Sunday, 31 January 2016

Roving Reporter

In Sarah Broadley's first episode in her new Roving Reporter series for Words & Pictures, she takes a peek through the keyhole at some suspect goings on...

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Small BIG Celebrations:Chitra Soundar, Charlotte Comley

Chitra Soundar has more good news to share. She was nominated for The Hindu Young World-Goodbooks Awards 2016. The first Indian awards to promote excellence in Indian children’s books, were presented on Friday. I am pleased to annouce that Chitra Soundar was on the short list for best picture book with her delighful story Farmer Falgu goes on a Trip.

Charlotte Comley won a 'one to one' session with agent Gillie Russell from Aitken Alexander Associates. Her feedback form from the SCBWI Conference 2015 was selected by the random number generator and a wonderful opportunity for advice on her work was the reward.

So make sure you get those feedback forms in next year!

Friday, 29 January 2016

Artwork Storage

How do illustrators store their artwork? It's an issue we all come up against, and it never gets any easier. The more we create, the more 'stuff' accumulates that we need to deal with. Never shy to face up to the less glamorous side of illustration, this week we take a look at what happens when the job is over and everything wrapped up.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Salmon Swimming In The Egmont River by Sarah Broadley - Part 2

Here is the second part of Sarah Broadley's account of her visit behind the scenes at publishing house, Egmont.

 Today we hear all about the design department and the production department.  

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Opening Lines welcomes back Penny Holroyde from Holroyde Cartey


What grabs the reader's attention? What immediately draws you in and makes you want to read on? 

We are lucky to be joined once again by Penny Holroyde from Holroyde Cartey.  Penny has taken time out of her busy schedule to offer professional feedback on the opening lines submitted by our brave SCBWIs.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The Blog Break's Greatest Hits

Logo by Melany Pietersen
And so, the end is near. Actually, the end is here, because this is the very last instalment of the Ten-Minute Blog Break. After nearly 150 posts, it's time for me and Words & Pictures to do something new! Next week, I'll be introducing the excellent replacement for the Tuesday slot here on W&P, but for now, let's take ten minutes to look back at the best posts and most prolific contributors that made the Blog Break what it was.

Monday, 25 January 2016

The Buzz: Six months of children's books

For Christmas this correspondent received a subscription to Publishers’ Weekly, the Bible of the publishing industry.  This week, they published their quarterly listing of all children’s books to be published in the U.S. between 1st February and 31 July 2016. It seemed like a good chance to look at trends and themes in a market that bought 226 million children's books last year.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Eric Heyman Small BIG Celebration

By Charlotte Comley

I was really pleased to have an illustrator get in touch for a change. Since I am a writer, I often forget the highs and lows our fellow illustrators have while seeking representation. So it’s a great pleasure to share Eric’s news.  I'm sure it won't be long before I will be posting more success stories for Eric.

Eric Heyman writes:

I sent my portfolio into Claire Cartey. She replied very quickly saying she thought I had great potential so we set up a meeting in London. I met Claire first and then Penny joined us, I was quite nervous, but they were so friendly and easy to talk to and made me feel at home so the meeting went very well. I thought things over on the weekend and then Claire sent the terms and conditions to me. This is so exciting. Finally I’ve been accepted as an illustrator and by Holroyde & Cartey.

Friday, 22 January 2016

The Perfect Work Day, by Jane Heinrichs

Applause for our new regular comic starting today, many thanks to Jane Heinrichs for The Perfect Work Day!


Jane Heinrichs is a Canadian born illustrator based in London.
Twitter: @janeheinrichs

Jane is posting a drawing a day on Instagram @janeheinrichs

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Salmon Swimming In The Egmont River by Sarah Broadley - Part 1

Over the next three weeks, Sarah Broadley takes us behind the scenes at publishing house, Egmont. 

Today we get to hear about the editorial department and the publishing department. 

Network News: Central West - Julienne Durber steps down

 by Marie Basting

Today in Network News, we’d like to say a huge thank you to SCBWI volunteer Julienne Durber. Julienne stepped down from his role, as joint Networks Organiser for the Central West Network, just before Christmas. He assures us, though that it’s au revoir rather than goodbye. We really hope so.

Working alongside Clare Bell, Julienne has taken the Central West Network from strength to strength. The popular critique groups in Birmingham proving exemplar and kick starting the careers of several SCBWI members. Generous in sharing his time and knowledge, Julienne will be missed by SCBWI members far beyond the Central West Network. Here’s a little bit more about Julienne and his role as a Networks Organiser.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Ten Proofreading Tips from #scbwicon15

Header courtesy of

Here are the Ten Proofreading Tips used as prompts for discussion at the SCBWI Conference Fringe session 

with added input from the Fringe participants – Thank you! 

