Once a month I send out a newsletter – you’re probably being asked to sign up to it right now! Subscribing lets you win freebies. But if you’re allergic to email newsletters, no matter, here are some extracts from my August Newsletter. 

Are you’re missing the company of others? I’m an introvert at heart, quite happy with my own company, but even writers need to mix with others sometimes. One particular reason is to get feedback. So this month’s blog was all about the importance of getting feedback about your writing and how to go about finding this if you’re not already linked into support networks.

At the beginning of lockdown I also wrote a feature for Words and Pictures about using Zoom for feedback. We’d not really heard of Zoom back then; how things have changed!

In the blog, I warn against sending out your work to industry professionals too soon, so you might be interested in a previous post about how to hook an agent.

When I first moved to Edinburgh, and was at that point without an agent, I went along to an industry panel at the Edinburgh Book Festival which was all about what editors looked for in a children’s book. The write up for that is still available – in two parts – maybe there will be some gems in there for you.

In other news I also talked this month to former neighbour and prolific children’s book author Barbara Henderson about her creative process.

Last month’s recommended ‘how to write’ book was Stephen King’s On Writing. I mentioned then that the foreword stated: “This is a short book because most books about writing are filled with bullshit.” However, he did recommend only one book for writers, and this is it.
It’s a very short book; small, and fewer than 100 pages, but it is packed full of goodies. The first section is full of useful grammar tips; after that it talks about composition – for example active voice, concrete language; and then final section is an approach to style – don’t overwrite, don’t overstate, avoid fancy words etc etc. Definitely a book to keep by your side when you’re revising, and to dip into from time to time.
In case you’re wondering who EB White is – sounds familiar, right? – he wrote Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little. Amazing books for children which have stood the test of time (and he would have hated that cliche, incidentally).


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