Sunday, 30 June 2013

In a July sort of mood

Tomorrow, Monday 1st July 2013 submissions open for Undiscovered Voices 2014.  Are your 4000 words poised ready to be uploaded as soon as submissions open? Could yours be the first? Or are you, like me, more interested in the the date they close? That's
Thursday 15th August
Put the reminder on your phone NOW!

Results - 1st Slush Pile Challenge 2013

The winner of the first 2013 Slush Pile Challenge is Gerald Killingworth.

Anne Clark of Anne Clark Literary Agency set the challenge in April. The challenge was to send in a paragraph pitch for a middle grade novel

We received over 25 entries for this challenge. We sent 15 randomly picked pitches without mentioning the names of the entrants to Anne Clark. We asked Anne to tell us about the entries and how she chose the winning entry.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Who was at the Faerie Tarantula book launch last week?

I was truly thrilled to be at the Faerie Tarantula book launch last week. It was a joint affair by Paula Harrison who launched The Crystal Mirror, the first in her new middle grade Faerie Tribes series for girls, and Jackie Marchant who launched I'm Dougal Trump Where's My Tarantula?.

It was held in London's Phoenix Arts Club, in a tiny street where the opening scenes from Harry Potter were filmed. The pictures and theatrical posters crammed on the walls were a great backdrop for a wonderful evening.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Duck & Bear Episode 4

Writing is Rewriting - Duck learns some painful lessons while Bear quietly gets on...
Read episode 5 of Amanda Lillywhite's webcomic Duck & Bear below!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Network News: The Sense of Place

By Gill James
An interesting place to meet?
I’ve already touched on this little in earlier posts – see particularly my post about the quirky nature of the events room at Waterstones, Deansgate, Manchester. Getting the right place for your meeting or critique group is extremely important. You need somewhere where you can talk undisturbed but where you can feel good about yourselves too.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Workshops: so what makes them work?

By Celia J Anderson

I love the whole idea of a workshop. The name conjures up an intensive but fun session with like-minded writers who hopefully don’t take themselves too seriously. It’s also an ideal opportunity to break out your notebook collection to impress people. But what’s the secret of a successful workshop? And why take part at all?

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 25th June

I blogged last Friday about how I was having a bit of a struggle to keep coming up with new ideas for blog posts, but I'm glad to report that the rest of our SCBWI bloggers seem to be doing just fine!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Social Sheila Video: watch those Twitter mentions

By Sheila Averbuch

In my latest installment of how-to videos for writers new to Twitter, I'm looking at "mentions."

Sunday, 23 June 2013

"the fuel for our future"

In Words & Pictures' first week as a blogzine, one of our posts was Nicky Schmidt's interview with Ferelith Hordon on the judging criteria for the Carnegie Medal and the Kate Greenaway Award. In this our thirteenth week as a blogzine we saw the 2013 Carnegie Medal won by Sally Gardner for Maggot Moon and the 2013 Kate Greenaway Award won by Levi Pinfold for Black Dog. Many congratulations to Sally and Hot Key Books, our Ask a Publisher, and to Levi and Templar Publishing. Many congratulations too to all the shortlisted, especially our own Elizabeth Wein for Codename Verity - Carnegie Shortlisted Author still sounds pretty damn fine to me.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Hope after UV and Facebook ferrets... two SCBWI debut authors scoop deals

This week, we're very excited to be celebrating two SCBWI debut authors. Please join me with a massive Hip Hip Hooray! for UV 2012 Honorary Mention Lara Williamson and YA author Jackie Buckle for their publishing deals.


Friday, 21 June 2013


Julia Groves, Norwich based Illustrator and Printmaker is this month's Featured Artist, see her work in the Showcase Gallery here!

Thanks for inviting me to be the Words & Pictures Featured Illustrator!

I have created a banner which reflects the Words and Pictures theme for June of; ‘Festivals, Workshops and Retreats’. The characters are from a picture book idea I have recently written and illustrated. The original story is set at night, but I wanted this illustration to be all about colour.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Network News: There are critique groups and there are critique groups

By Gill James
And they’re all valid as they address different needs. It all depends on what exactly is your cup of tea.

