Ten-Minute Blog Break - 14th July

Logo by Melany Pietersen
Welcome to another Blog Break, and I've got a diverse palette of subjects for you: dreams, prizes, Scottish language mash-ups, terrible picture books and tips to survive rejection. Pull up a cup of tea and let's get reading!

Is it better to stand out, or blend in? How can you reach your dreams even when life seems determined to stop you? Nicole Burstein answers these questions and many others, in a painfully honest interview about how hard work and persistence helped her to overcome the setbacks.

Try and try again is also the theme of Sara Grant's post for The Edge, all about Surviving Rejection. Her excellent advice includes a few surprising ideas, such as the thought that perhaps what you like reading isn't what you should be writing.

There are many benefits that winning a literary prize confers, but one of the most interesting is the chance to be on the panel for the following year. Piers Torday (blogging for Awfully Big Blog Adventure) talks about the challenges and pleasures of judging the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize for 2015.

It's great to see Notes from the Slushpile powering up again after a long sleep (something I'm pleased to have a hand in). The latest post is a fascinating conversation between Candy Gourlay and SCBWI member Moira McPartlin, discussing the evolution of language and the inventive ways that Moira uses it in her latest book Ways of the Doomed.

Finally, have you ever written a book that you thought was totally brilliant, but in hindsight turned out to be total rubbish? Of course you have, but you probably hid it in a drawer where no-one could see it (or use it against you). Bravo then to Kathy Evans, who shares The World’s Most Awful Picture Book with us.


Nick Cross is an Undiscovered Voices winner and has recently received the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award, for his short story The Last Typewriter.

Click here to read Nick's latest blog post for Notes from the Slushpile. His children's short story Hacking History can be found in issue 8 of Stew Magazine.


  1. Hey, if Harper Lee can publish her first drafts, I'm sure it's OK for you to do it ;-)

    1. Still horrified by the idea of publishing your first draft.

  2. Fantastic! I totally agree with Kathy and will endeavour to hunt down my old drafts hidden in 'very special places that only I know'...maybe...help! I can't remember where they are.

    1. Best to burn them, if there's a chance at all that someone might publish them!

  3. Moira and I thank you for the mention, Nick. It was another excuse to trot out my favourite John Green video and one of my favourite blog posts (written by me) about Scott Westerfeld's slang and teen vernacular keynote.


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