Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Submitting a Manuscript

In my albeit limited career as a full-time writer, I have learnt a few things that I thought I would like to share with you all today. These I have gleaned from personal experience, reading the many books on writing that adorn my bookshelves and from the various courses I have attended and I must admit I am a bit of a writing course junky.

So here is my list of what to do and what not to do when submitting a manuscript. Whether it is to publishers or agents, I believe the same rules apply. I hope you find them useful.

DO

  • Be professional at all times.
  • Learn what you can do to make the editor's job easier.
  • Do your homework.
  • Find out what the editor you are submitting to wants.
  • Let the writing speak for itself.
  • Be willing to work with the editor on requested changes.
  • Always include a SAE large enough and with correct postage to return the manuscript.
  • If an editor goes to the trouble of saying something to you, take it very seriously.
  • Use Paper clips or elastic bands.


DON'T

  • Don't put extra spaces between the paragraphs set them off by indenting at the beginning of each paragraph instead.
  • Don't put the creation date on the manuscript, a rights-offered statement, or the Copyright notice.
  • Don't bind or staple your manuscript.
  • Don't use ring binders, clamp binders, comb binders, brads, string, or anything else, which can't be easily removed.
  • Don't send a letter-sized envelope if you expect to get your manuscript back.
  • Don't attempt to draw attention to your manuscript by using coloured ink or coloured paper.
  • Don't use a fancy font.
  • Don't put each page of the manuscript in sheet protectors.
  • Don't try to write a ‘memorable’ submission letter.
  • Don't be cute. Your manuscript is key, not the frills.
  • Don't paste pages together, or turn a page upside down, or use any other clever device to find out if the editor has read the manuscript all the way through. Editors have seen these things over and over again.
  • Don't miss your deadline, even if the editor says it's OK. When an editor gives you a deadline, it means money is involved.
  • Don't be afraid to call your editor or agent to talk about questions or problems concerning business. That's what they're there for.
  • Don't take advantage. Remember editors try to be nice and usually understate things.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Little More About Me


Giving up full-time teaching to become a freelance writer in 2002 was not that hard a transition. Many things happened that helped me to make this decision, most beyond my control, which is another story I will save for another day. Even so, I know now it was the right thing to do and I'm pleased I did it.

My main aim was to write my children's novel, the one that had been brewing in the back of my mind for years. I had already written the first seven chapters whilst I was still teaching but it was frustrating not having the time I wanted to do it.

The worse thing was losing the cleaner, who came in once a week and did all my ironing, polished, hovered, sorted out the clutter the children made. Oh, those were the days. I remember them well. Now I'm expected to do it all and to be quite honest most of the time the housework does not get done.However, sitting at home, writing your novel does not earn you any money and if I was going to be allowed to stay at home when my youngest child started school, I was going to have to earn some money. You can only say you’re a stay at home mum for so long, especially when you're not actually doing any housework.

So, I started by writing short stories for women's magazines and had some success although, it did not come to the amount of money I was earning as a full-time teacher and the whole family were beginning to feel the difference in my drastic cut in earnings. It helped a little when I branched out into article and feature writing. I had quite a bit more success with regular features in my local paper the Newbury Weekly News and the monthly county magazines. But, I was still not earning enough to justify being at home.

It was 2005 and I had to do something pro-active, as my son was due to start at playgroup. I did not want to have to get a part-time job whilst he was at school. What on earth could an ex-teacher who wants to be a writer do?That's when it hit me. Of course, I could re-vamp all those teacher resources I'd made for years and years and see if anyone wanted to publish them. So, that is what I did and here I am now. Still writing, still not really earning enough money to justify my existence as a writer but building up a portfolio of work that will help me on to bigger and better things.

My children’s novel is complete and with an agent who is considering it and I’ve started the sequel and another series for younger children. I have also written seven picture books, although all sadly unpublished. My main aim, as I said in my very first blog, is to be a highly acclaimed children's author. I believe I am on the right path to achieving this aim.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

St George's Day

It is St George’s Day today. St George is the patron saint of England. His emblem is a red cross on a white background, which forms part of our British flag. Every country in the United Kingdom has its own patron saint and emblems.