This week I’ve done a round-up of some of the type of groups offered by the networks. If you see something that appeals, check with your Network Coordinator to see whether that sort of group exists in your area. If you’re really keen to join a group like this, why not start one?

Remember, you need to be a member of SCBWI to join a critique group. Perhaps this is a good reason to join?

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Marketing Part Two: Brands

By Nicky Schmidt

In the first part of this series, we looked at the basics of marketing – starting specifically with product, because without a great product, you may as well stay in your pjs and never get out of bed. Once, however, you’ve written your novel, the best one you can, you have to start thinking about promoting it, because, as I said in the previous article, increasingly authors have to manage their own promotional efforts. But before you can promote yourself or your book, you have to have a brand – that is, you have to know what you stand for and why you do what you do, because it’s your brand that defines everything about you and your books.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 18th June

Before I start the blog round-up, I'd like to thank everyone who's commented on or retweeted these posts over the last few months. Not only is it great to know that the Blog Break is being read, but also that you're reading the posts by our featured SCBWI bloggers.

Monday, 17 June 2013

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

Welcome to our monthly Ask A Publisher feature, hosted by Sara O'Connor, Editorial Director, Print and Digital at Hot Key Books. This month, the Q and A is about graphic novels, editing, second novels, titles and a little bit about submitting. Next month, Sara will tackle some of the great questions that she couldn’t get to this time, about covers, genres, the acquisition process and more!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Who's it all for anyway?

If you're reading this on Sunday morning and you're a SCBWI British Isles member you'll still have time to send us the opening 750 words of your middle-grade novel for our first Chalkface Challenge. Do you have one tucked in a forgotten file in some dark and cobwebby corner of your hard disk?

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Paula Rawsthorne’s new thriller Blood Tracks gets off to a delicious start

This week, UV 2010 winner Paula Rawsthorne shares photos of the fabulous cake at the launch of her second novel, Blood Tracks, a dark psychological thriller, published by Usborne on 1st June. And while you're reading, feel free to tuck into a yummy treat of your own to help her celebrate....

Friday, 14 June 2013

The Kate Greenaway Award 2013

First established in 1955 and named in honour of the 19th Century illustrator, the annual Kate Greenaway Medal is the UK's most prestigious prize for children's book illustration. Presented by CILIP (the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals), which also administers the Carnegie Medal, a list of past winners of the Greenaway is a pantheon of some of the most iconic names in British children's illustration. 
Bridget Strevens-Marzo considers this years shortlist.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Network News: The Value of Networks

by Gill James
There now, I had it all planned and was going to contact the network coordinators and seek out volunteers to talk of their experiences of being in a network. Alas, one particular network has let me down very badly this week – a certain internet service provider  - or should I say non-provider. We keep getting noise on our phone line and they won’t get Open Reach involved. Fingers crossed I can post this! (Well, I guess if you’re reading this I managed!)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

London Professional Series - Apps Night

By David Richardson
There was a definite 21st Century feel to the latest London Professionals Series evening. The theme was Apps and Digital Publishing. There were a good number attending and the subject was especially of interest to illustrators.

The panel were an excellent cross section in this area. We had Tom Bonnick – Digital Project and Marketing Manager of Nosy Crow; Caroline Osborn  - Head of Finance at Me Books and SCBWI’s own Nick Cross – Digital Product Manager at OUP.

An Interview with Sophie McKenzie

by Penny Kendal

Sophie’s first book, Girl Missing, was published in 2006 and won numerous awards including the Richard and Judy Best Kids’ Books 2007 (12+ category). Since then she has published 15 more novels including thrillers and romances, and has won many more awards. This year Hit Squad, part of the Medusa Series, won the older children’s category of the Red House Children’s Book Award.

