Saturday, 31 August 2013

Blow Your Own Trumpet!

...or trombone!
In a recent post Nick said.... 

"We do have the Celebrations column on Words & Pictures, but what about a celebrations forum for lesser achievements – finishing a book say, or even a particularly difficult chapter?" 

So here it is!

Friday, 30 August 2013

Tips for Surviving an Illustration Portfolio Review

Today Jane Heinrichs, one of our recent Featured Illustrators, offers some guidelines on the challenge of organised Portfolio Reviews

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Illustrators Duel it out in Norwich: Central East SCBWI Day!

Benjamin Scott
Writers and Illustrators took over the Norwich and Norfolk Millennium Library for a day to celebrate the opening of the SCBWI BI Illustrator Exhibition in Norwich, organised by Central East Network Coordinator John Shelley. On Saturday 27th July, with the Pride Weekend in full swing outside, 5 illustrators and 4 authors flew the flag for SCBWI British Isles and the Central East Network with sessions aimed at a range of audiences, from children to adults.

Craft Book Review: Booklife by Jeff Vandermeer

Reviewed by Stephanie Williams

Booklife by Jeff Vandermeer
ISBN: 978-1-4081-2913-5
A&C Black Publishers Limited – 2009

Booklife is not your usual guide to writing – instead of teaching plots and structures it covers how to market yourself as a writer and how to survive within the dizzy maze of social media available. Despite its publication four years ago the book is still up to date and relevant.

Wednesday, 28 August 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 are offering just that.

This month they answer some more of our readers' burning questions, and critique a query.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 27th August

I’m delighted to be given the chance to deputise for Nick Cross on the blog while he does whatever talented and imaginative writers do on their holidays. He’s probably sitting somewhere with a notebook, pen and an ice cream (substitute beer if you’re reading this slightly later in the day) just oozing with ideas for his next book. It’s a hard job to fill his shoes (substitute trainers or flip flops if you really want to get into the spirit of Nick’s holiday), but here goes.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Festival: An Approach to Writing

K. M. Lockwood (Philippa Francis)

You perch a red felt topper on your head. You assault your tongue with raging chillies; remind your nose about the earthiness of patchouli, let your ears be beguiled by a hurdy-gurdy and the squelch of juicy mud. It’s festival time.


Philippa R. Francis who writes as K. M. Lockwood  

You may well have been to the Night-before Conference Critique Meet. It’s a brilliant, supportive way of getting feedback on your work. You might have done something similarly helpful by e-critique, or on a course.

Well forget that.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Getting away from it all...

Summer is exhausting.

My ideal holiday would be in the house on my own for at least a week having been hypnotised not to think about anything I have to do, only what I want to do. Obviously, that would be to travel to my own land of make believe, which I could explore from the comfort of the sofa, without the guilt of I really should be doing something about tea now. It would be a more proactive version of Total Recall,  the classic sci fi film based on the Philip K. Dick story where people in the future have virtual holidays by having the memory of that experience implanted.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Undiscovered Voices is not the only competition for new writers

 If anyone needs a pick-me-up after the stress of getting in their UV entry, here's a great excuse to crack open the champers. Today we're celebrating with Marie-Claire Imam-Gutierrez, who's just won a new writer's award. recently met Marie-Claire while trying to shove a Words & Pictures flyer into her hands at the Verulam Writers' Conference, so I was extra excited for her!

Friday, 23 August 2013

The Making of Duck & Bear

Amanda Lillywhite, creator of the popular Duck & Bear comic, recalls her processes and shows us how she came up with the idea for the series. For those who missed the series, check the Words and Pictures archives, or alternatively download all five episodes here

Thursday, 22 August 2013

It’s all About Audience in Central North

 Liz Miller

We’ve had a busy few months in Central North. Lincoln Inspired  has been and gone but is not forgotten. It was every bit as enjoyable and inspirational as we had hoped. Addy Farmer blogged here about the SCBWI events and the importance and delights of communing with your fellow writers and illustrators.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Featuring the Words & Pictures Editors

There are members of the Words & Pictures Team who are amazingly organised, work very hard but often don't get enough recognition for their talents. First up are two members of the writing features team (which also includes interim celebrations editor Tania Tay), Mel Rogerson and Katrina Charman, who have been in the thick of it since January.

