Thursday, 31 October 2013

Network News: Case Studies

The writer’s life can be lonely. Often we juggle to fit in our work around a day job and /or a family until we’re earning enough from our writing to support ourselves. It’s a funny old thing - so often we write and write and write, yet we don’t know whether it will ever get out there. And even when it does, we’ll often hit a snag. Confidence levels swing up and down.
So it’s good to have some support and it’s great when that is quite local. I’ve asked five people I know value their local network to tell me exactly how being a member of a local SCBWI network has helped them. This is what they said:

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Writing with Dyslexia

By Sally Poyton 

To start I’m going to share some of my all-time best spelling faux pas… 

Why NaNoWriMo?

By Katrina Charman

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month
On November 1st, hundreds of thousands of writers around the world will embark upon a caffeine and chocolate fuelled (or maybe that's just me) journey to write 50,000 words in only thirty days. 

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 29th October

Last week, I complained about there being too many good blog posts to choose from, and yet this week there are even more! Now, I'm not going to say you should write bad posts, but you're making my life difficult here, folks ;-)

Monday, 28 October 2013

Guest Blogger: How to Be An Author By Candy Gourlay

So three whole years after Book Number One, Book Number Two is finally out. Bow.

Shine by Candy Gourlay
Gratuitous image of Book Number Two

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Down to business

The business for me this week is to focus. This is me focussing. My WIP end is in sight and I aim to get there imminently, very soon at least.

We have plans - Paul Morton is doing a splendid job of collecting contributions for a Words & Pictures Advent Calendar. Thank you very much to the illustrators so far who have contributed seasonal images for our December posts.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

And The Winner is.....

Bridget's winning snail!

It’s nearly conference time again  and I can’t wait! A chance to catch up with friends old and new; energise the creative parts of my brain; network with the great and the good (what a line up we have this year); and get involved in all the amazing competitions and promotions and  I’ve hijacked Celebrations to share with you the winners of our very first 2013 conference competition...

Friday, 25 October 2013

Traditional vs Digital Techniques in illustration

Julia Groves offers some observations on blending time honoured printing methods with modern computers. 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Network News: Remember, remember...

... the fifth of November is the next London Professional Series Event: Poachers Turned Gamekeepers.

Ahead of this event,  here’s a little teaser with some tips from folks who are professionals within the publishing industry by day and writers by night,
The line-up is impressive...

Wednesday, 23 October 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 critique two queries sent in to us by our readers.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 22nd October

Most weeks, there are a few blogs that make the cut for this column, and others (although interesting) that I have to leave out. This week, it seemed every link I clicked on was a goody - let's hope I can type quickly!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Considering young book lovers with complex needs

Amanda Lillywhite
We are delighted to have this piece from Amanda Lillywhite about her daughter who has autism and learning difficulties.  Like every child, Z is special and an individual. We hope that finding out about her favourite books will give us some insight into the kinds of stories and illustration young readers with particular special needs may especially enjoy and help us to create with that in mind.


(Not an urban environment for scuba-nauts!)
I tend to get preachy about this topic – but this is meant to be inspiration. So I'll put aside questions of tokenism and appropriation by saying that if you research and imagine with empathy, these shouldn’t be a problem. We are all people, anyway.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Illustrators' Masterclass

By Clare Tovey
In September, the SCBWI British Isles Illustrator Master Class series continued with a picture book dummy make over session run by Bridget Strevens-Merzo and Sue Porter.

The aim of the afternoon was to sharpen up our own “critique-ability” so that we become our own dummy doctor and we were all invited to bring along our own dummy book to work on.

Reasons to join SCBWI (part 3)

This week The Bookseller announced a new competition to write a short think piece about what it really means to publish now that anyone can do it. We can all turn into published authors in as much time as it takes to find our IBAN number but the drift and blurring of roles is now working in other directions too.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Stop biting your nails about UV – Book Bound can also help you on the road to publication!

This week congratulations go to SCBWI author/editors, Sara Grant (UV co-founder), Sara O’Connor (UV co-founder, Hot Key Books), Jasmine Richards (OUP) and Karen Ball (Little, Brown) for the launch of their brand new venture, Book Bound. The inaugural Book Bound residential retreat in May 2014 is an exciting opportunity for writers to polish their novel and get it in front of agents. And all with the help of these four amazing authors and commissioning editors who clock up over 30 years combined editorial experience on more than 1,000 books! 

Friday, 18 October 2013


Mike Brownlow

That’s a big word isn’t it, children? And difficult to spell, as I’ve just found out. 

Are you sitting comfortably? Once upon a time...

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Catriona's Proofreading Tips: False Friends

diversity [daɪˈvɜːsɪtɪ]
1. the state or quality of being different or varied

Catriona Tippin aka @ProofreadingTip looks at some words with differences for you to think about - False Friends

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 15th October

The Blog Break is 30 weeks young! (OK, I missed 25 and it's a long way to 50, so this will have to do). I've forgotten the cake, but there are some nice looking treats in this month's header image - though they may taste vaguely of embroidery.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Tips From the Professionals: London Professional Series

by David Richardson

Despite the appalling rain on the evening, many travelled into London for a fascinating and very helpful September meeting.