This is why it surprises me that when I wrote the story of St George and the dragon as part of a homework book that was to be sold direct to schools, the editors would not put the word saint in the story because it might upset the parents at multi-cultural faith schools.

Looking at the children’s books in books shops and the library I noticed the titles rarely include the saint part. Have a look on Amazon for yourself. Are we the only country that belittles their own culture, myths and legends for fear of upsetting people?

I do not think it is politically incorrect to teach children about their own saint and name him as a saint. In fact, you are more likely to see celebrations for the Irish St Patrick’s Day in England, with events in pubs and cards being sold in shops, than you are for St George’s Day. For most people St George’s Day goes past unnoticed. You may see a flag on top of the local church.

It should be remembered, Saint George is not only the patron saint of England but he is also patron saint of Palestine, Portugal and Lithuania and many other places. He was born in Turkey in the third century and became a Roman soldier, but protested against their torture of Christians and died for his beliefs. It is very unlikely he ever visited England and even more unlikely he slayed a dragon.

Even so, he was declared England’s patron saint in the fourteenth century and April the 23rd became his national feast day. I believe, as he is our saint, more should be made of the fact in children’s literature and within our schools. But this is just my humble opinion. What do you think?

Friday, April 21, 2006

How To Deal With Rejection

For several months I was playing the waiting game. I have hundreds of women’s short stories out there (OK thirteen), several picture books, the first novel of my trilogy and ideas for short chapter books for 7-9 year olds. I have several proposals in for education books and no replies.

Every morning I checked my email hoping for a response or the post box looking for a letter that isn’t a rejection. For weeks, there has been nothing. Thoughts go through your head such as, maybe, my post has got lost and been delivered to the wrong house, or worse still maybe that important email got Spammed and I accidentally deleted it.

Today, five rejections landed on my mat. How depressing. Yes, I know, I mustn’t take it personally; it’s a part of writing; and all well-established writers have been rejected at first, and are even rejected now. I know all this, but deep down it doesn’t make you feel any better.

No, I don’t expect a publisher to accept everything everyone submits. Even if every submission was spectacular, they still couldn’t publish every one and in reality, I wouldn’t want them to. I want my manuscript to be accepted because it was impossible to reject.

So am I happier holding the rejection letter in my hand, knowing they decided not to publish it, or did I prefer the weeks of ignorant bliss? I don’t know.

As a writer, I put myself on the line by requesting to be rejected. We all demand that publishers respond to us and let us know what they want to do with our writing. We have to in order to know what to do next with that particular article or book proposal.

It’s true I feel stupid and fed up when I get a rejection. I always beat myself up about it. But I have learnt some ways to overcome this. The best advice ever that was given to me was on a course run by Jane Wenham Jones, an author and writer for women’s magazine. She said:

  • Keep writing.
  • Keep sending items out.
  • Make yourself feel better by sending out the same package that day to another publisher.
  • Be very businesslike and handle your submissions in a non-emotional way.

So, while the writing itself can be emotional, the submission process really shouldn’t be. Sometimes I find it takes a few days to accept my story or article was rejected, but when I do I am always a lot happier and filled with renewed energy.

Whilst I’m coming to terms with the return of my manuscript I try and do something else to take my mind off it, at the very least I hire a DVD, making sure the film is guaranteed to make me laugh, one that will thrill me with its special effects, or breakneck action scenes.

Or better still, I give myself a boost with some retail therapy. I don’t actually have to buy anything just a walk around the shops helps to clear my head.

It often makes me feel better to pour my heart out to someone else, a family member or a friend that never fails to make me laugh. I always think of the BT advert, ‘It’s good to talk’. It’s true, you can make someone’s day by getting back in touch. That’s guaranteed to make you feel good!
Remember there's always an alternative to moping on your own. Rejection hurts, but you may find, like me, your spirit is more resilient than you ever thought possible.

Then, you too can say to yourself: "You don’t want my manuscript? That’s fine, I’ll send it to someone else.”

So pass me the chocolate, I’ve got letters to post.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A Few Questions

Over the last few days, I have received several questions from people who have actually read my blog. Firstly, I was surprised people are actually taking the time to read it and secondly I was even more amazed they wanted me to elaborate. This is why I decided today I would add the questions and my answers to my blog and hope that it helps.