Mel posts on Mondays and Katrina on Wednesdays; they are both insightful, creative and wonderful to work with.  Jan asked them about their Words & Pictures journey, where and how they work.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 20th August

The Blog Break meets Breaking Bad this week, as crazed drug dealers, prize geraniums, summer stodge and parental challenges meet in another eclectic SCBWI selection!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Picture Book Master Class with Egmont

Heather Kilgour

This year I helped organise a picture book illustration master class with Sarah Malley, Art Director from Egmont Children’s Books, writes Heather Kilgour . 
The workshop had two phases. First, Egmont provided the fifteen illustrators who had enrolled with a picture book text that they had commissioned. The Illustrators produced black and white roughs of character studies and two full page spreads from the story, which were submitted to Sarah for feedback.

Social Sheila Video: What's okay to say to an agent on Twitter?

Sheila Averbuch
Have you ever wanted to chat with an agent or publisher on Twitter, but haven't felt confident enough?

This month, our resident social media expert, Sheila Averbuch, shows you how to communicate with the professionals without breaching etiquette.

Could a critique group be for you?

Annie Neild

A face-to-face critique group in action
"Find a good critique group,” is a piece of advice that is often given in books about writing and getting published. The suggestion is that if you’re serious about your craft, you ought to consider joining a critique group. So, what’s all the fuss about?

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Edinburgh Part Two: Assuming

It's amazing that in a city as busy as Edinburgh in August and it does heave, you can spot a person in one part of the city - they catch your eye because you're sure there's a story there - then a couple of days later, you see them again somewhere entirely different. So it was with a lady, I saw last Saturday outside the Waitrose in Morningside (so middle class, I know) and then two days later in Charlotte Square. Ok so the Waitrose and EdBookfest possibly appeal to a similar sort of person but, making loads of assumptions here, the lady didn't appear as if she belonged in either.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Congratulations Mark!

We're delighted to celebrate with this recently agented SCBWI author...

"You may as well all just give up and stop writing," says Mark Jones.

(DON'T do that! - Ed) 

“It's the biggest development in the literary world since Johannes Guternburg failed to invent the alphabetti spaghetti making machine” screamed blogger Basil Obvious, “Whatever he writes, it'll be the book to end all books!”.

Friday, 16 August 2013


Nicola L. Robinson
This month's Featured Artist is Nottingham based Nicola L Robinson. From comic playfulness to high gothic fantasy, check the Featured Illustrator Gallery to see the full range of her sharp, graphic work!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Network News: Featuring Sheila Averbuch and Louise Kelly, South-East Scotland Network

This week, Sheila Averbuch and Louise Kelly, network co-ordinators for South-East Scotland, tell us about the SCBWI activity in their area.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Critique - The Trauma!

By Maureen Lynas

You've shared your baby, risked depression, and asked for a critique. Eek! 

Your story (or you depending on your emotional viewpoint and place on the writerly learning curve) has been appraised, analysed, evaluated and judged.

Maybe it's been unanimously praised as being the next GINORMOUS thing. Maybe it's been found wanting. Or maybe, and more probably, it's somewhere between the two and you are now dealing with the aftermath of the critique – confusion. 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 13th August

Ah, those long lazy days of summer. I've not had many of them myself (too many books and blogs to write), but it seems like they are available if you like that kind of thing! Join me to find out how our SCBWI bloggers are spending their downtime.

Monday, 12 August 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.

Sara can't keep up with all your great questions, but please keep sending them in! This week it's about how long the publishing process is right down to some contract nitty gritty. Next month, Sara's got a backlog to catch up on, tackling questions like what authors should look for in a publisher.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Blame it on the 3G

I have to confess that while on my travels keeping up with Words & Pictures has been a challenge. This is partly due to 3G not being as everywhere as I'd like it to be and partly to being called away every now and then to have fun somewhere.

