Writing Craft

Start Me Up: read the first page of Tobin, Bigfoot & Me like a writer
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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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FAQ #1: What does Writer and the Wolf mean?
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Hello, writerly friends! Welcome to a new series on the blog where I respond to some of my most frequently asked questions. If you have a question of your own,…

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Exploring kidlit subgenres: Supernatural horror
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Back in 2020 I wrote a blog post called ‘A guide to middle grade and YA genres and subgenres’ and to this day it remains my most popular blog post of all time! I wrote it because I know sometimes it can be really difficult to navigate literary genres and subgenres in general but especially in the kidlit space, partly because a lot of people tend to think ‘middle grade’ and ‘YA’ are genres in their own right (they’re not – they’re audiences) and partly because the uninitiated often assume children’s books are a monolith.

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How old are MG protagonists? An evolving cheat sheet
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One of the most common mistakes I see in clients’ manuscripts is a main character who is too young or old for the intended audience – middle-aged protagonists in YA,…

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Want to read more YA horror? Start here! 2022 edition
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Last year I published the blog post ‘Want to read more middle grade horror? Start here! 2021 edition‘ full of recommended kids’ titles in the genre and suggestions for where…

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Discovering middle grade and YA books in the library (when you don’t know what you’re looking for)
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If you’ve realised you need to step up your reading game, the library is a brilliant first port of call. I’m a MASSIVE library fan and I go at least…

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