Thursday, 31 July 2014

Literary Agent, Lindsey Fraser on Submitting & The Edinburgh Book Fest 2014

Sarah Broadley
As a volunteer with SCBWI British Isles, South East Scotland, I was privileged to be given the chance to interview one of Scotland's leading literary agents, Lindsey Fraser from Fraser Ross Associates based in Edinburgh.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Debut Author Series: Jeannie Waudby

The Learning Curve - Insights from Debut Authors 

Nicky Schmidt

Photo by Erica Abi-Karam

For many the road to publication is long and fraught. For others, a publishing deal comes relatively easily. Those who are still trudging the path may find it hard to imagine what it’s like to be a debut author, and authors with a few books to their name may only dimly recall the original experience. 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 29th July

Hello there - a new voice on your Ten-Minute Blog break this week: Nick Cross has mysteriously transmogrified into a Yorkshire lass. The blog posts that caught my imagination all feature creativity - an essential for all of us.

Monday, 28 July 2014

The Debut Author Series: Liz De Jager

The Learning Curve - Insights from Debut Authors

Nicky Schmidt

For many the road to publication is long and fraught. For others, a publishing deal comes relatively easily. Those who are still trudging the path may find it hard to imagine what it’s like to be a debut author, and authors with a few books to their name may only dimly recall the original experience.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Chalkface Challenge 2014: The Shadowing Results

We know who won The Chalkface Challenge 2014 - congratulations again to Jill Atkins for Elrac and the Konkipong Tree  but whose entries were sent with Jill's to the Shadow Judges? And did our shadows choose the same winner as the children?

Dashing Off

After last week's excitement of The Chalkface Challenge Winner, Jill Atkins - (do go and read Jill's winning entry - it's what 7-9 year old readers LOVE) and Nick's excellent takeover on this spot, at 6pm we have the Chalkface Shadow Results.
It's the most interesting part of the competition and highlights what we all know: that to a great extent, judgements about our work are subjective. The shadow judges would like to have picked the same as the children - check in at 6pm to find out if they did.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Blow Your Own Trumpet!

...or trombone!
Last year 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, 25 July 2014

Featured Illustrator: Alex Wilson

 This month's Featured Illustrator is Alex Wilson, an up-and-coming young artist with experience of training on both sides of the Atlantic. Utilising a proficient graphic style, Alex is as much at ease with digital media as he is with traditional techniques. See his page on the Featured Illustrator Gallery for more examples of his work.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Network News South East: Volunteering and Storytelling with Quentin Blake and Friends

Lorraine Cooke
I’ve been a volunteer at my local National Trust property, Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire, since March 2013 and the art gallery there puts on a number of excellent and popular exhibitions each year. This summer – from 19 July to 14 September - there’s a fantastic opportunity to see the work of some of the best children’s contemporary illustrators, including Quentin Blake, Helen Oxenbury and John Burningham in a new exhibition.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Proofreading Tips: Dashes

Catriona Tippin

An occasional look at punctuation with Proofreading Tips:

Nearly there? Make a dash for it!

Punctuation started as an aid to reading aloud. Originally scribes introduced various marks into text to indicate opportunities to breath or pause or change cadence. With the introduction of printing these marks became formalised and include all the familiar punctuation marks we use today.

The Road Goes Ever On

An inspiration piece – with thanks to J.R.R. Tolkien for the title 

Horton Scar Lane by David Sykes
Some years ago, I volunteered to walk the Three Peaks for charity (24.5miles and three mountains in twelve hours). When the day came, we all set off with enthusiasm over the sheep-cropped turf of Ribblesdale. Lots of collective jollity got us through the first stretch over Pen-y-Ghent.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 22nd July

Following Sarah McIntyre's celeb-heavy contribution last week, a couple of other SCBWI bloggers are giving us their perspective on YALC (the first YA Literary Convention) in London.

Monday, 21 July 2014

The Debut Author Series: Jo Franklin

The Learning Curve - Insights from Debut Authors 

Nicky Schmidt

Photo by Liz Emerson
For many the road to publication is long and fraught. For others, a publishing deal comes relatively easily. Those who are still trudging the path may find it hard to imagine what it’s like to be a debut author, and authors with a few books to their name may only dimly recall the original experience. 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

The Chalkface Challenge 2014 - The Results

There were 29 entries for the Chalkface Challenge 2014 - the only writing competition judged entirely by children*. This year two schools took part in the judging and reviewing process. The judges were year 3 and 4 children from Sparsholt C of E Primary School, Sparsholt, Hampshire. 10 and 11 year old children from Chew Stoke Church School near Bristol reviewed the results.

(Not) A Word from Your Editor

Jan Carr is having a well-deserved break from the editorial this week, so I, Nick Cross, will be attempting to fill in. I won’t go on too long, because I know that this post is merely an amuse-bouche before today’s main course - the Chalkface Challenge results!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

A Song of Peace

This week, congratulations go to Helen Bonney who just won 3rd prize for the Tipperary Song of Peace Contest.