I also have to own up to completely missing a day - August 8th which henceforth will have to be known the Words & Pictures Jubilee.  'Hey hey, Jubilee?' I hear you say, 'Isn't that an anniversary or something to do with the Queen who keeps on having them?'  Well yes it is, but inspired by Mark Forsyth whose 'show' I went to at Edbookfest yesterday, I've unearthed a less well known biblical instruction for how to have a jubilee.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

What do a cross-dressing spy, ten little pirates and a Pi-rat have in common?

They all launched this summer at a bookshop near you. So please raise your glasses and drink a toast to celebrate the latest achievements of SCBWI authors and illustrators Kate Scott, Mike Brownlow and Maxine Lee. 

Friday, 9 August 2013

Picture Book Basics - Sketches and Layout

In the second part of a series for illustrators starting out in Picture Books, Words & Pictures Illustration Editor John Shelley takes a look at planning images and layout.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Picturebook (E)Critique Too! Who We Are, And What We Do!

By Lesley Moss

Picturebook Critique Too! (PB Too!) was the second peer-led picture book e-critique group for SCBWI_BI. Over three years from its inception it is still running, with many of the original members plus some lovely later additions. Candy Gourlay set it up, and passed the moderating baton to me, now ably assisted by Liz Miller. 

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 6th August

It's a pleasure to return to the Blog Break today, and a big thank you to Candy Gourlay for her inspired clone work last week. She was stretching the truth by claiming I was on an adventure holiday, though - unless you consider paddling in the sea and writing a synopsis to be adventurous!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Polishing the first draft – Savita Kalhan

YA author, Savita Kalhan, is August's guest blogger.

In keeping with our critique month theme, Savita writes about how she self-edits her manuscripts before submission. Read on to discover her top tips!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Edinburgh Part One

The conference has been announced! A library of award winning authors and illustrators including Catherine Rayner and Malorie Blackman with an impressive line up of industry professionals will be there. Everyone's welcome!

The conference doesn't include accommodation. If you're coming, book now. Places closest to the university go very quickly.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Badges, Badges, Badges!

Kathy Evans
 I'm hijacking Celebrations to give you all a chance to win something! It'll soon be time to announce the Amazing SCBWI British Isles Annual Conference which means it's already time for me to announce the highly popular badge design competition!

Last year's gorgeous illustrations and witty writing-and-illustrating-related slogans were truly fabulous and I know this years will be just as good. Everyone can have a go as long as you're a SCBWI member. So what are we looking for?

Friday, 2 August 2013

Conference 2013: Lighting the Spark - Creating Stories that Last a Lifetime

Jo Wyton

I am thrilled to announce that our 2013 conference is now open for booking! And I am already wondering how I will choose between all of our wonderful speakers... We have the Children's Laureate. A Kate Greenaway Medal winner. A Carnegie Medal 2013 shortlisted author. A twice CBI Book Trust winner. A Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction competition winner. Not one but TWO of the 2008 Booktrust Ten Best New Illustrators. And to top it all off, we've got a selection fo the very best industry people who make it all happen! But I must stop myself from going any further, and tell you who I'm talking about...

Ink Splutterings

Anna Violet

Brush, knife or string? Which tool shall I use to make my mark?  The marks you make and choose are like your handwriting, they're unique to you. Much depends on the toolkit you use, as well as your materials. My own personal toolkit has evolved (and is evolving still) in response to my experiments with different tools and inks. Here are some of my findings.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Craft Book Review: Writing for Children by Linda Strachan

Reviewed by K.M. Lockwood (Philippa R. Francis)

This Writing Handbook from Bloomsbury is dedicated to The Scattered Authors Society (The ‘other’ SAS) by its author Linda Strachan. The SAS keep a very useful and stimulating blog: An Awfully Big Blog Adventure so I took that as a pretty good indicator of the quality and good sense of the content and writing- as well as being endorsed by Celia Rees and Nicola Morgan. I was not disappointed.