Thursday, 29 September 2016

Event Report: The National Association of Writers’ Groups annual writing festival - NAWGfest 2016

Room with a view! – my home for the weekend.
‘On the weekend after the August Bank Holiday, both NAWG members and like-minded writers with a broad spectrum of abilities, get together for an exceptional weekend, focussed on improving their writing. 
It's a memorable weekend, which includes the use of: a fitness suite, a heated swimming pool, and workshops in state of the art classrooms. Meals created by a top chef and excellent en-suite facilities with showers.’ – NAWG committee. 

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Opening Lines with Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary

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

As part of the coverage and build up to this year’s SCBWI BI Conference in Winchester, we are super excited to have Sarah Davies from Greenhouse Literary on this month’s Opening Lines. 
Sarah is one of the fantastic keynotes at the conference and has taken time out of her busy schedule to offer professional feedback on the opening lines and pitches submitted by our lucky SCBWIs. 

Monday, 26 September 2016

What goes into the retelling of a folktale?

My grandmother and her sister told me innumerable stories from folklore, myth and movies from their times. I grew up on lentils, spices and stories. I’ve retold folktales orally and for print many times over.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Emma Perry - Winner of the April 2016 Picture Book Slush Pile Challenge

Image result for Emma Perry photos
Emma Perry
  Emma Perry entered our July 2016 Slush Pile Challenge set by Helen Mackenzie Smith from Bell Lomax Moreton. 

Emma won this challenge by demonstrating she was able to produce a picture book text that covered one of life's important issues (including, but not remotely limited to: being kind, being truthful, being considerate/polite, showing love, showing perseverance, etc) in a way that was funny, but not overly didactic or cute. The agent/judge was keen to have a 'filip' or twist at the end, but that wasn't compulsory! 

Emma tells us why she entered the competition and all about her experience of discussing her submission with Helen. 

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Good News for Jose Patterson

Acclaimed children’s author José Patterson's new story will hit home as readers follow the story of Sarah, a ten-year old immigrant making her way to America. José’s first novel, No Buts, Becky! was a runner up in the People’s Book Prize Award Competition and finalist in the Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards 2013.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Open Sketchbooks Autumn Selection (2)

  Presenting some more choice pages from illustrators' sketchbooks! SCBWI members roved far and wide over the summer - including the south of France, Tuscany, and Japan. For some of us it's our imaginations that roamed - characters and story ideas spilling from the ends of our pencils!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Making Schools Beg for More Author Visits (A Novice’s Guide)

School visits: love them or loathe them, they’re often a big part of our lives when a book needs a boost. Some authors feel their knees quaking at the thought of facing an assembly hall of potential hecklers and others love the challenge, leaping in full of confidence, with a whole heap of jokes up their sleeves and a bag of comedy noses and wigs. But this article is written from the other side of the fence, from the teachers’ point of view. What do schools really need from you? And are you ready and willing to provide it? 

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Proofreading Tips presents Fun With Words!

Here’s a miscellany of Word Fun, treat this as a warm up to a proofreading session.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Switched On

image by Isox4
On this day in 1879, The Blackpool Illuminations were switched on for the very first time. Eight brand new-fangled electric lights transformed the night-time beach into an artificial day. I find that quite inspiring - and I hope you will too.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Open Sketchbooks Autumn Selection (1)

Sketchbook of Paul Gauguin, 1894
It's rough and it's raw - time to once more peek inside the sketchbook pages of our illustrator members. It's been a warm and busy summer for many of us!!

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Writers' Minds with Joanna Nadin

Interview with @joannanadin
Image: 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 I have the joy of interviewing Joanna Nadin


Monday, 12 September 2016

Ask a Picture Book Editor

The View From the Art Director's Desk – A Visually-compelling and Highly-successful Picture Book

Think you know the story of Little Red Riding Hood? Well think again! This modern take on a traditional tale will have readers sitting up in their seats and laughing out loud! This month we talked to Scholastic picture book Art Director, Strawberrie Donnellyabout why she considers Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T Smith a smart, funny and highly-successful picture book.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Featured Illustrator: Gillian McClure

This month's Featured Illustrator is Cambridge based Gillian McClure. Not only a prolific picture book writer and illustrator, Gillian has hands-on experience of running her own publishing company and is a familiar face to SCBWI, regularly presenting workshops. See more of her work in her Featured Illustrator Gallery.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

What do Editors Look for in a Children’s Book?

“The work of an editor is incredibly creative and incredibly collaborative” 
For the third year running, SCBWI Southeast Scotland were delighted to be supported by the Edinburgh International Book Festival, enabling us to run a free event for members at this amazing venue. SE Scotland co-ordinators Louise Kelly and Sheila Averbuch worked hard in the months leading up to August to assemble a top cast for the sell-out event. Caroline Deacon has written this excellent report which will run over the next two weeks. 

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

The Debut Author Series - Peter Bunzl

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. 

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Pictures STILL Mean Business – an Update

Nick Cross writes:
It’s now 18 months since writer/illustrators Sarah McIntyre and James Mayhew got together to begin the #PicturesMeanBusiness campaign. It’s a crusade that seeks to give more exposure and credit to illustrators working throughout the publishing chain, from cover designers to full-blown co-authors of illustrated books. After picking up support across the industry, Sarah McIntyre has become the driving force of the campaign and earned herself a place in The Bookseller’s list of Rising Stars of 2016.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Results - Slush Pile Challenge - July 2016

Felicity Trewliterary agent at Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency set this challenge.

I’d love to see a brief synopsis and first chapter of a fantasy novel to appeal to 9-12 year olds. It must have wonderful characters whose adventure we want to follow; it must be set in a world with its own habitat and rules. Think The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. It could be high fantasy that takes itself very seriously; it could be light with humour. All I ask is that you feed my need. (Or if you're not a fantasist just tickle my humour with anything funny).  

Saturday, 3 September 2016

A Testament to SCBWI

by Chitra Soundar
I’m celebrating this September and October, with the publishing of two new books. You wait for ages and two comes one after the other. Buses and books have something in common then, especially the elusive Bus #47 that goes past my flat.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Top Tips for the SCBWI Conference Newbie of 2016

By Candy Gourlay

Are you a newbie SCBWI about to attend your first conference? Terrified? Nervous? Hopeful? All of the above? Here's a nostalgic and instructional review of how you can make the conference a turning point for your career, as it was for mine.