Wednesday, 30 November 2016

#scbwicon16 Central East Network Conference Report - Last One!

#scbwicon16 Central East Network reporting team cover The Hook, Creating Villains with Cliff McNish, PULSE resources for school, and David Almond in our final post. Thank you to our wonderful reporters – we hope you’ve enjoyed reading and reliving the conference. Be sure to book early next year!

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

#scbwicon16 Conference SW Network Reports

Our lovely South West Network reports on #scbwicon16 The Mass Book Launch, Crystal Kite, Character Design – PB Development, Pitch Fright and Series Fiction. Re-live the conference – grab a cuppa and dive in… 

Monday, 28 November 2016

#SCBWICon16 Conference Report from the Wales Network: Developing Stories for TV

Developing Stories for TV with Roland Moore

By Zoë Thomas

Roland has worked in TV, radio, film and prose, with some of his children’s TV including Peter Rabbit, Mike the Knight and Waybuloo.  Our focus was to be on a very cool Jamaican (no, not Usain Bolt), who likes to ‘make a bad ting good!’ - but more about that later.

We started by highlighting the merits of both writing for an existing TV series and writing your own TV series. His advice… 
Double your chances by doing both! 

#SCBWICON16 Conference Report from the Wales Network: Picture Books and Illustrated Fiction

Picture Books and Illustrated Fiction

by Stephen Burgess 

I have a confession to make: I write children's fiction. I've spent six months telling this to family and friends as part of a commitment to nurture my writing in a more professional way. I also took the plunge and joined SCBWI. I then dived deeper and booked onto my first SCBWI conference. And so it was that I found myself seated, on a cold Winchester Saturday morning, with open notebook and poised pen, ready to experience my first SCBWI industry panel.  

#SCBWICON16 Conference Report from the Wales Network: Illustrator Keynote Speech and Q & A

Illustrator Keynote Speech and Q & A

By Zoë Thomas

Our guest speaker was Leigh Hodgkinson, who is clearly a non-stop, spinning top of ideas and has multiple projects on the go at all times, with more ideas buzzing around, vying for her attention. She admitted that ‘Everything excites me and I don’t want to lose time!’

Sunday, 27 November 2016


When a small group of four dedicated children’s writers gathered for its first SCBWI British Isles region meetings in 1996, they probably had no idea that it would grow into an organization of over 800 members, that it would organize over 30 yearly events plus a large national conference, or that the modest printed newsletter they initiated would turn into this fabulous blog. Little by little, volunteer by volunteer, we have built the most successful SCBWI international region, whose authors and illustrators are taken seriously by the British publishing industry.  


Saturday, 26 November 2016

#SCBWICON2016 The Friday Night Critique & Dinner, and Keynote Sarah Davies from North West Network

Friday Night Critique and Dinner by Susan Brownrigg 

The Friday night critique and dinner must be monstrous to organise, but yet again the SCBWI volunteers made sure everything ran really smoothly.

Both events are a fabulous opportunity to get to know new people, meet online pals in the real world and catch up with SCBWI friends.

Friday, 25 November 2016

#SCBWICON16 Report for Illustrators

This year's SCBWI Conference in Winchester had a particularly strong turn-out of illustrators! Here's a brief summary of the activities and prize winners.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

#SCBWICON16 The Party & Friday Fringe from SE Network

The Saturday Night Party
by Mahrukh McDonald

Smiles and laughter greeted us as we pushed open the door to St John's House for the annual Cracking Characters SCBWI Party. Just what we needed after trudging through the dark, wet and windy streets of Winchester. 

Happiness, fun and joie de vivre filled the room as people chatted and admired one another's costumes; Cat(s) in Hat(s), Room on the Broom witches, Dumbledore and other Harry Potter characters, Mad Hatters and Queens of Hearts and lots of other wonderful  characters form children's stories -  even the BFG came to the party.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

#SCBWICON16 Conference Report by M Louise Kelly from SE Network 1-2-1s & Lin Oliver

1-to-1 Reviews 

M Louise Kelly talks about the joys of having real-live industry professionals pore over your manuscript. 

Listening to a talk on what makes a good manuscript, with details of what features of writing and plot and character make for a good children’s book: that’s useful. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

#scbwicon16 Conference Report from the London Network - by Ruth Grearson & Camilla Chester

Ruth Grearson, winner of the Margaret Carey Scholarship Award tells us how attending the conference has impacted her writing life. If you saw Cliff McNish, re-live that amazingly practical workshop, but if you missed Creating Heroes - Ruth is here to tell you just how fantastic it was.

Camilla Chester covers the SPARK Nuts & Bolts of Self Publishing with Roxie Munro, Sarah Towle, Karen Inglis & Susan Price
Yay for Camilla! The SCBWI conference is run by volunteers and this year Camilla joined the team. So what is it like to volunteer at conference? on.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Thank You to Our SCBWI Conference Organisers!

