hello again!

waving frog

Hi everyone, I hope all is well with you and that you have been very productive in your writing endeavours.  I realise it’s been a little while since I posted on here and apologies for the absence.  Sometimes I guess life just takes over and then, before you know it, the summer has gone and you’re sitting inside whilst it’s already pitch black outside and the rain has been falling all day!

I would love to catch up and hear any news from my fellow online writers.  For my part the summer has been a good one and I have been lucky enough to participate in a number of writing events, the highlight being a week’s Novel Writing course at Moniack Mohr near Inverness with Jess Richards and Rachel Seiffert as tutors.  What a luxury just to have the time and space to write, and what a fantastic venue and setting.  (I’m already planning a return visit next year!)

It’s here that I was able to spend more time on Sunk!, which is a YA novel that I started in the Spring, and which I am quite excited by.  It has taken me on a fantastic journey so far and, even though I think I know what’s coming next, I fully expect to hit a few surprises along the way.  I’m afraid that this has also been the main reason for my absence on the blog as, when I get a spare second to write, it seems to demand my attention.  I do plan to try and check in a little more often though and share/discuss all matters writing with people who I know similarly love the whole process.

I have now become a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and am looking forward to finding out more about the world of children’s books and meeting fellow children’s writers.  One such opportunity was a Book Bound Seminar run by Karen Ball, Sara Grant, Sara O’Connor and Jasmine Richards which a number of the SCBWIs attended and which was a really useful and fun day.

The next big push however is to write some entries for the Scottish Association of Writers annual conference in March, so I don’t see things slowing down any time soon.  But then, where would the fun be in that? ;)

So that’s me.  Hello again and hopefully it won’t be so long till the next time!

Posted in Creative Writing, Events for Writers in Scotland, Online writing community, Writing, Writing Blogs, Writing For Children and Young Adults | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

How To Be The Boss Of Your Creative Life

Originally posted on Carly Watters, Literary Agent:

googleimages2Has everyone heard of impostor syndrome?

It’s that feeling we’ve all experienced where, despite our accomplishments, we’re unable to feel like we’ve earned our spot. Like we’re a creative imposter and someone is going to find out we don’t belong.

I don’t know any creative person who has never internalized this feeling.

But the truth is: we’ve all earned our spots, because the only opinion that matters is yours. So shake off those insecurities and learn to be the boss of your creative life.


  • You are your harshest critic. Don’t beat yourself up. Treat yourself like you’d treat any other critique partner.
  • If you don’t respect your writing time, no one else will. Make those quiet moments count.
  • You decide what your idea of success is. Don’t let anyone tell you who you should be.
  • If you want to write for you, that’s okay. Getting published doesn’t define a writer. 
  • Give…

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Life’s a Pitch – Alexandra Sokoloff


Some useful observations for writers who want to stand out from the crowd, by somebody I have been lucky enough to hear speak in person.

Originally posted on Professional editorial and mentoring services:


I’m often asked to speak to groups and classes of aspiring writers, and recently I was speaking to a college writing class, and I realized something that I’ve known for a long time, but I’ve never actually put into words.

Life is a constant pitch meeting.

There were a few dozen kids in this advanced class. Okay, not all kids! I talked for about forty-five minutes, my whole story of breaking into the film business as a screenwriter and then moving on to write novels, all the usual, and for the rest of the two-hour class I was just taking questions.

Out of the whole class, only five of the students asked questions, although more did answer when I asked them questions to draw them out. And out of those, only two people voluntarily told me what they were working on, in detail. And those were two out of the…

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David Fickling Books submission window coming up!

Originally posted on Lou Treleaven:

I was delighted to read in a Writing Magazine tweet this week that the publisher David Fickling Books – until recently featured on my list of publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts – is opening its doors to unagented writers for two weeks in May, and it looks like this could be a regular occurrence.

The submissions window is taking the form of a competition called ‘Master of the Inkpot’ (shades of Terry Pratchett or JK Rowling there). Every submission will be read and a shortlist drawn up. The top five will be featured on the website and the winner invited in with a view to publication.

Guidelines for entry are very exact so check and double check the requirements. Picture book submissions should, unusually, include illustrations. Any reading age is considered including adult. And luckily for me, they are happy to reconsider material previously sent if it has been reworked (I’m…

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Here’s a fantastic list of current writing competitions in a wide variety of genres. Good luck to all entering!


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Black & White: The Thorny Question of Diversity


Interesting post on the need for diversity in children’s writing.

