Anderson takes a look at how focussing on crafting your first page and opening chapter can be important in getting your writing noticed. With the Undiscovered Voices competition looming, she tells us how competitions can be key in getting your work out there, and can even lead to publication.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 14th May

It's going to be a slightly truncated Blog Break this week, as I've just come back from the SCBWI retreat and my brain is a bit fried (yes, you can have too much writing, wine and cake!)

Monday, 13 May 2013

The Long Road to Discovery: The successes and failures of one Undiscovered Voices writer

by Sara Grant

Our second guest blogger, Sara Grant, founder of Undiscovered Voices and author of Dark Parties, Half Lives and the Magic Trix series, writes about the power of determination and keeping the faith.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Head Spaces & Time Shares

I’m away again, Paris one week and SCBWI Writers' retreat at Dunford House the next - what a gadabout I am! This weekend I'm planning on making headway with my latest story. It’s been a tricky one to find in the first place. There were so many possibilities. I originally planned to have it finished in February, before all the wonderful hullaballoo that is Words & Pictures but I didn’t have enough headspace.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

SCBWI Celebrates TWO Branford Boase Shortlisters, Double Deals and Exhibitions Large and Small.

The Branford Boase Award is a unique prize dedicated to rewarding excellence for first time novelists AND their editors. So I’m doubly delighted that SCBWI members Wendy Meddour and Lydia Syson have been shortlisted alongside their editors - both of whom have also given their time and talent to the SCBWI British Isles Annual Conference. There’s another double celebration for John Shelley and if you’re in Somerset, Mike Brownlow has good news!

Friday, 10 May 2013

The Foyles launch of Nobrow's new imprint Flying Eye

Last week several SCBWI members, authors and illustrators, went to the official launch at Foyles, London, of the new children's book imprint, Flying Eye Books (note there's a nice animated introduction to their site, to watch especially if you have a child on your lap!).  

Bridget Strevens-Marzo and Anne-Marie Perks report.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Network News: The Central West

by Julienne Durber

Julienne Durber
Juliet Clare Bell
Based in Birmingham, the Central West group was run for many years by Donna Vann and Juliet Clare Bell, but Donna Has recently handed her half of the reins to me, Julienne Durber (the one with the odd coloured face!).

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Ask an Agent - with Gemma Cooper and Molly Ker Hawn, from the Bent Agency

Are you looking for a query critique from those in the know? Or do you have a question you've always wanted to ask an agent? Each month, agents Gemma Cooper and Molly Ker Hawn from The Bent Agency will be offering just that.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 7th May

Tuesday seems to have come around faster than ever this week, thanks to the bank holiday weekend. So pull up a chair, a cup of tea and a biscuit and let's have a look at this week's Blog Break selections.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Rediscovered Voices

by K.M. Lockwood

As part of our Undiscovered Voices theme, K.M. Lockwood offers some points about getting voices into your work, and some exercises to help.

Killer First Lines

By Alex English

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
Whether your first line comes to you in a flash or you slave over it for hours, we all know that those first few words of a novel are vitally important. A first line can suck the reader in or turn them right off. Of course, the rest of your novel needs to be great too, but a dull first sentence might mean your manuscript languishes on the slushpile or even ends up in the bin. Is your first line a killer first line?  

Sunday, 5 May 2013

May is Undiscovered Voices Month

So May is Undiscovered Voices month on Words & Pictures. Undiscovered Voices is the competition for SCBWI writers and illustrators in the British Isles and now beyond. If your emotional arc is all over the place like Duck's, you may be thinking shall I give it a go? Well, in the words of Mrs Doyle "Go on go on go on go on go on go on go ON!" It's a brilliant opportunity as proved by those who took part in the London Professional Series Event the other week. I was pleased that the winners included honorary mention, Helen Peters with her The Secret Hen House Theatre, which has done so well. I had a mention last time.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Hip Hip Hooray for a Winner, a Wonderful Deal and a Write Now Longlisting!

Andrew Weale
Congratulations  Andrew Weale, Clare Furniss and Martin Stewart! This week I go undercover to bring you the Underpants of Shame - happily, none of this week's featured  celebrants  are actually wearing this hideous garment. In fact I hereby award them  the Giant SCBWI Hat of Wonder!

Friday, 3 May 2013

Duck & Bear Episode 2

It's rolling! Episode 2 of Amanda Lillywhite's exciting tale of Duck and Bear is now online.

Will Duck complete her edits and finish the novel? Where is she going in the rain? And what's on Bear's mind? Click on the image!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Network News Central North

By Liz Miller 
Here in Central North we are a welcoming group of published and pre-published writers and illustrators of everything from picture books to YA. We hold regular writing workshops, occasional author talks and annual publisher events alongside our thriving monthly critique meetings at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life. Most of our group are Lincolnshire based but the Nottinghamshire contingent is growing and we’re always trying to think of new ways of reaching our members in East Riding and South Yorkshire.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Undiscovered Stories

by Rosemary Bird-Hawkins

Humans are a story telling species. We fill our lives with stories and it is perhaps the writer’s gift to be able to discover where they are hidden and let them out to the light. As writers our memories may be the most important tool at our disposal. Not memories of times or places, not memories of fact, but memories of feelings, of senses, of atmosphere; whatever can help release these sensations can be invaluable to starting stories.