I first met Sophie when we were both students at the City Lit ‘Writing Children’s Books Workshop’ in 2005. It was lovely to meet for a coffee and chat to Sophie about her writing and her success.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 11th June

I seem to constantly begin this column by saying what a terrific week it's been for SCBWI blogging, but it's true! I'm pleased that the warm weather hasn't deterred our writers and illustrators from creating some fascinating and heartfelt blog posts.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Festivals – a writer’s view

Filipino Fiesta
Alex English talks to Candy Gourlay and Teri Terry about the perks and pitfalls of appearing at festivals.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Letting Go and Losing Control

One week to go until the Chalkface Challenge deadline! Open to all SCBWI British isles members brave enough to subject their work to the ultimate test – what do the kids think?

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Friday, 7 June 2013

JULIA GOLDING Masterclass - Voice & Characterisation in YA Fiction

By Linda Lawlor
What makes for successful characters in YA fiction, and why exactly do they work? What do Artemis Fowl, Skulduggery Pleasant and the Wimpy Kid have in common? Why are they different from Frodo and Bella?
These questions, and many more, were explored during a packed and lively afternoon spent in the company of Julia Golding, author of the 'Cat Royal' series and the new 'Young Knights of the Round Table'.

Interview - Helen Stephens

Helen Stephens
Illustrator and picture book author Helen Stephens will be one of the facilitators at the upcoming SCBWI Picture Book Retreat for Illustrators and Writers. In this exclusive interview for Words & Pictures, Anna Violet delves into her processes and techniques. 

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Network News: North West’s Relationship with Waterstones

by Gill James 

It’s incredibly useful that we meet for our critique group in Waterstones. We’re lucky to get the events room for free in the atmospheric Manchester Deansgate branch. It’s part of an older building and Deansgate is a rather smart street filled with some upmarket shops, bars  and  restaurants and some other beautiful literary buildings such as the John Rylands Library  and Eliot House, the temporary home of Manchester City Library. The events room is on the second floor and opposite the very elegant House of Fraser.

Wednesday, 5 June 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.

This month they answer some more questions sent to us by our readers.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 4th June

When Jan posted at the weekend that we hadn't missed a day on Words & Pictures yet, I instantly began to worry that it would be me who left us without content for 24 hours! Luckily, you've all been blogging up a storm as usual...

Monday, 3 June 2013


by K. M. Lockwood
Dunford House
A reflection for writers and illustrators on this theme with some ideas to pursue.

The word ‘retreat’ is a homonym – the two different meanings are spelled the same and sound the same. Unfair, the child in me cries. Therefore, I intend to divide and conquer.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Phew, we haven't missed a day... yet

After all the Internet shenanigans on Saturday, what with ‘large scale DDos attacks’ and a Cyber War going on somewhere in the ether over a server in Sarajevo, I‘m all out of editorial. (For anyone who didn’t try to look in yesterday was down for almost all of Stig’s 50th Birthday due to a server problem.) But hurray, we're back today and on day 69 we haven't missed a day... yet!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Crack open the bubbly for Kathryn & winners Teri Terry and Dave Cousins

Three cheers for Kathryn! Hip Hip...
 It’s been an exciting week for SCBWI writers but first, I’d like you to join me in saying a massive thank you and hip hip hooray to Kathryn Evans, our lovely Celebrations Editor here at Words & Pictures. She’s been unflagging in cheering on the brilliant SCBWI successes since Words & Pictures started in March. Kathryn says: “I'm really sorry to be stepping down as I've had so much fun sharing everyone's news but I'm taking on a new SCBWI role and there just won't be time to do this one justice as well. So drum roll's Tania Tay!!!!!” 

Yes, that's me... I’m taking over the Celebrations column for a bit so please send me all your successes and let’s carry on toasting everybody’s amazing news!

Stig of the Dump - an appreciation on its 50th anniversary

 by Paul Morton
Stig, interpreted by Paul Morton
Last year I built a summerhouse (rain shelter!) in the far bottom corner of the garden. Here, I can escape the drawing board, forget the pixels and slip on my writer's cap. During its construction my mind wandered to secret treehouse hideaways, built long ago by our gang. Over long hot summer holidays we laboured with borrowed bits of wood, rope and tools, refreshed by the odd bottle of cider.

It was the rubbish-dump home of Stig that inspired me then, and still does. The cosy feeling of safe seclusion I have nestled in my new garden 'den', echoes the same thrill I had in those swaying tree tops.