I was wondering why John Jenkins suggested not using adverbs, do you know why that is?
From my own experience, if you take them out it does read better. Try it for yourself and see. Lots of adverbs and adjectives slow down the pace and actually jar the reader out of the action.

What I did, was look at some of the children's books I admire and enjoyed reading and found that adverbs and adjectives were used very sparsely and also got an idea of the type of strong verbs used to replace them.

What is wrong with repeatedly using words like suddenly, as kids like repetition?
I suspect it depends on the age you are writing for with repetition because if you are writing for 9+, repetition can get boring.

With the words mentioned I think using them once in the whole novel, but if they occur in every chapter or even every few paragraphs (as I noticed I was doing with the word 'suddenly', it does get a bit of a joke. My characters were in a permanent situation of shock.

However, if you were writing a picture book you would use repetition but I wouldn't thought any of the words listed would be needed. I suppose it is more about rhythm of the text than repetition.

Do you find it easier to write for adults or children?
I would not say one is easier than another. In fact, because the writing I do for adults is for the women's magazine market and articles for the local paper, it is probably very similar to writing for children in that you have to use every word with care and make it work for its place on the page. There is no room for flowery prose or to go off on a tangent about something else because I am working to a limited word length.

Can you tell me is there much paperwork to teach children aged 6-7, as I was thinking of doing a PGCE?
This is a difficult question, as it depends on the school and what subject specialism you take on within the school. I reckon the easy answer is probably, yes there is.

However, in typical teacher style and now I am putting my ex-deputy head hat on, I feel like I have to elaborate. You will have to do planning, long-term, mid-term and short-term.

The long-term planning is usually for whole year, it consists of a timetable of what will be covered when in every subject. There will be a whole school scheme of work with the long-term planning in and you will be expected to use this and follow it, but just to make things difficult you will also be expected to add your own mark to it.

The mid-term planning is what will be taught each term, outlining your objectives, teaching strategies and learning outcomes. Sometimes a good team would have these structured already. More often than not they haven't and they re-do them every year. Again, this depends where you work. Every school is different.

The short-term planning is your day-to-day teaching. Your worksheets, introduction and plenary and differentiation for individual children who may need help or have LSA's.. All of this should be written down. If you are away for any reason someone should be able to pick up the copies of your plans and just start teaching the lesson as it is all prepared and ready to go.

I haven't mentioned the marking, record keeping, and the reports. If you have special need children in your class you may need to do these every few weeks. Do not think teaching KS1 is less work than KS2 because they write less and so you have less marking, because this is definitely not true.

Now back to the specialism. Every primary teacher will be expected to coordinate throughout the school at least one subject. If you work in a small school this could be as many as five or six subjects. Each will need it owns scheme of work and organisation the coordinator has to manage, no matter what subjects you choose, or more than likely are allocated. And yes, it involves a lot of paper work. but, again this depends on what you make of it.

You could just sit on the subject and do nothing. The job is what you make it. Unfortunately, I could never do this but, know teachers who did and all I can say when the inspections came along they always failed.

How intensive is a PGCE?
In my opinion, doing a PGCE is like being thrown in the deep end of a swimming pool and someone shouting, "O.K. Now swim." I did a PGCE and loved it worked for me. It is intensive but I work well under pressure and I am a very organised person, which helps. About 10% of the course did not complete it. In your favour, all the mature students do tend to do well.

I have had students in my class and been a mentor for NQT's and the mature students tend to be much more determined to succeed and have more of an idea what is expected of them and are much better at working on their own initiative. These are important skills in being a teacher.

As you've probably noticed from my Blog about my writing habits and interests is that I flit around a bit. I'm what my great friend, Lynne Hackles, describes as a butterfly writer. This is because I get bored easily. Primary teaching is different every day. There is no time to get bored and that is why it suited me.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Can Colours Change Our Mood

Today has been one of those frustrating days. I planned to do a whole load of editing and I’ve spent the morning answering e-mails and writing this blog. When I tell my writer friends I’ve started a blog their answer has immediately been, ‘More fool you,’ and ‘I wouldn’t spend my day writing for nothing on a blog.’

