Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Opening Lines with Penny Holroyde from Holroyde Cartey


What grabs the reader's attention? What immediately draws you in and makes you want to read on? This month in our fantastic new series, Penny Holroyde from Holroyde Cartey,  offers feedback on the opening lines submitted by our brave SCBWIs. 

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 29th September

Logo by Melany Pietersen
Nothing seems to be clear-cut in the world of writing or illustration, and perhaps that grey area is what makes the creative arts so fascinating. As quickly as one person sets out a list of rules, another person breaks them. So who's right and who's wrong? Often, it's both and neither!

Monday, 28 September 2015

How ten words got a book contract

Take a place at the SCBWI conference 2014, an entry in the Ten Word Novel Pitching competition and a well-known children’s publisher as the judge. Mix them all together and what have you got?  A small but important chance for your story – the one you have slaved at for months in your writer’s garret and in which you believe so passionately – to reach the audience of bright-eyed and hopefully enthusiastic young readers you’ve written it for.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Roll up Roll up

Following on from last week, here are some notes from last year's SCBWI BI conference in Winchester, to whet your appetite for this year. As you will see from the names, the conference was jam-packed with writing prowess.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Featured Illustrator - Loretta Schauer

This months' Featured Illustrator is Loretta Schauer. Many will know that Loretta is a long standing volunteer for SCBWI and a familiar face at many a Conference and workshop. She's also a talented picture book illustrator. See more of her work in the Featured Illustrator Gallery.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

New (and not so new) Conference Goers Ahoy!

We are so excited about this year's conference -  we have many a first!
It's the first time we have an author-writer with an author-illustrator sharing the author keynote spot, first time we're piloting our own TV style talent show, first time we'll be dressing up as pirates for the party in honour of our illustrator keynote, first time we have an industry keynote

But perhaps, the most exciting firsts are those individual, life-changing firsts that only happened because writers and illustrators took the plunge, booked their conference place, their 121 and came ready to meet the fabulous SCBWI community. Here are some of those life changers...

Wednesday, 23 September 2015


Morag Caunt
AKA Morag Macrae

An interview with Morag Caunt AKA Morag Macrae 

By Nicky Schmidt 

It was nearly two years ago that I interviewed Morag Caunt (now published as Morag Macrae) for Words & Pictures. In the interview, More Than Words on a Page, Morag shared her passion for working with young people from difficult backgrounds. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 22nd September

Logo by Melany Pietersen
I've just about recovered from last Friday's SCBWI Agents' Party, which was as usual rather wonderful, rather frustrating (never enough time to talk to everyone, be they writers or agents) and completely overwhelming. Big thanks to the fantastic team who organised it!

Monday, 21 September 2015

Setting off

The Happiest Days of Your Life?

This month's theme is all about that Back-to-School feeling.  For me, that's all about a fresh start.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Conference countdown

Have you booked yet? Only two months to go until the 8th annual SCBWI-BI conference. I went along last year for the first time. I can hardly believe so much was squeezed in to the weekend. Here follows the first part of two summaries, from the notes I made at the time.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Congratulations to writer and illustrator Sue Eastland

Sue Eastland writes:

A Very Top Secret Mission is the first picture book that I have both authored and illustrated. Previously I have only illustrated picture books so it was both exciting and a challenge to write a story. 

Friday, 18 September 2015

Flying High with Flying Eye

For the most recent in our illustration Masterclass series, SCBWI was honoured to welcome one of the most original children's publishers in Britain today, Sam Arthur of Flying Eye and Nobrow Books. Shana Nieberg-Suschitzky was there.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Edinburgh International Book Festival Panel Asks: How to survive being published?

Speakers and delegates chatting after the event.
 L-R Katherine Lynas, Christina Banach,
Barbara Henderson

How indeed? 

Well, the industry panel at the SCBWI event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on 20 August certainly had a lot to say. 

The panel was diverse, ranging from recently published Christina Banach and established writers Nicola Morgan and Elizabeth Wein to veteran author Jane Yolen and Skylark Literary agent Amber Caraveo. Our own SE Scotland volunteer organisers Sheila Averbuch and M. Louise Kelly provided the introductions. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Proofreading Tips - Apostrophes

It’s autumn term. 

