'Be nice to people. Make friends.'

Writing is not fun; especially when that crucial opening line, that springboard into insight and revelation, that door to the imagination, that snowboard down the mountain of possibilities, totally eludes you.

Last week's post was prophetic, of the self fulfilling kind: beginnings are trouble.

That's the problem. There are too many possibilities. You just need a great start heading in the right direction. This week, Bekki Hill  said make sure you're working on the right project that, in itself fills me with angst, but, oh joy, how do you tell if it's the right project is is it something you want to do? Simple.

Among the mass of possibility, the route is usually very simple. Think snowboard - mountain. ( I am not a snowboarder so that may be an oversimplification but it works in my head.) On Tuesday, I heard Megan Farr and Sarah Mussi from Hot Key Books on How to write a children’s book that editors know they can market. The answer, as Sara 'slasher' ( big clue there) O'Connor says, is 'just write something amazing'.  Every week Nick Cross finds SCBWI bloggers who write something amazing and it was a joy to celebrate with him on his own short story amazingness in Stew Magazine, the classy new print mag for 8-12s. How wonderful to be in at the beginning!

Often it's not one mad hurtle, we just need a guide and on Friday, Paul Morton did a fabulous job of guiding illustrators through a befuddling mass of portfolio sites and online platforms.  For 'guide' read 'friend' and whether online or in the real world that's what SCBWI is and the best resolution I've read this year sums SCBWI up. It's Gill James's 'Be nice to people. Make friends.' Amen to that!

SCBWI has some lovely friends too, if you're writing for 7-9s just check out this brilliant prize from Clare Whitston, Acting Commisioning Editor for Children's Fiction at OUP,  for January's Slush Pile Challenge. You have two weeks!

Slush Pile Challenge 
closing date: 2nd February 2014

Next week, with The Blog Break, Network News and Celebrations there's:
  • a double whammy on Monday from Social Sheila Averbuch on Hootsuite and Philippa Francis reviewing a fab exhibition in Chichester
  • teacher and author, Celia Anderson is here on Wednesday with her wonderful year five class and their reading resolutions for 2014
  • in fact it's a double whammy from Philippa this week with some inspiration for the  illustrators too on Friday

Am I there yet? Ooh yes and here comes the snowboard!

So that's it. I have a WIP to finish buffing up. I'm going to send it to somebody tomorrow.
Wish me luck,

Jan Carr

Jan Carr is the editor of Words & Pictures. Her fiction is older middle grade, she blogs occasionally and loves to write in magenta. You can contact her at editor@britishscbwi.org.


  1. Good luck Jan! Fingers crossed for you :)

  2. Thank you Katrina and Lorraine xx

  3. Thank you Nick and Sue. It's gone.
    Now the waiting.

  4. Just saw the actual magazine of Awesome that featured Nick Cross's awesome short story. Wow! It's beautifully designed!

    1. Thanks, Candy - that was a lot of awesome :-)

    2. Stew looks fabulous Nick - this has to be a good move


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