The Blog Break's Greatest Hits

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And so, the end is near. Actually, the end is here, because this is the very last instalment of the Ten-Minute Blog Break. After nearly 150 posts, it's time for me and Words & Pictures to do something new! Next week, I'll be introducing the excellent replacement for the Tuesday slot here on W&P, but for now, let's take ten minutes to look back at the best posts and most prolific contributors that made the Blog Break what it was.

But how to go about selecting just a handful of posts from the 800 plus that have graced these pages since March 2013? I wanted to be at least mildly scientific about it, so I employed RSS, some XML processing and a bit of scary Excel pivot table business, resulting in a certified top five rundown of Blog Break contributors. Cue the Top of the Pops music...

At Number Five: Sam Zuppardi with 22 appearances

This one surprised me, because Sam's illustrated posts are often so brief and elegant that they're easy to overlook. Therefore, I'm doubly glad that I featured him so often on the Blog Break and hope that he enjoyed lots of extra clicks because of it!

While searching Sam's blog, I found a post that he made before the Blog Break started, but which nevertheless is a great distillation of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making a successful illustrated book. Take a look at the post-it-tastic rough draft of Sam's debut picture book The Nowhere Box.

At Number Four: Sally Poyton and Space on the Bookshelf, tied with 24 appearances each

This is an interesting and appropriate result, given that Sally is one of the driving forces behind Space on the Bookshelf, along with Nicki Thornton and Claire McCauley. It's tough trying to blog on more than one site at the same time (believe me, I know!) so all credit to Sally for managing to do so much, especially when life and dyslexia sometimes got in the way.

The Space on the Bookshelf pick is an easy one because I conducted an in-depth interview with them last year on this very site.

For Sally, it was a little trickier to choose, especially as she's written such wonderfully honest blog posts about the highs and lows of publishing. But in the end, it's the creative work that counts, so enjoy this wonderful peek into her sketch books.

At Number Three:
KM Lockwood with 32 appearances

KM Lockwood (a.k.a. Philippa Francis) has been a regular blogger throughout the Blog Break's lifespan, and this - along with the thoughtful quality of her posts - is why she keeps cropping up.

Philippa is especially interested in world-building and is great at writing open-ended blog posts that use examples of other fictional worlds to trigger you to explore your own writing. In tribute to her great love of dressing up, this blog post examines how dress affects both the writer and their characters' mindset.

At Number Two: Sarah McIntyre with 40 appearances

This one won't come as much of a surprise! With several exhaustive posts on a range of subjects added every week, Sarah McIntyre is a blog round-up creator's dream! Whether she's sharing her latest illustrations, giving away creative secrets, reporting exhaustively on events or spearheading a campaign, Sarah's blog posts are as colourful, fun and passionate as the lady herself.

In fact, she's written so many engrossing posts that I thought choosing one would be an impossible task. But then I remembered this gem: the secret truth behind Sarah's seemingly endless productivity.

And at Number One: (drum roll)
Candy Gourlay with 43 appearances

The stats don't lie - Candy is our most prolific Blog Break contributor. She was blogging before I started this column and I'm sure she'll be blogging long into the future. But it's not just the quantity of blog posts that marks Candy out - everything she writes is worth reading, sharing and discussing. How on earth can I pick one blog post from that wealth of material? And the answer is that I can't - so here are five!

The first two tell the story of Candy's tortuous, fascinating and ultimately triumphant struggle to write her second novel Shine: This is a great recent post about diversity: Everything you ever wanted to know about how-to-write books: And finally, this one just has a brilliant title to go with the brilliant content:
Thank you, thank you, thank you to SCBWI-BI for all your blogs, your comments and your attention over the last three years. The Blog Break may be over, but I'm not going anywhere.


Nick Cross is an Undiscovered Voices winner and 2015 honours recipient of the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award for fiction.

Nick's most recent short story Todd Tempest Investigates can be found in issue 11 of Stew Magazine.


  1. Wow, thanks a million, Nick. I'm looking forward to the new plans but I have to say, the Ten Minute Blog Break is one of the things I have looked forward to every week -- I depend on it to tell me what blogs to read! Intensely curious about what you've got in store for us next!

  2. the end of an era, but hopefully leading to a whole new slew of riveting features Nick. Well done on this admirable achievement.

  3. So sorry to hear that Blog Break is ceasing to be, it has been a fantastic feature. Saying that i'm very excited to see what new features you clever W&P folks have up your sleeves! Thank you so much for you your support and including me and Space on Bookshelf on this very last BB!

  4. I'm chuffed to have squeaked into the top 5! blog break has always been a great friend to my blog and I've really appreciated that. It's also pointed the way to some really interesting blogs and posts over the years and for that I am also really grateful. Thanks so much for all the hard work Nick, it's been informative and entertaining, and I think you've earned a break yourself now. only 10 minutes mind, then I want to see what you're planning next :)

  5. Thanks for leading me to so many intersting and inspiring blogs. Can't believe this is the last ever! Cath

  6. Nick, you have been amazing.
    You are amazing!

  7. Thank you for all your blog breaking Nick. Thanks for including my blog, and for bringing my attention to so many interesting bloggers and posts. Best of luck with your next adventure!


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