Let’s get back to school with… apostrophes! 

The tip for proofreading apostrophes is to use your Find function and examine every single one. And then search for every there, their and its – you may find you need a they’re or an it’s. As avid readers you all know how to use apostrophes. It’s the typing too fast that allows errors to creep in. 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 15th September

Logo by Melany Pietersen
I don't know about you, but I do my best thinking away from my desk. With a demanding full-time job, I have very little time (and energy) in my day to write, but that does also mean that I have long gaps in which I can come up with great ideas! But are we allowing our children the same space in which to be creative?

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Finding your voice

The thing I love about writing, is the exact same thing I love about reading. I'm lost in my own world. Truly, madly, deeply. There is nothing quite like that total gone-ness, of being held in complete safety. Then sometimes, as that same writer, you have to surface and meet the real world.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Network News: North-west – iconic buildings, critiques and self-publishing

Iconic buildings

We do get around in the north-west. This time we were in Salford at the Imperial War Museum North. We were given the red room, and we could easily see where it got its name from. The walls and the chairs were bright red.  
We were really well looked after by the museum staff. It was an interesting place to be, anyway, for children’s writers as there was a Horrible Histories exhibition on - the Blitzed Brits.
This building can be a little overwhelming but it was built deliberately to make you feel a little uncomfortable. Some of the light and sound shows can be very powerful. Well worth a visit.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Writers' Minds - Toby Forward

Illustration by Wizzy 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 I’m interviewing Toby Forward, who is a long established author, most recently, of the Flaxfield Quartet (Bloomsbury), the forth book in the series, Starborn, is available now. Toby writes for children of all ages, his picture books list titles such as The Christmas Mouse, The Wolf’s Story, and The First Day at School. His junior fiction spans the classical world of Peter Pan in Neverland, the Wyvern Quartet, illustrated by Michael Foreman, and non-fiction titles such as Shakespeare’s Globe. Toby also writes for adults and spent a year as the writer in residence at a prison in Yorkshire for the Arts Council of Great Britain. 

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 8th September

Logo by Melany Pietersen
I always feel a bit overexposed when I post the Blog Break the day after I've also featured on Notes from the Slushpile. Hopefully, you'll excuse more of my waffling when I'm talking all about this week's wonderful SCBWI blog posts!

Monday, 7 September 2015

Ask a Picture Book Editor

It’s All About You! The importance of self-promotion

This blog post is split into two sections and comes with tips and advice from Jessie Sullivan, Marketing and Publicity Officer at Little Tiger Press, and SCBWI member Mo O'Hara

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Results - Slush Pile Challenge July 2015

Ella Diamond Kahn, Bryony Woods and Elinor Cooper from DKW Literary Agency threw us all a challenge for the summer. 


We would like to see the first thousand words and a short blurb for novels aimed at 11+ readers with friendship as a central theme. 

It can be any genre, any setting, and any type of story, as long there is a really strong friendship theme explored throughout the book. Friendships are often overlooked in favour of more romantic relationships, particularly in fiction for teen readers, and we’d like to see friendships take centre stage once more.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Book Basics - Portfolios

If you're an illustrator attending this year's annual conference don't forget to take along your portfolio and sign up for a review! The Portfolio One-to-One Reviews are an excellent opportunity to get in-depth feedback from top industry professionals.  

But organising an illustration portfolio can be a daunting task for beginners and pros alike. What to include? What to exclude? How to present the material? Here are some guidelines.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Agents' Party. Q&A with Fiz Osborne of Plum Literary

© Lucy Hunter 

Ahead of the much anticipated, exclusive, member-only SCBWI BI annual Agents’ Party 2015 on Friday 18th September, Miriam Craig interviews Fiz Osborne about the exciting launch of Plum Literary.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

The Debut Author Series: Rachel McIntyre


The Learning Curve - Insights from Debut Authors 

by 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. 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 1st September

Logo by Melany Pietersen
The skies may be grey and miserable outside my window, but at least there are blogs to read! Enjoy another slice of cake and a selection of the best posts from our SCBWI-BI bloggers.