The panel discussed aspects of the writer’s and illustrator’s journey. This started with the Creative Process, then Signing on the Dotted Line - for that illusive deal, through to Giving up the Day Job and becoming a fulltime writer.

Agent Confidential: Bryony Woods

Name: Bryony Woods 

AKA: B. (I like to keep things simple) 

Agency: Diamond Kahn & Woods (DKW) 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

A Patchwork Post

So many things to write about this week I don't know which to pick, so I'm going for them all! It's been Children's Book Week did you vote for your favourite? Champion @Words8Pictures Tweeter, @lockwoodwriter, has collected the Twittersphere's favourites in our timeline - look, just scroll down on the left...

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Out of this world!

Time to ditch the diet and tuck into another piece of cake this week in honour of Jo Franklin and her exciting news!

After bagging lovely agent Anne Clark earlier this year Jo is now the proud owner of a two book deal for her debut novel “Help I'm an Alien.” and it's sequel. They've been bought by German publisher Coppenrath.

Friday, 11 October 2013


A relative newcomer to the world of children's book illustration, Rachel Quarry has already received attention in SCBWI's Undiscovered Voices and other media. Words and Pictures welcomes her as this month's Featured Illustrator, check the Featured Illustrator Gallery to see a range of her work.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Network News: Central North

The critique group
Normally news of us comes from Liz Miller and will continue to do so. However, the dates of our critique groups have fallen all wrong for her just lately so this is a quick fill-in from Gill Hutchison.
I don’t want you to think that here at Central North we don’t take our writing seriously – we do. However, we’re all in various stages of recovery from our meeting on September 28th; a stunningly ribald crit group considering we were within the hallowed walls of the Museum of Lincolnshire Life. Why? 

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Children’s Publishing (But Were Afraid To Ask)

Celia Anderson and Anne Neild

Saturday 21st September was a day of sparkling wit and fascinating revelations for all of us who like to hang around in the world of writers, agents and publishers. It was the first ever Nosy Crow conference, held in the atmospheric St Bride’s Foundation just off Fleet Street. There was wine (but only at the end, or drunken clapping might have spoiled the event) there were home-made cakes and there were speakers who were able to keep the buzz going all day long – even when the PA system took an unseemly nosedive. 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 8th October

I have great trouble each week thinking of something original to write for this intro paragraph, so this time I'm going to take a leaf out of Rosie Best's book and say:
Welcome to Blogs and Stuff #29 !

Monday, 7 October 2013

When should a writer pay for editorial guidance?

Sara O'Connor is taking a short break from her usual Ask A Publisher feature this month to look at the pros and cons of paying for editorial consultancy. When is it worth forking out for specialist advice? And who should you trust with your hard-earned cash? Sara has spoken with a number of different industry experts to find out best practice.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Slush Pile Challenge - October 2013

We are pleased to announce the October 2013 Slush Pile Challenge

The importance of a good ending

I went to the SCBWI London Agents Party this week - I'm not great at standy uppy drinks parties, even less great at pitching - in spite of all the excellent tips from Michelle earlier this week, the fabulous free 50 business cards from Moo (which I left at home) and a lovely SCBWI friend who'd gifted me a much better-pitch-than-mine on a plate (now there's an idea).

It was a great do, lovely agenty types - all enthusiastic and hungry for something wonderful. Judging by Twitter everyone had a great time and I look forward to reading about all those positive outcomes in our Saturday Celebrations. But was it at the agents party I learned about the importance of a good ending?

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Let's celebrate with Bryony Pearce!

Bryony Pearce’s heartfelt tale about her journey as an author has long been the most popular post on Words & Pictures. So we're very happy to crack open the bubbly and celebrate the launch of her second novel, The Weight of Souls which was published by Strange Chemistry on 1st August. 

Friday, 4 October 2013

Linocut Class: Anne-Marie Perks

Anne-Marie Perks
Inspired by print artist and illustrator Gerry Turley facilitating at the SCBWI Picture Book Retreat this summer, I decided to learn more about lino cut and printmaking. This became part of my own professional development plan that I set myself every year. Sometimes it’s about learning a new skill I need to have for illustrating, animating, or storytelling, or it’s something completely different to shake things
up a bit.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Nicola Morgan: How to find a good agent

Nicola Morgan
It's SCBWI's London Agents Party this evening so to accompany Michelle Newell's excellent party tips we thought it would be timely to repost this similarly excellent advice from Nicola Morgan. 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Interview with José Patterson: Clear the Blizzard of Words

By Donna Vann

I interviewed octogenarian José Patterson, long-time member of SCBWI who has recently self-published her first book of children’s fiction, ‘No Buts, Becky!’ 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 1st October

For a while, this post was called "Lino Sniffing", which would certainly have looked interesting up there on the main page! But although I've bowed to convention with the title, you'll still find plenty of fragrant delights in this week's Blog Break.