I tell you I’m inclined to I agree with them. But at the moment, this is more a test of stamina than writing skill. And some of the more observant of you may have noticed I’ve already missed a day because I rarely work at the weekends.

Not only have I been procrastinating but also when I came to print the work I wanted to edit, the blank ink on my computer ran out after the first page. How irritating. It is then I remember all the other things I wanted to print and send to publishers. A quick trip to Tesco will do the trick, I know, but I decided rather than getting my son ready to go out and shoving yet another pair of boys pants in my handbag as we are potty training, I would just turn the writing blue and print it out that way. After all, the colour cartridge has not run out.

This got me thinking: our world is filled with colour. Look around - what colours do you see? Are you able to stare out the window whist you work, like me at a blue sky and green grass? Or, do brightly painted walls surround you? The walls in my study are a deep pink. What colour are the walls around you? Most of the time, we don't even notice colours. But colours can change the way we feel. They can affect our moods. Even printing out my manuscript in blue has had a deeply calming effect.

‘She’s a bit of a nutter,’ I hear you say but I decided to spend a few minutes researching this phenomena and found out scientists have found some colours can make us feel happy and others can make us feel sad. They also think that some colours can help us to learn. There are even colours that can make you feel more like eating.

Try this experiment:
1. Put some blue jellybeans on a plate.
2. Put some red jellybeans on another plate.
3. Ask some friends to take only one jellybean. How many chose a blue one?

Whether we are aware of it or not colour plays an important part in all of our lives, it affects all our senses, sight, sound, smell, taste and feelings. Seeing colour can change our moods very effectively both on a conscious and an unconscious level, red for danger or white for peace. We even use colour in our ordinary everyday conversations, the sky is black, she's whiter than white or I'm green with envy. Our favourite colour reflect our personality

We express our creativity through colour, what colour's we choose says a lot, not only about how we feel but how we would like to feel and can produce a dramatic when added to our writing.

So what does each colour mean?
While the general perception of cool and warm colours is universal, we may each feel differently toward some colours by how they affect us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. For instance, if your best friend always wears blue you may associate that colour with him or her, and so it may affect you differently then someone who doesn’t have such an association. Here are some universal associations with basic colours:

RED a warm colour is the colour of energy, excitement and vitality. It is also a good grounding colour. Red is a powerful healing agent for healing diseases of the blood and circulation. It will also help with depression but it can raise blood pressure or anxiety.
Red, used in a large space, can be welcoming, energising and invigorating, but it can radiate aggression. Red, in a small space, can be cosy, intimate, or claustrophobic. The most emotionally intense colour, red stimulates the heart to beat faster and breathing to increase. Red also increases metabolic activity. As red is the colour of love, it is often used as an accent colour in decorating. Decorators say that red will attract attention. Self-motivation, leadership and generosity are some qualities of the colour red. If your favourite colour is red, you have a zest for life. You like to stay on top of things. Key words associated with red are ‘winner,’ ‘achiever,’ ‘intense,’ ‘impulsive,’ ‘active,’ ‘competitive,’ ‘daring,’ ‘aggressive’ and ‘passionate.’ I use to wear a lot of red when I was teaching.

ORANGE is a warm colour, a social and exuberant colour and represents ripeness, warmth and happiness. If used extensively, orange can be a very forceful colour, but is also a good grounding colour. It is used to increase immunity, help in all digestive ailments and will have a gentle warming effect if used lightly. Orange promotes feelings of excitement, can make you feel vibrant, improves appetite, and enhances social interaction

YELLOW is a warm colour and the colour of intellect and it is used for mental stimulation, it will help you think quicker. It is also the colour of clarity and insight. It is the brightest of all colours and has the greatest illuminating power. It is warm and cheerful and stimulates activity, communication, circulation and appetite. However it is not a good colour for nervy people or people easily agitated. Cheerful, sunny yellow is an attention getter. Yellow enhances concentration and speeds metabolism. It is the first colour seen by newborns and apparently, couples fight more and babies cry more in lemon-coloured rooms, because it is said yellow is the most difficult colour for the eye to take in, so it can be overpowering if overused. My youngest son’s room is yellow, as it is his favourite colour and I have not noticed him crying that much. Communication, observation and analysis are some attributes of yellow.

