This is the third year I have completed Tara Lazarre’s StoryStorm Challenge to generate 30 new story ideas (one a day) in the month of January. Though Tara’s challenge is focused primarily on picture books, I use the month to generate ideas for board books, non-fiction, young fiction and even MG and the odd YA… Read More Evaluating Ideas after StoryStorm 2020
My StoryStorm month of idea generation. I’ve just finished StoryStorm, an annual challenge where participants pledge to write down a story idea a day for the month of January. There’s a daily blog post to inspire and lots of giveaways from mentors. I’ve always kept a notebook of ideas (on my iphone) and I’ve never… Read More StoryStorm 2018: How did I do?
Despite attending writing classes, which herald the benefits of properly planning a novel, I still dive straight in, ‘pantsing it,’ with only a broad three act overview and a couple of character portraits. Why? Because I’m enthused. I have the dramatic first few scenes in my head and I want to get them down on… Read More Six Reasons to Write a Story Map
Part 1. Places We’ve had lots of conversations in my critique group lately about how to describe places and people. So I thought I would check out how children’s greatest and best authors tackle it, starting with place… Here’s an extract from… His Dark Materials, by Phillip Pullman. Directly ahead of the ship a mountain… Read More How to write fantastic descriptive passages
Karl Iglesias in Writing for Emotional Impact, states we can experience three different types of emotion when we read books or watch movies. Voyeuristic emotions relate to our curiosity about new information, new worlds and the relationship between characters. In this mindset we are interested onlookers but perhaps not fully emotionally engaged. Vicarious emotions are… Read More How to evoke emotion in your readers?
Troyes and Avignon – a story maker’s delight In another life, had I been brave and worldly enough in my twenties and a lot freer than I am now, I would have been a travel journalist and photographer. I love exploring extraordinary places steeped in culture and history, the colours, the smells, the faces and… Read More Discovering inspirational story locations
A picture book writer’s tool kit is awesome, it’s why I write picture books. Playing with these techniques is great fun. Remember, picture books are meant to be read out loud. So go to town – bold and wacky is good. But remember the audience. Keep the concept and structure simple. And short! Rhyme There is… Read More Being creative with words. The picture book writers tool kit.
Part 1 – Structure and Layout Before we get creative let’s talk about structure and layout. Picture books are fairly formulaic. Most picture books have 32 pages of which around 24 pages make up the story. In theory up to 30 of the pages could be used for the story. There are also 24 page… Read More How to develop a picture book idea – structure and layout
So it’s Monday morning after the conference and my head is spinning with the volume of information I have scribbled in my notebook and the new contacts I have made this weekend. I am particularly excited about all the contacts. In the space of two days, I have found two fellow SCBWI members in my… Read More Feeling well and truly post conference SCBWI’ed!
What a lovely evening and it was great to put names to faces. I meet the illustrator of The Elephant Carnival, Briony May Smith, my editor Daisy at Walker Books, thank you for your encouragement and offer to look at more or my stories. I met Justine Roberts, the CEO of Mumsnet, Denise Johnstone-Burt from… Read More Book of Animal Stories Launch Party Highlights