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 19th January

Logo by Melany Pietersen
The creative profession suffered a couple of significant losses last week in the shape of David Bowie and Alan Rickman, sad deaths made sadder still by the fact that both seemed to have much work left to give (as this article about David Bowie's incredibly creative final months illustrates). But the reaction to their passing is also a reminder of the power of art to stir our memories and emotions.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Ask a Picture Book Editor

Harnessing Your Creativity

January is the time for clean starts, new writing journals and starting fresh endeavours. But what to write? 

This month’s blog is all about creative ways to get creative with your writing. Here you’ll find ten tip-top techniques you can use as a springboard to channel the story ideas that are lurking inside your head. 

NB - don’t forget the brain often works best under an amount of time pressure so set yourself a 10-15 minute window to try each of the techniques below. 

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Charlotte Comley's Small BIG Celebration

Charlotte Comley's Small Big Celebration is her joy at being nominated and winning the 10 Extraordinary League 2015.  

Good News for Miriam Halahmy

After more than a year of rejections and feeling rather dejected, my very first Middle Grade Book was taken by Alma Books in July 2015. The Emergency Zoo revealed an unknown story of WW2 when 750,000 domestic pets were put down as war broke out. When I first read this story in the news in 2014, I could hardly believe it and had to research to convince myself it was even true. I have come to realise that most people have never heard this story either.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Submission Frustration? How about Collaboration!

Picture book collaborations between writer and illustrator are often in the headlines recently. Some are more collaborative than others. But how exactly do writer/illustrator teams work?


Thursday, 14 January 2016

Q&A with Christina Banach on Plot and Structure

James Scott Bell's Book
Plot & Structure

Reams have been written on how to hook readers with stylish writing, vivid characters and believable dialogue, but the scaffolding of it all is plot and structure. 

Novelist Christina Banach, who’s offering an expert SCBWI workshop on this topic in Edinburgh next month, tells us why writer James Scott Bell’s guidance is some of the very best writers can use. 

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Writers' Minds - Marnie Riches

Illustrator - 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. 


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 12th January

Logo by Melany Pietersen
What is it about January? I'm feeling totally maxxed out with all the stuff I have to write and otherwise get done by the end of the month. And now there's a Blog Break to write too! Oh well, as Candy Gourlay once memorably said:
“Let's do it all. We're already tired anyway.”

Monday, 11 January 2016

The Buzz: Middle-Grade Fiction, With Agent Becky Bagnell

According to Publishers' Weekly, British children up to age 10 prefer reading to all pastimes! Children's books continue to buck the trend of declining book sales, and in the U.K., children's book sales have grown from 24% of print sales in 2004 to 35% in 2014.

An Interview with Becky Bagnell, Founder of Lindsay Literary, on Middle-Grade Fiction, by Larisa Villar Hauser

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Seize the year!

With every new diet and exercise fad kicking us in to a healthier 2016, how do you approach the re-shaping of your creative life?

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Congratulations Lu Hersey for getting in Deep Water!

By Charlotte Comley
One of the wonderful things about being the Celebration Editor is that you get a real insight into what happens after you achieve that publishing dream. Today, Lu Hersey shares her success story with us.

Lu Hersey writes:
Better Late then Never                                     

When you finally get a publishing deal, the time between signing the contract and the actual publication of the book can feel like EONS. During the long months (often over a year) of waiting time, you enviously watch news of other writers ahead of you, tweeting their book covers, getting all those accolades from the press and lovely congratulations from other writers – including you of course. Obviously you really want them to succeed and wish them all the best. But you start to wonder if it’s ever going to be your turn. Like, this side of death would be good…
Anyway, the publication and book launch of my debut novel, Deep Water, finally arrived this July – and I discovered that the seemingly endless wait was actually no time at all. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, so here’s a piece of advice for any new writers - BE PREPARED!

I wasn’t. I thought I was, but I really wasn’t. I mean, what did I do with all that time for goodness sake? Did I have blog pieces all written ready to go? Had I composed press releases for local press? Arranged a tour of bookshops to schmooze with booksellers? Had I buffalo.

Here’s a case in point – the Celebration page in Words & Pictures. I had every intention of writing a piece when Deep Water came out, saying how fabulous it all was. So now it’s December. Have I done it yet? Well actually, yes. This is kind of it – five months late.

But although the launch party champagne may have gone flat, here’s something different I’d like to celebrate instead. Deep Water has just been shortlisted for the Wirral Paperback of the Year Award

I’m over the moon about this, because it’s an award judged by school librarians and school kids. Who could be more important to a YA writer than their audience?

At a time of school library cutbacks in the Wirral (and across the country), the Award is a big jamboree organised on a voluntary basis by school librarians (these people are SUPERHEROES). It gives local teenagers from 15 different schools all round the Wirral Peninsula something to get involved with, meeting authors and reading books aimed at them, and getting to vote for their favourite.