GREEN is the colour of harmony and balance. It is good for tired nerves and it helps with the heart area. It will balance the emotions and bring about a feeling of calmness. Green is a good general healing colour. Green is a restful colour so will aid sleep; it also represents nature, and therefore promotes balance, harmony, peace, hope and stability. Currently a popular decorating colour, green symbolizes nature and is the universal healing colour. It is the easiest colour on the eye and can improve vision. It is a calming, nourishing, refreshing colour. Hospitals often use green because it relaxes patients. Clear perception, self- recognition, and compassion are associated with green. If your favourite colour is green, you are likely to be stable and balanced. You are a joiner of clubs and organizations-especially those that are charitable. You are kind and generous.

BLUE is the colour of truth, serenity and harmony, by helping to soothe the mind. Blue is good for cooling, calming, reconstructing and protecting. Blue will help feverish conditions, it will help stop bleeding and it will help with nervous irritations. Researchers found that children tested higher on IQ tests in rooms with blue ceilings. Blue, if diluted to a lighter hue, can reduce stress and relieve tension. Is a colour of peace, tranquillity and wisdom and can generate a sense of well-being. Blue gives the impression of space and coolness and represents serenity and loyalty. Because peaceful, tranquil blue causes the body to produce calming chemicals, it is often used in bedrooms. It is believed that blue slows metabolic activity. Blue can also be cold and depressing or pain relieving. People are more productive in blue rooms. Blue enhances clear thinking, diligence and organization. Blue is the colour of tranquillity and peace. If your favourite colour is blue, although you may appear cool and confident, you can be vulnerable. Blues have a high sense of responsibility and must be careful of perfectionist tendencies.

PURPLE is a colour that will connect you with your spiritual self. It is good for mental and nervous problems. It will assist very well with rheumatism and epilepsy. Purple is a calming colour and can comfort and relieve strain. Purple is associated with noble traits such as love, truth and justice. It is dramatic, sophisticated, sensual and imaginative. Purple has long been associated with royalty. It strongly symbolizes power, nobility, luxury and ambition. It conveys wealth and sometimes hints at extravagance. Purple is also associated with wisdom, dignity and independence. Lavender can help with spiritual healing and is used as a tranquilliser. All can aid sleep. Lavender is the colour of replenishing and rebuilding, whilst pink and mauve are restful and calming. Purple and shades of purple is a powerful colour in enhancing creativity, mystery and magic.

PINK is the colour of equilibrium. While red may be considered an energizing colour, pink is the most calming. For this reason the California children's probation department found that violent children had fewer outbursts when placed in a pink room. Being a tint of red, pink also affects us physically, but it soothes, rather than stimulates. If your favourite colour is pink, you are talented, charming and warm. You also have drive, however, it's not an overly aggressive ambitious streak.

WHITE is the colour of purity. It will purify the body on the highest levels and will bring peace and comfort. Regarded, as restful and clean, but too much will appear stark.
White symbolises light, triumph, innocence and joy and it gives the effect of enlarging a space and creates an atmosphere of coolness. White is associated with light. As such, it is often linked to goodness, innocence, purity and virginity. It is also considered to be the colour of perfection. When used with intention, white can represent a successful beginning.

SILVER is the colour of peace and persistence. It is the major purging colour so it is very good for removing unwanted diseases and troubles from the body. Grey, like white, is regarded, as restful and clean, but too much will appear stark.
Pure grey is the only colour that has no direct psychological properties. It is, however, quite suppressive

BLACK represents an absence of light and colour, but can be a deep and restful contrast. It is sophisticated, elegant, dramatic and formal and gives a feeling of solid strength. It can be powerful, aloof and intimidating. Black is the colour of authority and power. Black also implies submission. Priests wear black to signify submission to God. The qualities of black include self-sufficiency, individualism and protection. Black can represent conflicting attitudes. You may be conventional, conservative and serious or you may think of yourself as rather worldly or sophisticated. Wit, cleverness, personal security, and prestige are very important to you.

PREFER COLOUR MIXTURES - If you like lots of different colours, then you are also a creative type, one most likely to work professionally with colour. You may have a fragmented personality. You are open and far less rigid than those with very dogmatic likes and dislikes.

