Writing Craft

Lessons from picture books: Cake by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet
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Sometimes, even though they’re aimed at a completely different age group, picture books contain perfect, concise little examples of storytelling techniques that we can apply to middle grade and YA. Luckily, I get through a heck of a lot of picture books at home: my husband and I read Caeden three books a night at bedtime plus we go to the library at least once a week (we currently have about 60 books on loan 😬) so I often come across lovely demonstrations of writing craft and get super excited mid-story. 

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FAQ: What makes you qualified to edit my book?
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This is a great question and a super important one to ask about any editor you’re thinking of working with. Currently in the UK there is no official accreditation for…

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Start a book club for kidlit writers
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You’ve heard of reading like a writer (because I talk about it all the time). Now it’s time to book club like a writer! In the mid-nineties, ‘Book Club’ to…

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5 simple ways to tell if a book’s MG or YA without opening it
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Wondering how to tell if a book is YA or middle grade just from a quick glance? When you pick up a book, say at the library or in a…

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Start me up: Read the first page of Last One To Die like an editor
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This is part of Start me up: Mark-up on successful novel openings, a blog series designed to help you read like an editor. I’ll analyse the first pages of some…

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Start Me Up: read the first page of Tobin, Bigfoot & Me like an editor
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By now you all KNOW I’m really passionate about the importance of not just reading for authors (although yes, do read! Read lots!) but also reading analytically and with purpose: something I’ve started calling ‘rabbit hole reading’.  It’s brilliant to simply let yourself get totally immersed and enjoy a novel – that’s a really important experience for writers – but you’ll get so much more value from a story if you let yourself go down a rabbit hole when you read. Analyse the plot, the structure, the characters. Ask yourself why the author made the choices they did. Make notes. Annotate. Discuss it with other people. Even mine the acknowledgements page for the names of agents, editors and publishers involved and learn about that author’s writing and publishing process.

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May Wrap-up: A month in the life of a kidlit editor
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I just got back from a long bank holiday weekend in Devon and it was totally lovely. Not relaxing, obviously, since I have a five year old but it was super fun and just nice to be somewhere different – especially after having Covid earlier this month and not being able to leave the house. We stayed in a little cottage near the sea and spent lots of time walking, making sandcastles, doing treasure hunts, going on rollercoasters (Caeden and Steve, not me) and eating scones in the scorching sun. 

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FAQ #2: Do you offer sample edits?
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The short answer: not exactly! Sample edits are a great way for editors, particularly copyeditors, to show you their approach and way of working before you make a decision to…

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April Wrap-up: A month in the life of a kidlit editor
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Life and work April was another ridiculously busy month for me but I’m not complaining. During the easter holidays I spent a few days in a villa in Menorca with…

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March wrap-up: A month in the life of a kidlit editor
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Life and work This month has flown by! I’ve been kept busy with a Monster Critique of a lovely graphic novel, a Plot Check-up on a really original animal fantasy…

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