Ten-Minute Blog Break - 7th October

I'm not keen on doing research because I just want to get to the writing, even if that subsequently involves staring at a blank screen for hours! But the Blog Break forces me to do my research, because otherwise, what would I write about?

Hopefully, you read Sue Hyams' excellent W&P post last week all about research, and she's not the only SCBWI writer thinking about the subject. Dave Cousins turns in his own fascinating blog post for The Edge, taking us inside his unusual research methods (weather diaries anyone?) And I also have to give a mention to Mark Jones, who is getting very excited about drawing maps.

There's more useful stuff in the blog post Sheila Averbuch has written, summarising SCBWI SE Scotland's session on getting the best from a critique. Critique can be hard for any writer, so do yourself a favour and learn some new coping strategies from Shelia's post.

Sadly, my dream job of ice-cream-powered spaceship pilot has yet to come up, but fortunately Layn Marlow is having more luck. Not with dairy-propelled interstellar vehicles, but rather a job illustrating the website of much-loved author Dick King Smith. Layn blogs about the opportunity and shares some of her sketches.

It's great to welcome Jane McLoughlin back to the Blog Break with her brand new blog, after what she describes as "a major Blogger mishap involving malware and dodgy addresses and other befuddling and frightening things". Jane picks up the TGFW (Thank God For Writing) baton that I mentioned a few months back and talks about the power (and pitfalls) of escaping into your own imaginary world.

After all that reading, here's a post that's mostly pictures! Candy Gourlay is just back from an incredible school tour on behalf of the Siobhan Dowd Trust and Authors for the Philippines, and she shares her vivid experiences.

There have been so many great posts this week that I've gone way over my self-imposed five link limit. But I just loved Vanessa Harbour's sage advice on redrafting and the marvelous title of her post: Are you STILL writing that book?


A SCBWI member since 2009, Nick Cross is an Undiscovered Voices winner who currently writes children's short fiction for Stew Magazine (September issue out now).

Nick's most recent blog post takes a look back at a year of Stew Magazine stories and teases out the common threads that bind them. What's the Story?


  1. Ooh Nick thanks for including my blog about critiquing! I'm off to read the others mentioned above. BTW Have you read Cakes in Space? Not ice-cream powered, but close!

    1. I loved Cakes in Space - one of those ideas I wish I'd had myself!

  2. Thanks for the great welcome back! Sterling, helpful and inspiritng lineup this week, too!

  3. A grand collection Nick, thanks for including mine. It took a whole pot of tea and quite a few ten minutes to read them all, but well worth it!

  4. A great collection Nick. Completely agree with Vanessa about those annoying questions!


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