It’s all About Audience in Central North

 Liz Miller

We’ve had a busy few months in Central North. Lincoln Inspired  has been and gone but is not forgotten. It was every bit as enjoyable and inspirational as we had hoped. Addy Farmer blogged here about the SCBWI events and the importance and delights of communing with your fellow writers and illustrators.

Addy Farmer busy plotting!
Addy combined communing with teaching when she ran a workshop on plotting in an extension to one of our monthly critique sessions.

Central North member, Debbie Holt reports: Addy helped us to get right to the heart of our favourite stories by asking us to think about what makes our favourite characters behave the way they do. We all agreed that the most interesting ones are on some kind of journey and, of course, something or someone tries to hold our heroes back and throw obstacles in their way. We considered our own works in progress and Addy gave us examples and before we knew it we were ripping apart our favourite novels and films to expose their plots. We all left inspired and with a deeper understanding of how essential a good plot is to every story.

Communing and teaching 

Communing with your audience of course is immensely important and a lot of fun as Sam Hawksmoor has been finding out. Regular readers of Words and Pictures will know that Sam has been dashing about the country meeting lots of his fans and readers of his YA thriller The Repossession. His fellow Central Northerners are delighted that Sam has collected so many accolades (and new fans!) on his travels – Joint Winner with Jon Mayhew of The Wirral Paperback of the Year, Bronze Winner of the Amazing Book Award in Sussex and a finalist for the Leeds Book Award. We’re sure that the sequel The Hunting will prove just as popular and successful.

Keeping your audience on tenterhooks 

Suzanne knows something
but she's not telling us!

Keeping your audience on tenterhooks is one of Suzanne Afford’s many skills. Suzanne writes breath taking YA fiction and always knows how her stories end but, by her own admission, can be distracted when a new story idea takes over. Earlier this year, Suzanne sought advice on Creative Writing MA courses from the SCBWI Facebook group. This lovely supportive community duly advised and Suzanne has been accepted onto Manchester Metropolitan’s MA in Creative Writing. We’re thrilled for Suzanne not only because she deserves it but because we’re hoping they’ll tease out one of her endings for us to share!

Join us in the Central North 

If you’d like to commune with us in Central North or would like any other information about our group and meetings please contact Gill Hutchison and Addy Farmer at centralnorthATbritishscbwiDOTorg

Liz Miller writes picture books and joined SCBWI in 2010. She has a penchant for volunteering which has led to her being joint moderator of the SCBWI e-critique group PictureBook Too, co-founder of the Early Readers e-critique group and a reading volunteer in local schools. She knows she should sit on her hands when volunteering opportunities arise but life would be less varied and she can’t write with her nose.


  1. Well done Liz Miller. If this doesn't get our local writers and illustrators interested in our group, nothing will.

    1. Thanks Gill, it's always lovely to welcome new members but we might need to ask Debbie for a bigger table soon!

  2. If only we could shrink British Isles and step over to each other's networks! Central North sounds like fun.

    1. We do have a lot of fun Lesley. As I'm very much in the Central part I've been lucky to be able to occasionally step over into other networks but yes it's a bit of hike from lots of places!

  3. Thank you Liz - great news!
    Hearing what other people are doing inspires me.


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