Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Blog Break Interview with Space on the Bookshelf

One of the joys of blogging is that it opens us up to different perspectives and points of view that we might not otherwise hear. With that in mind, this month’s interview about blogging and blog techniques goes boldly into another new area: group blogging!

Monday, 29 June 2015

Social Media for SCBWI Writers: What Can YouTube Do For You?

I don't know about you, but I was surprised when one of the speakers at the Winchester SCBWI Conference last November said that when schoolchildren were asked where they look first for information, the answer was YouTube.

Not parents, not the library, not even our well-beloved Google: YouTube!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Take pride!

Being a writer or illustrator can be relentlessly hard. But with SCBWI you're in the right place. You get to hang out with those in the know, and forge ahead on your creative journey alongside like-minded folk, sharing the ups and downs, the joys and the despair.  Better still, Words & Pictures is here to offer a guiding hand...

Friday, 26 June 2015

A Day Spent in Seventh Heaven

In anticipation of its July reopening, roving illustrator reporter Paul Morton recalls a visit to Newcastle's marvellous Seven Stories Children's Book Centre.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

From Book to Stage - Event Report for HIDDEN

How HIDDEN came to the stage

by Miriam Halahmy

My Y.A. novel HIDDEN ( new edition, 2014, Albury Books) was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and was Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week, “Gripping... a book to counter bigotry.” Nicolette Jones. 

HIDDEN is about two teens, Alix and Samir, who rescue an asylum seeker from the sea and hide him to save him from being deported.

Alix lives on quiet Hayling Island off the south coast of England and has never really thought about immigration. But Samir was a child asylum seeker and he knows how hard it is to start a new life. 

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Art of Plotting - or a few things screenwriting can teach you...

I’m an Australian writer of children’s television and books, which stumbles off the tongue and looks fickle in a bio. You know: ‘can’t the woman decide already?’ 

And when I chat to my author mates about television writing, they’re interested but also daunted by an unfamiliar industry. Which is a pity, because authors could learn a lot from scriptwriters. 

In my experience, writing on a TV show is a lot like writing a book, but with fewer words, more people to comment, and less time to waste on the internet. 

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 23rd June

Logo by Melany Pietersen
If there's one constant in my life, it's having too much content available to me and not enough time to consume it. I have piles of unread books and graphic novels, all waiting their turn. The only thing I'm up to date on is SCBWI-BI blog posts, and I hope today's selection will help save you some time hunting out the gems.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Are You Writing for the Movies?

On Wednesday, Words and Pictures is publishing a great feature by a children's television writer, who also writes children's books. Writing for the screen, big or small, is a bit different from writing for print. Have you ever thought of whether your book would make a good film?

Sunday, 21 June 2015


I am not a naturally sociable person. In a crowd of people I am apt to jump up and bark too much, like an overexcited Jack Russell. The thought of going to a party where I don't know anyone, is more than likely to encourage every reason not to.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Small Big Celebration: Sally Kindberg Draw It! Animals

We have yet another exciting Celebration from a SCBWI member. Sally Kindberg's 6th book in her Draw it! series, Draw It! Animals was published on May 7th by Bloomsbury - hooray!

Sally Kindberg

Illustrator and author

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Network News: North West Sketch and scrawl

By Dom Conlon
There was plenty of wind, and even more hot air, in evidence at June’s SCBWI NW Sketch & Scrawl event. Expertly guided by Anna Violet and Marie Basting, the aim was to show us how illustration can be used to mark key observations for later use in storytelling.

Our day began with an introduction to Aboriginal story sticks - devices which served as a kind of narrative driven map. Carved or painted in a left / right, left / right pattern, the sticks would tell others the story of a journey.
Catherin and Marie with their story sticks 

Call Yourself An Author? Sarah McIntyre on Pulse

By Candy Gourlay

Sarah McIntyre
I'm part of the Pulse team led by Mo O'Hara that is trying to create events that would be relevant to the burgeoning ranks of published SCBWI members. The thing about published people, see, is that they have fierce opinions of their own, and any panel or talk we create for them would have to respect that. Our first pulse event was a discussion of who could call themselves an author with Sarah McIntyre - following Sarah's campaign #PicturesMeanBusiness for illustrators to be recognised as equal partners to writers in authoring work.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Proofreading Tips - more on punctuation!

By Catriona Tippin

Image credit

Following the article on commas last month here’s a look at a further selection of punctuation marks and the outer reaches of your keyboard. 

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 16th June

Logo by Melany Pietersen
While I love the new Blog Break logo, the size and shape of it does mean that I have to write even more in this little introduction space at the top of the article. Unfortunately, that's the bit I find most difficult every week! Is it enough for me just to say that there are some great blog posts to read, under the fold?

Monday, 15 June 2015


The core notion of festivals over time has been The Feast. Contemporary music gatherings may have lost that amongst the mud and tents and face-paints, but I'd like to bring us back to that concept.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

The rescuing of goats

Something fundamental happens when friends and family gather together. Food is shared, wine is poured, and the stories begin to flow.  