Many people don’t understand the impact colour has on our physical body and on our emotional states. This happens wherever we are: at home, school, workplaces and health care facilities.

Colour isn’t just something we use to brighten a room. More than simply decoration, it alters mood and in some cases actually improves health. Before you write, take some time to think about the colours in your writing and the effect they have on the reader’s senses. Remember, colour can change the way people feel. This is true of adult and children readers.

The next time you find yourself green with envy, feeling in the pink, or sad and blue, take a look at the colours around you.

Now I've wasted enough time and ought to get back on with my work.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Going To A Book Launch

Unfortunately, it was not my book launch I attended today. It was the book launch of one of the author's I make a website for. Her name is Della Galton and today her book Passing Shadows was launched at Gulliver's Bookshop in Wimborne Minster, Dorset.

Never having been to a book launch before I did not know what to expect but the excitement rippled through the shop. Over 150 people attended the launch. The queue for Della to sign her book went out of the door and down the street. Her friends and family mingled and discussed how they knew Della and what a prolific writer she was, over wine.

Photo of Della at her book launch with the Mayor


The party continued into the evening, when a large group of invited guests went back to Della’s house in Dorset, for more wine and an incredible Chinese food buffet. The whole day was an amazing experience and I’m pleased I went.

Della has written and had accepted over 30 short stories for women’s magazines just this year. That is over ten every month. It puts me to shame. Her first novel is about a woman, named Maggie, who has to decide whether to lie to her new boyfriend or betray her best friend. This horrible decision is made more complicated by the shadows in Maggie’s past.
View Della Galton's Book on Amazon

For more information on Della Galton take a look at her website: www.dellagalton.com
Incidently, this is one of the websites I have made. If you would like to see more of the websites I have produced check out: www.sunrisewebs.info

Friday, April 07, 2006

All About Editing

When I've read through my posts on this blog, I've noticed that I often make silly mistakes, miss out words or have extra letters in words that should not be there because I've hit the wrong keys whilst typing. It has highlighted to me how important editing is.

With a blog it is easy, as you can go back and correct the posts. Notice how I'm talking like a seasoned blogger and I've only been blogging on a daily basis for a week.

Good editing means making wise choices. What words should you use? What order do you put them in? There is never a single correct answer. The best sentences are sturdy and straightforward. The reader can understand them easily, without having to reread them. Sentences become difficult to read for two main reasons: the sentences are too long or the sentences are poorly constructed.

One of the most informative talks I've ever been to was, one on editing given by John Jenkins, who is the editor of Writers' Forum. There were three main rules to editing that he pointed out.

The first thing he suggested, is to take out all the adverbs and adjectives. I found the easiest thing to do was to use the 'Find and Replace' application in the Edit menu of Microsoft Word and search for all the -ly words and delete them. More often than not, they were not needed and if I desperately wanted to keep one I could, because I'd whittled them down to only a few.

By combining the verb and adverb into one more descriptive verb, I not only cut the word count but was being more precise. For example, if a person was walking slowly, they could be described as sauntering, meandering, or strolling. So, 'she strolled toward me' would be 'she sauntered toward me', or 'meandered toward me'. By controlling adverb/verb combinations, I found I could set the tone and communicate emotion better.

Next, he said be active not passive. If you find yourself using forms of 'be' such as, are, is, was, becomes, became, you are using the passive tense. I find this the most difficult but, it is important especially when writing articles.

The third rule was to remove all waste words. This included: them, that, began, started, about, all, along, and, away, before, after, down, up, out, in, even, ever, just, little, now, only, over, really, so, some, sort, such, felt, feel, back, returned, instead, to the, to be, there, was, suddenly and very. Again, use the 'Find and Replace' application in Microsoft Word. See if any need to be added back in. You'll be surprised how few do. I know I was. Replace only those that are essential.

I hope his advice is as useful to you as it is to me. But, remember before you start editing, put the manuscript away and do something else. This will allow you to look at it with fresh eyes and see the mistakes more easily.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Writing Educational Resources

The main difference I have found between writing educational resources and writing fiction is you sell the educational resources before you write the book. I have found it is much more of a group effort than writing a novel, with input at each stage of the books development.