Tipperary was made famous by the World War 1 song, 'It’s a Long Way to Tipperary', but has since reinvented itself as a Centre for Peace.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Debut Author Series

Nicky Schmidt

Part One - The Rejection Game - From slushpile to contract 

Most people when they start writing think it will take a year or two to land a publishing deal. The reality is anyone who gets an agent and lands a publishing contract within four years of starting to write is doing incredibly well. Those who’ve been at it much longer know that a 6 – 10 year wait is the actual reality – and for some, it’s even longer. It’s a time during which rejection letters become the byword of your life. 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 15th July

Some weeks, compiling the Blog Break is hard - usually because there are too few good blog posts or too many. It's definitely a case of the latter this week, so apologies go to anyone I've missed out for reasons of space!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Helloooooo lovely readers!

Words & Pictures averages over a thousand page views a day - fewer if it's sunny! After a year and half of almost daily posts, there's a lot to look at and it makes it all worth while to know that people are enjoying what we put up on the web.

BUT it's comments from real readers that make us especially happy. They're the toy in the Kinder Egg, the plastic doggie from the amusement arcade, the funny joke in the christmas cracker…

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Let's celebrate The Year of the Rat!

This week, we are absolutely thrilled to dig into a huge slice of cake and crack open the bubbly for Clare Furniss. Her debut novel, The Year of the Rat came out in April and has been gathering media attention ever since, with great reviews in The Guardian and The Telegraph

Clare tells us more about her journey to publication, which started at a SCBWI event....

Friday, 11 July 2014

Illustration Masterclass: Ways into Publishing

This week author/illustrator Shana Nieberg-Suschitzky reports on our recent Illustration Masterclass event in London, covering the different opportunities for artists and writers in publishing today, hosted by Gillian McClure.  

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Finding Your Voice in Southampton

On the 28th June Southampton had it's first SCBWI event - tons of respect to all you event organisers out there! We welcomed Sarah Lean to The Art House Cafe in the city centre. The Art House is a not for profit volunteer run vegetarian cafe that holds interesting and diverse arty crafty cultural events and on the last Saturday in June, we were one of them.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

That First School Visit

The first school visit is a rite of passage that most children’s authors will have to face at some point. You picture in your head exactly how it was going to play out: children laughing among themselves as you stumble over your presentation, teachers and assistants shaking their heads as your PowerPoint fails to run…

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 8th July

There will be those amongst you who thought that Sarah McIntyre couldn't possibly top the insane headgear that she wore to launch Oliver and the Seawigs (a six-foot pink confection with a sailing ship on the top). You were wrong.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Ask a Picture Book Editor

So, you’ve worked out your universal theme, created child-centred characters and honed your tone and pitch

In the third part of our craft masterclass, we will focus on:

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Last Week on W&P

How was your Children's Book Week? No longer having school age children, I did not spend last Sunday night scrabbling around for costumes - which was nice. But Children's Book week did lead me to have a good look around Booktrust - from books in food banks to the Letterbox Club and the Best Book Awards - it's brilliant. Do consider donating.

SlushPile Challenge - July 2014

We are pleased to announce the July 2014 Slush Pile Challenge.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

'Extraordinary' Congratulations to Helen!

Helen Watts
We're very excited for Helen Watts, whose book One Day In Oradour has been selected for an Extraordinary Award in the 2014 Southern Schools Book Awards. Because the content of 'Oradour' had generated so much interest and discussion, the SSBA felt 'it merited standalone recognition, both to commemorate the 70 years since the events in Oradour and to mark the ten-year milestone of the SSBA'. What a wonderful accolade!
Over to Helen for how it happened, how she feels and what it means to her...

Friday, 4 July 2014

House of Illustration Illustrators' Fair: Notes from a Newbie

Heather Chapman gives us an inside look to the House of Illustration's inaugural Illustrators' Fair that took place Sunday 22nd June in London.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Network News: Winchester Writers’ Festival

We're lucky in the South to be so handy for the increasingly popular Winchester Writers’ Festival, now in its 34th year.

Charlotte Comley went along and collected some great festival tips. Can't wait until June next year to try these out? Our own SCBWI Conference, also at Winchester University, is in November. Over to Charlotte...

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Older Debuts

You're never too old to become a published children's writer. In this post Janet Foxley shares her own experience of achieving success as an older debut and also shares examples of other authors who produced bestsellers later in life.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 1st July

The Bunker Diary has been very much in the news this week. I knew that my teenage daughter had read the book and disliked it, so I asked her why. I expected a reply that cited the darkness and brutality of the story, but instead she said: "The character arcs were too flat."
I guess this is what comes of having a writer and a librarian as parents!