Whether I win or not, I really don’t mind. Just the opportunity to meet the teen readers, and the librarians who care about kids’ books enough to organise this event and celebrate children’s literature, is enough. I’m truly honoured to be shortlisted. And I think it’s something to celebrate!

Friday, 8 January 2016

Featured Illustrator: Alina Surnaite

 For our first Featured Illustrator of 2016 we give a big welcome to Alina Surnaite. A native of Lithuania, Alina studied for an MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art and won the best portfolio at last year's Winchester Conference. 
See more examples of Alina's impressive work in the Featured Illustrator Gallery.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Network News: north east

The north east has two new Network Organizers. Marie-Claire and  Cathy. Here is what they say about their new role:  
Marie-Claire Imam-Gutierrez

I am looking forward to getting more involved in volunteering for the SCBWI. I have been a member for over two years now and regularly attend events in York organised by the lovely Maureen Lynas and participate in a monthly SCBWI critique group at the Seven Stories. I have also attended other conferences and retreats and know how important it is to meet other people in the industry and share experiences and knowledge, and would therefore love to contribute to the organisation of the NE network.

I have been writing YA sci-fi and fantasy for eight years. In 2013, I won a Northern Writers' Award and I was also longlisted for the Mslexia Women's Novel competition. This was reported on by Tania Tay on the fantastic Words and Pictures website. In August of last year, I was thrilled to be offered representation by Sue Armstrong at Conville and Walsh literary agency and am now preparing my manuscript ready to submit to publishers.

Currently, I am a primary school teacher in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and have often organised school events. I am computer literate and hope that I can bring the skills I use everyday as a leader of learning and classroom practitioner to this role. I work two days a week, so could dedicate plenty of time to SCBWI during my days off, evenings and weekends.

Cathy Brumby:

I have been a member of SCBWI for four years and started a Newcastle critique group two years ago. This has been a wonderful way of meeting like minded people, who are at various stages of their writing and illustrating career. 

I am Visitor Services Coordinator at Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children's Books so am immersed in the world of children's literature on a daily basis. It is wonderful to have a place of work that provides so much inspiration. I hope to be able to involve Seven Stories in future activities and events as part of my role of NE coordinator. 

Through work I have organised, facilitated and project managed events both at the museum and out at schools and nurseries. With fellow SCBWI member, Deb Court, I facilitate creative writing and illustration workshops in schools in the region to inspire children to make up stories of their own. I write a blog of illustrated nonsense stories and network through social media. 

The importance of an organisation like SCBWI cannot be underestimated when it comes to supporting emerging authors and illustrators. And indeed maintaining that support once published. (I know that I would find it much harder to write if it wasn't for the encouragement of my critique group.) I am so looking forward to being more involved in that supportive network and getting people together

#SCBWICON15 1-2-1s set Anna's heart a-flutter

The North West Crew

The drums, the drums! 

As a newbie to conference, there was one part of the weekend that I was looking forward to and dreading in equal measure. 

No, it wasn’t putting on my mermaid wig for the Pirate Party (that never happened in the end – Dolly Parton on a bad day before her makeup wasn’t what I was aiming for). Rather, it was the 1-2-1 with an agent or editor. 

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Debut Author Series: UPDATES

After the Debut

After the debut…

By Nicky Schmidt 

As a round up to a busy year and a half of Debut Author Interviews, I decided to find out what happened to our authors after that first thrilling experience of becoming a published author. 

Has it been all plain sailing or has it been a challenge? Have riches, success and glory followed? What lessons have been learned, what experience gained? I caught up with several authors to find out what life after the debut has been like. 

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 5th January

Logo by Melany Pietersen
A belated welcome to 2016 - may it bring you all that you want, plus a few good things you didn't know you wanted! The turn of the year is a time for both reflection and looking forward, and there's plenty of that going on in this week's SCBWI blog posts...

Monday, 4 January 2016

Debut Author Series: UPDATES

After the Debut

After the debut… By Nicky Schmidt 

As a round up to a busy year and a half of Debut Author Interviews, I decided to find out what happened to our authors after that first thrilling experience of becoming a published author. 

Has it been all plain sailing or has it been a challenge? Have riches, success and glory followed? What lessons have been learned, what experience gained? I caught up with several authors to find out what life after the debut has been like. 

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Jion Sheibani signs with Elinor Cooper

By Charlotte Comley

Our first good news for 2016 comes from Jion.

Jion recently signed with Elinor Cooper of Diamond Kahn and Woods (DKW) literary agency.

 Jion writes:
I heard the founders speak at the 2014 agents' party and loved the sound of the agency, but they weren't yet taking on author-illustrators. A year later I got an invitation to the same agents' party but this time saw Elinor had joined the agency and represented illustrators too. I couldn't go to the party but I submitted anyway and a few days later was signed by her!
So a big big thank you to SCBWI for organizing these wonderful events and also for all the amazing support and encouragement I've received from fellow Scoobies. I'm so grateful!

Thank you and best wishes