Finding a new subject, or even better a new slant on an old subject is half the battle. I started out as a teacher and have found this background in education beneficial as I can match my work to the National Curriculum, as well as the Literacy and Numeracy Strategies. I have studied most subjects in depth and know what is required in a classroom situation.

When I use to tell people I was a teacher, the first thing they use to ask is what do you teach. I usually said, "Children." But, then I felt guilty I was being so flippant and told them, "As a Primary School teacher you name it and I teach it." Now I say, "As a writer you name it and I'll write it." This is very true. I love research and so if I don't know anything on a subject I will spend time finding out about it.

I prefer it when the publisher rings me up, or emails me, and says we've got an idea for a project would you like to submit a proposal to be one of the authors. This really gets me to focus.

Before I submit a proposal, whether it has been asked for or is unsolicited, I look for a gap in the market. I always check out Amazon and see if there is a book on the subject already and if there is how could I approach it from a new angle that would be relevant to the classroom today. If I do find a gap, I think why is it there? Is there a demand for the subject? And what would be another books 'unique selling point'.

As in all forms of writing, it is important to study the market. I have been fairly successful with writing educational resources. I wrote and had accepted five books last year, 2005. I have to keep reminding myself that was very good.

I suppose part of the process is, feeling the fear and doing it anyway, just like Susan Jeffers books says. Also, keeping in mind we can achieve anything if we really put our minds to it. I remember when I passed my Bronze Medallion (Life Saver's swimming certificate) in 1994. I was asked to take over training the top swimmers for the Reading gala after the previous teacher that did it died of a brain tumour. To do this I needed to have a Life Savers certificate. I saw this as a challenge and enrolled on the RLSS Bronze Medallion course.

When I started I could not even swim one length of the 25m pool. After the twelve week course I could swim 20 lengths in under 20 minutes and fetch a body from the bottom of the pool, fully clothed. To achieve this I had to go swimming at least three times a week, sometimes more. I was still on maternity leave and so had the time to do it but, my stomach muscles were very weak and I could not pull myself out of the pool when I started, I had to use the steps.

I got the highest marks in the group on the theory exam. But, it was sheer determination that got me through. And you know what we went home with the relay trophy every single year, until I moved schools and stopped doing the job.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

My Writing Day


Today, I thought I'd write something about my writing day and why I write. I spent many years teaching full time and although I loved working with the children, the adults got on my nerves a bit. This says a lot about me. I hated all the bureaucracy. This is why I prefer to stay at home and write, under the pretence I am looking after my three-year-old son.

I snatch every minute I can to write and I do write something everyday, although I've no idea how many words I write on a daily basis. Sometimes I spend the day editing a piece and other days I write something new. Sometimes, I spend the whole day engrossed in research, which I love. Everyday, my three-year-old son yells at me to get off the computer and says he doesn't want to wait hours for lunch, because I've nipped upstairs for something and accidentally sat down at the computer and started typing. I’m obsessed.

Often, I use writing as an excuse for procrastination, writing something else because I'm avoiding the job I'm supposed to do, this may be consciously or sub-consciously. Usually the jobs I'm avoiding are the housework. But, I'm sure the only reason I've started this blog is because I can't face finishing the article I'm meant to be writing for Writers' Forum.

The article in question is nearly finished but will need a lot of editing, as it is too long. When I finally get round to completing it, I suspect it will be out-of-date, at this rate. Although, they expressed an interest in the idea and sent me their guidelines, I think it will still be an unsolicited manuscript. Maybe that's the problem.

I work best to deadlines, as it helps me organise my time. I write copious lists that span five sides of A4, in priority order and work through them. Usually, they break down a big job into smaller segments. One side of A4 may be only one project. I flit about a bit with my projects and that is why I need a list.

When I get into a piece of writing, it is hard to drag me away. I can't think of anything else my mind is away on an adventure with my characters, whether it's a children’s story or a short story for a woman’s magazine. I don't live in the real world I live in my imagination. This is when I am in my element. People talk to me and I can’t really hear what they are saying. This is when my kids get away with murder and literally start killing each other. I’m usually bought back to reality by their screaming.