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Small Big Celebrations: A Golden Egg for K M Lockwood


Imagine an egg, a Golden Egg. Inside is a chick curled-up, damp and blinking. She knows there’s a world outside because a calm voice encourages it to peck, peck, peck away at that shell. She sees a glow through the egg and feels warmth and hope.

I am that chick – and Nicki Marshall is the broody hen calling me out.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Mudpie Mo, by Anna Violet


Anna Violet is a freelance author-illustrator based in Manchester.  Check her portfolio website here, and her blog here.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Network News: South East

by Jane Haryott
Jane Haryott
I’ve loving my new role as South East co-ordinator. It’s been great to meet SCBWI writers and illustrators and see how different South East SCBWI groups work. 


The Brighton group is led by Jane McLoughlin and meets regularly on a social basis. I joined them on a Saturday afternoon for brunch at Al Campo, the perfect venue for a relaxed, well-attended get-together with writers and one illustrator, all at different stages in their creative journey.

Trailblazer SCBWI Panel Event – Interview with Julia Churchill

Julia Churchill of AM Heath

On 26th June, Julia Churchill will feature on the Trailblazer Panel Event for the Manchester Children’s Book Fair. The Pulse question: ‘What is the Worth of Creating for Children?’ 

Larisa Villar Hauser had the pleasure of interviewing the trailblazing Julia Churchill, literary agent with AM Heath, over coffee ahead of this exciting event. 

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Writers' Minds - Jon Mayhew

Image Credit - Whizzy Barr
Ever wondered what makes a writer tick? What cogs of creativity whirr to bring stories to life? We take a peek into the minds behind the craft and probe for creative rituals, routines and inspiration hunting. 


This month, award winning children’s author, Jon Mayhew, shares his inner workings. Be sure to catch Jon in person at the Manchester Children’s Book Fair SCBWI Pulse Panel Event on 26th June, click here for details and to book. But for, now, shut the curtains, crack open that pack of cookies you were keeping for best and read on for a quick fire round of writerly secrets… 

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 9th June

We have a new logo! I'd like to thank May's featured illustrator Melany Pietersen and her studio Happy Artworks for their excellent work, and I'm delighted that we can showcase it every week, right here on Words & Pictures.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Ask a Picture Book Editor

Jumping through Hoops: Acquisitions and What You Can Expect Next

So, an editor loves your work, what next? 

In some publishing houses, the team will sit round a table, the editor will read the text aloud, and they will discuss on the spot whether they LOVE the book enough to publish it.

In other houses, acquiring a text is part of a wider business decision that has to be substantiated by facts and figures, making the process lengthier and requiring input from all publishing departments.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Results - Slush Pile Challenge April 2015

This challenge was set by Julia Churchill of A M Heath. 


 A story asks and answers these questions: Who is this person, what is it they want and how do they achieve it?
I'm looking for a DNA fragment. I'd like to read a paragraph or two in the voice of your main character about what it is they want most in the world and why. It doesn't need to give much away, or it can give it all. 

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Christi Whitney's Unexpected Good News

By Charlotte Comley
I've found Christi's story truly inspirational. We often are led to believe that people achieve overnight success. It's nice to know that determination can pay off. So if you have had a few close calls and are feeling discouraged, why not check out Christi's post?

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Illustration Masterclass with Paul Stickland

Paul Stickland

Ready, Steady, Go!

Find out how to design workshops and events for children and top tips on self-promotion with Paul Stickland. 

Are you published, or, oh so very close to your big idea being taken up by a publisher and want to understand more about the fine art of self-promotion? Do you want to get into doing school visits, or ramp up your game on the school and library visits you are doing now? 

Network News: North West, Getting into a Routine

Steve in full flow
by Catherine Whitmore

I think we are ready to say that SCBWI North West really is up and running (quick - touch wood!).

Our first two events in January and March had a celebrity glow, with Steve Hartley, Melvyn Burgess and Nicola Morgan giving us the bums-on-seats factor. As importantly, our critique groups really began to take shape.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The Debut Author Series: Nicole Burstein

Nicky Schmidt

The Learning Curve - Insights from Debut Authors

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, 2 June 2015

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 2nd June

I'm not one to blow my own trumpet, but I achieved a long-standing ambition this week by joining the Notes from the Slushpile blog team! Do pop over and check out my post (once you've read the Blog Break, of course)

Monday, 1 June 2015

Philip Pullman talks about writing

Philip Pullman, Penelope Lively and Daniel Hahn
On May 13th, I took the bus over to Piccadilly Circus for a Society of Authors event that I had been looking forward to for quite a while: Philip Pullman in conversation with Daniel Hahn and Penelope Lively. It was an unusually well-balanced and fascinating discussion by three authors who obviously respected each other and their audience. Here are my notes of their discussion.