The SCBWI 2016 conference in Winchester is over, and the participants wending their way home were met with brutal reality in the form of an M3 closure and rail replacement buses; but the happy afterglow persists and most of us took away a warm and fuzzy feeling after a weekend of inspiration, congratulation and friendships old and new with fellow writers and illustrators, speakers, editors, and agents.

A huge thank you to the organisers of this year’s conference!

Friday, 18 November 2016

Don't Panic!!!

There's a lot to look forward to at our annual Conference in Winchester,  the talks, the presentations, the workshops, the portfolio critiques,  the parties ... and, let us not forget, the competitions! Often illustrators find themselves in a last minute panic. What to take? What to wear? What deadlines are left... oh it's all too much.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Author Masterclass: What Do Editors Want?

I always look forward to the gems of knowledge to be gleaned from the fantastic SCBWI Masterclasses. Today was certainly no exception as leading the class was the vastly knowledgable (and lovely) editor, Rachel Wade of Hodder Children’s Books.

Network News: Southeast Scotland

By Gill James 
Anita Gallo and Sarah Broadley are the new Southeast Scotland coordinators. They answered a few questions for me recently.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Proofreading Tips: Gender and Jobs.

Think about your vocabulary as well as your spelling, your punctuation and your grammar. With the SCBWI BI conference fast approaching and full of cracking characters – what about any accompanying job titles? 

Monday, 14 November 2016

Ask a Picture Book Editor

Going beyond the book 

There's been a growing interest in post-modern or meta picture books where the physical book itself either becomes aware of its existence or knowingly influences the, often non-linear, story held in its pages. Sometimes it even becomes more than just a book.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Small Big Celebrations for Kathryn Evans and Kerry Trickett

By Charlotte Comley

I'm so excited to share the Small and BIG celebrations of some of our hard working SCBWI members!

Friday, 11 November 2016

Masterclass Report: Will Steele Workshop

8th October 2016 marked the final Illustrator Masterclass of the year, led by art director Will Steele from Usborne Publishing, and taking place at the House of Illustration in King's Cross, London. Melissa Rozario reports.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Network news: Southeast Scotland’s organisers move on.

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye from Southeast Scotland’s organisers.  By M. Louise Kelly and Sheila M. Averbuch

Lost and Found: What’s it like…Starting a Group Book Tour?

Interested in setting up your own book tour? Five debut SCBWI authors show us exactly how to do to it: Olivia Levez, author of The Island; Kathryn Evans – More of Me; Eugene Lambert – The Sign of One; Patrice Lawrence – Orangeboy; Sue Wallman – Lying About Last Summer.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Historical research methods by Miriam Halahmy

Do you write historical fiction? Or perhaps it’s something you have toyed with but you’re not quite sure where to start when it comes to research. But only historical or non-fiction needs research, right? Er… 

Fortunately, our wonderful SCBWI member Miriam Halahmy is here to cast light on the subject and give you the lowdown on her own historical research methods. 

Monday, 7 November 2016

Naming Your Characters

by Julie Sullivan @webwight

When I was a child, my mother seemed to be having a baby every year–we ended up with seven (I was the oldest). So baby names books were a staple in my house. I loved one in particular, which combined pictures of the most bonny babies you ever saw with etymologies and lots of names I never heard in school. Did you know Calvin comes from 'bald', Cameron means 'crooked nose', and Claudia means 'limping'? And that's just the C's! I was hooked for life on names.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Sarah Hill Scoops up an American Literary Prize

Sarah Hill
My children love animal stories, so it's with great delight that I share Sarah Hill's fabulous news. Sarah, a UK author, has scooped up an important international prize.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Featured Illustrator: Deborah Partington

This month's Featured artist is Cheshire based illustrator Deborah Partington. A winning contributor to the fabulous SCBWI Undiscovered Voices 2016 anthology, Deborah's work explores a wide range of characters, in techniques exploring hand-painted watercolour to digital. See more examples of her work in the Featured Illustrator Gallery.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

SCBWI's First Pulse Boot Camp

SCBWI authors Sara Grant (Chasing Danger), Mo O'Hara (My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish) and Candy Gourlay (Tall Story) organised a day-long Boot Camp for debut SCBWI authors, both indie and traditionally published. Sara spoke on marketing strategy, Mo on school visits and Candy on social media and the internet. The venue was kindly provided by Goldsmiths University. Here's a post-mortem with Candy and five of the 24 participants: Camilla ChesterElizabeth Ezra, Jo Franklin, Olivia Levez and David Robertson 

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

The debut author series with Alison Donald


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