Tag: writer’s craft

Why kill your darlings?

Why kill your darlings?

[ 4 ] October 24, 2016 |

Few writing tasks are harder for me than rewriting my opening chapter. I end up stuck to my opening lines like a suction cup, afraid to break the book by reimagining how it might open. It’s where I’m least willing to kill my darlings, but I’ve realized why my first chapter, of all places, can’t […]

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Your story can make a great story

Your story can make a great story

[ 0 ] April 20, 2016 |

I shouldn’t be blogging when this is my only clear morning to work on novel revisions, but yesterday’s twitter pitch contest aimed at increasing the diversity in children’s literature has me thinking thoughts that are crowding out everything else. #DVpit, the brainchild of New York literary agent Beth Phelan, took over twitter yesterday, encouraging writers […]

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Plot, structure, death, death and more death

Plot, structure, death, death and more death

[ 0 ] February 21, 2016 |

I’m fixated on plot and structure at the moment – you may be, too, if you’re a writer tackling revisions on a work in progress or a NaNoWriMo draft from last year.

This year, for the first time, I’m editing a manuscript that I’ve left for a long, long rest. I wrote it more than a year ago. I’ve never let a first draft sit for so long before.

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How I got my agent and what nearly stopped me

How I got my agent and what nearly stopped me

[ 32 ] December 30, 2015 |

I’ve vacillated about whether to record this journey, as it may be the most personal thing I’ve written yet, but all things considered, I think it’s best to capture the story of how I signed with a literary agent, and the fear that almost stopped me.

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How to get the best from a critique

How to get the best from a critique

[ 6 ] October 1, 2014 |

Critiquing is never comfortable for a writer. Your ego and your dreams for the manuscript are on the line when you pass your work-in-progress to another person and ask for constructive feedback. But it’s a necessary evil – and, if you think about it, it’s not evil at all. Critiques are the route to making your story as clear and compelling as it can be. And that’s what you want, right?

‘Getting the best from critiques’” was the topic of our teach-in here at SCBWI Southeast Scotland on 27 September in Edinburgh. Click here to read the tips we swapped.

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Can 36 primary school children write a story together?

Can 36 primary school children write a story together?

[ 0 ] March 26, 2014 |

Our local primary school asked me to come in on World Book Day and work with nine classes, from ages 4 through 12, writing a whole-school story. Here’s what happened.

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Barry Cunningham’s tips on strong beginnings in children’s books

Barry Cunningham’s tips on strong beginnings in children’s books

[ 0 ] March 19, 2014 |

Here’s a summary of an exclusive Twitter chat hosted by SCBWI British Isles with Barry Cunningham of Chicken House, answering writers’ questions on what makes a strong chapter 1 in a children’s book.

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How to write strong dialogue in children’s books

How to write strong dialogue in children’s books

[ 6 ] February 17, 2014 |

Thanks again everybody for coming along to our SCBWI British Isles teach-in on 1 February at Edinburgh’s Central Library, looking at how to write strong dialogue in children’s books. Below are the collected tips shared by the group, and notice of Strong Beginnings: our first writer’s craft intensive on 29 March, hosted by Keith Gray. Read on!

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Review: Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce 2008

Review: Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce 2008

[ 0 ] February 11, 2013 |

I’m doing a grand tour of all the best writing in my own novel’s age range, and Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Walden Pond Press/Harper Collins Children’s) is my favourite so far. The story opens with 12-year-old Liam trapped in a rocket that’s spun out-of-control beyond earth orbit. It uses the well-established diary device to […]

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