Originally posted on Louise Jordan - Queen Bee:

A couple of weeks ago I attended an afternoon discussion forum run by Beth Cox and Alex Strick of Inclusive Minds (www.inclusiveminds.com). Publishers, book sellers, librarians and teachers gathered at 29b Montague Street (home of The Publishers Association) to discuss the thorny issue of diversity and inclusion in children’s books.

Look around you. Our society is hugely diverse and, in my opinion, books for children should reflect the world in which we all live. I’m not just talking about ethnicity – the term ‘diversity’ encompasses race and heritage, disability, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, religion, and culture.

The hero in our first title Geronimo, The Dog Who Thinks He’s a Cat was originally called Angus. He was white, middle class and probably lived an idyllic life, in a huge house, in the middle of the country somewhere. I doubt he’d ever seen a black person and…

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Scottish Association of Writers Conference 2015


I’m pleased to share a blog post from a fellow attendee at the Scottish Association of Writers Conference last weekend, where I was delighted to be awarded a highly commended for my poem, ‘Anonymous’.

Originally posted on Put it in Writing:

It’s fine to be indie and judging a book by its cover…

Seizing the Day and Getting Our Work Out There seemed to me to be the main themes of the above conference held on 27th to 29th March 2015. It was also the year that conference finally and fully embraced going indie as a legitimate and positive choice as a route to publication.

As writers, most of us can also be expert procrastinators. We allow self doubt, the rejection and criticism of others, the difficulties of getting published traditionally, the effort required to self-publish, the muse being away on leave, the dust on the shelves, the ironing in the pile, the worms in the dog – anything – to get in the way of just getting on with the job. We get distracted. We get discouraged. We get lonely. But writers groups, clubs and conferences – online and in…

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3 Great Things about a First Draft


Nice little reminder as I hit chapter 5 of second book…..

Originally posted on Carly Watters, Literary Agent:

It’s easy to lament about first drafts. The blank page is one of the hardest things for writers. So let’s take a spin on first drafts and think about the great parts of writing your story the first time around. Because there are a lot! You’ve got a world in your head that demands to see the light of day.

1. Inspiration is still there. No matter where that first draft takes you it’s easier to plug into where the idea came from. It’s like an energy source full of power that you can tap into. You can go back to the originating idea or outline and remember why this story needs to be told.

2. It can still go in different directions. Like an infant, you don’t know what it’s going to be when it grows up and that can be liberating. There are no mistakes because there…

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Women and Science Festivals


I’ve been to an event with Emily before and if you’re in the area it would be well worth a visit!

Originally posted on auntyemily:


I’m excited to be taking part in Dundee’s Women in Science Festival this month. The festival is all about celebrating and supporting women in science engineering and maths. I’m also off to Dunbar Science Festival this Friday on a similar theme – it’s a science spoken word night to celebrate international women’s day.

I’m doing seven events in total – for schools, families, mothers and other adults too. There’s a science poetry writing workshop and some spoken word and comedy shows. Men are also very welcome!

Here’s a wee summary of what’s coming up with links to get tickets, hope to see you at an event soon!

Wednesday 11th March: Can’t-Dance-Cameron school events


Hillside Primary School, Dundee. Part of Dundee Women in Science Festival.

Friday 13th March: Rally and Broad, Dunbar Science Festival


Rally & Broad are delighted to be coming to Dunbar Science Festival on Friday 13 March (8:30 – 10:30pm, Dunmuir Hotel, Dunbar)! We’ll be celebrating ‘Women in…

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All About Agents…


Looks like a great event for anyone that can get to Glasgow next week…..

Originally posted on Scottish Writers' Centre:

Tuesday 3rd March 2015; 6.30pm to 8.30pm,
CCA Club Room, Glasgow:

Scottish Book Trust Writing Seminars: All About Agents

March 3rd

The Scottish Book Trust Writing Seminars are aimed at writers with an interest in publication; they offer advice from industry experts on various aspects of the process.

This seminar will explain the role of a literary agent and give practical advice for obtaining an agent; the panel will include Lucy Juckes (Literary Agent at Jenny Brown Associates), Alex Bowler (Editorial Director at Jonathan Cape), and Lucy Luck (Literary Agent at Lucy Luck Associates). There will also be opportunity for pre-selected writers to receive feedback on their work.

For more information, and to make a booking, please visit the Scottish Book Trust’s webpage or contact claire.marchant-collier@scottishbooktrust.com.

Tickets: £2. Free to SWC members.

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