Ten-Minute Blog Break - 15th December

Logo by Melany Pietersen
There were an unprecedented number of great blog posts this week, to the extent that I've had to move a couple of them into next week's Blog Break!

Instead of decking the halls, is the run up to Christmas actually about clearing the decks?

The blog post that most caught my eye this week was by Leila Rasheed, who is behind the Megaphone scheme for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic writers that was featured on Words & Pictures last week. Leila has followed up with an instructive and fascinating post for the Megaphone blog about how white writers (like me!) can include more diverse characters in their writing.

At Nick Cook's recent launch for his second novel Breaking Storm, he spoke passionately about the narrowing of aspirations for today's generation. I'm pleased that he's now written about it in a blog post, exploring the question of why no-one wants to be an astronaut anymore, and if that's about to change.

Try not to be too jealous, because Sheila Averbuch (as well as winning nearly everything at the SCBWI conference) has now been on an amazing writing retreat in California. But rather than just sharing her holiday snaps on Facebook, Sheila has written a post delving into the unusual critique structure of the weekend and how it's helped sharpen her story.

When Kathy Evans proposed writing a blog post about the Christmas advert wars for Notes from the Slushpile, I thought it was a great idea. But Kathy's taken the idea further in her finished post, applying story structure to the Christmas shopping TV ads, showing which ones work and more importantly, why.

K.M. Lockwood is looking at something similar, namely why some stories engage her as a reader while others leave her cold. What makes us care about characters and how can they be made as real as possible?

Finally, as a follow-up to David Thorpe's post last week, I enjoyed Claire Watts' penetrating analysis of Lynne Reid Banks' comments about the Guardian Children's Book Prize, and what that means for kid lit awards in general.


Nick Cross is an Undiscovered Voices winner and this year 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.

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