16 Dec 2015

Looking Back and Looking Forward

What a year 2015 has been!  If I’m honest, when it started I’d hoped to be further on in my writing journey than I currently am, but that’s because my expectations were unrealistic not because I haven’t worked hard or achieved loads. The main thing I’ve learnt is that every step on a writing journey takes a LOT longer than you think.  When I look back to roughly a year ago – when…

12 Nov 2015

Incredible Images – Sharing Creativity

When you’re reading my blog (assuming you’re a semi-regular reader), how often do you notice the images I use? Great images for bloggers can be hard to come by, especially for free.  When I first started blogging I googled for them which isn’t the best idea with potential copyright issues.  To avoid that I sometimes take my own photos, although they not always as sharp as I’d like. Wherever possible though,…

29 Oct 2015

Series v. Standalone – The Power Of Joined-Up Thinking

Hunger Games, Divergent, Twilight, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Maze Runner. If you think about the most successful YA books in the last decade what do the majority of them have in common? They’re series.  So imagine my surprise when my GE editor, Nicki, told me in one of our Editorial surgeries that publishers aren’t keen on series at the moment! Eh?! A series gets around one of a publisher’s biggest…

14 Oct 2015

Once Upon A Time There Was A First Chapter…

You only get one chance to make a first impression, we’re told.  The importance of that first impression – first sentence, first paragraph, first page, first chapter – is impressed on us writers time after time.  A story must instantly hook the reader and reel them in, convincing them it’s worth sticking with this book in their hands.  While that’s true for all books, it’s even truer for Children’s and…

30 Sep 2015

Fun and Games with Agents

Once you’ve written the very best book you can, then the next hurdle to get over is agents (no offence, agents!).  I think/hope I’m nearing this hurdle!! I used to be under the impression that once you got an agent you were practically guaranteed a publishing deal.  When I first started writing I probably would have kissed the feet of any agent who offered to represent me.  I still will be…

16 Sep 2015

Me, BAFTA and the BBC

In terms of catching you up as to where I’m at currently, something else I did at the beginning of the summer was to write the script for the first episode of a CBBC-style series.  As you may remember, last year I did a short online course on “Writing Drama” with Oxford Uni and this idea was my assignment for that.  The BAFTA/Rocliffe Children’s Writing comp was coming round again (I hadn’t…

02 Sep 2015

What’s The Point?!

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t blogged for quite awhile!  The reason for that isn’t because nothing’s been happening or I haven’t had anything to say (as if!), but because I’ve been questioning the point of this blog. When I first started blogging 3 years ago here on my old blog, the plan was to share my writing/publishing journey with family, friends and anyone else who was interested. …

02 Jun 2015

Why I Write

Last week I crossed an important literary threshold – I went to the Hay Festival for the first time (twice)!  If you love books and ideas then there probably isn’t a better place on the planet to spend time. While there I went to Radio 3’s recording of “The Essay” – three writers talking about “Why I Write” (the title of George Orwell’s 1946 essay).  I confess I mostly went along…

07 May 2015

Go Fast or Go Far – Teamwork Part 1

I have a confession to make that will probably come back to bite me on the bum in the future:  I have always hated teamwork!  It’s just not my natural and preferred way of working.  I think it partly stems from cringeworthy school projects – I was a highly competent over-achiever (factual statement, not boasting, and not always the case anymore!) and often the other kids I had to work with…

23 Apr 2015

Hooking An Agent – Part 2

Considering how many hours a writer puts into a manuscript, most spend surprisingly few researching the right places to send that precious piece of work to. Of course the internet is bulging with potential agents, but the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook is considered the most authoritative place to begin the search (and they also run great courses to help with that, as mentioned last time). However, it’s not enough just to…