As you can see, I do not have a set writing routine. I wake up, make the kids their lunches drop them off at school, come home turn on the computer, spend ages checking my mail and updating websites and this blog, get dragged away by my son every ten minutes, sneak back, make lunch, put on Cbeebies to distract my son, do a bit more writing and before I know it, it is time to pick up my other two children and make the dinner.

My day is more interesting when I’m out and about interviewing people for articles for my local paper but not necessarily more fun. My educational resources I don’t consider work at all. It is much the same as when I was planning schemes of work when I was teaching and researching a topic to present to a class. Not that I don't expect to get paid for it because I most certainly do... but that is another story to save for another day.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Books About Writing For Children

As a fairly new children’s writer, I am always looking to improve my skills as a writer and as an effect of this, I have filled my shelves with books all about writing for children. Some of them I have read from cover to cover. Others have sat on the shelf gathering dust.

I thought I would share some of my insights on these books with you today. If you know of any others, or your opinions on these books differ from mine, why not leave a comment and let me know.

Children’s Writers and Artists Yearbook published by A&C Black
Price - £12.99
If I were to recommend only one book, this is the book I would recommend and I would suggest you buy a copy every year, to get the most up-to-date information. It is probably the most important book, a writer for children in the UK, could possibly own. It contains lists of publishers, agents, societies, in fact everything you need to know about the world of children’s publishing. No, I have not read it from cover-to-cover but I am constantly dipping into it, especially before I submit anything.
Read Reviews On Amazon

Write for Children by Andrew Melrose
Price - £14.99
This is an excellent book, written by a senior lecturer of the MA in Writing for Children at King Alfred’s University College in Winchester. I have read it from cover-to-cover and highlighted bits in bright pink highlighter pen. It is relevant for writing for children from birth to teenagers. I found the chapters on plotting both chapter books and picture books most beneficial. In fact, whilst I was flicking through to write this, I nearly started reading it again.
Read Reviews On Amazon

Writing A Children’s Book by Pamela Cleaver
Price – £9.99
Another excellent book that I have highlighted and read from cover-to-cover. It is very easy and quick to read and contains information on preparing to write, plotting and planning, beginning, middles and ends and goes into editing and how to submit your manuscript.
Read Reviews On Amazon

Ideas For Children’s Writing by Pamela Cleaver
Price - £9.99
This book supplements Pamela Cleaver’s other book, which I have listed above. It is an invaluable resource and it has proved a great asset when trying to find that hook, or niche, to place my own novels. There are writing exercises, ideas for characters that get you excited, tips on structuring and how to go about research. It is not the type of book that you would read from cover-to-cover but it is definitely a book for dipping.
Read Reviews On Amazon

How To Write For Children and Get Published by Louise Jordan
Price – £9.99
Again, I have read this book from cover-to-cover and highlighted relevant bits. It is an ideal book for getting started and for helping to develop ideas, themes and you own writing style. Louise Jordan runs The Writers Advice Centre for Children's Books in London, UK and is also a reader for Penguin Children's Books. Well worth looking at, even if you get it from the library.
Read Reviews On Amazon

Writing For Children and Getting Published by Allan Frewin Jones and Lesley Pollinger
Price – £7.99
The thing I liked about this book was all the writing exercises, specifically aimed at writers for children. If you are undecided, what age group you want to write for this is an ideal book as it gives you ideas to experiment in the different areas. Definitely, a book for the shelf but, if you do buy this book I recommend you buy it second-hand.
Read Reviews On Amazon

How To Write For Children by Tessa Krailing
Price - £8.99
This book was one of the first books on writing for children I ever bought and yes, I have read it from cover-to-cover and highlighted it with my pretty pink highlighter pen but, it does not tell you anything new. Most of the content of this book is covered by the books above.
Read Reviews On Amazon

Writing for Young Adults by Sherry Garland
Price – £9.99
An interesting book that covers more gritty areas that is useful if you were writing for teenagers. However, I was put off by the American slant. It is aimed at the beginner and others may find it more useful than I have.
Read Reviews On Amazon

The Writer’s Handbook Guide to Writing for Children edited by Barry Turner
Price - £9.99
This book is not as helpful as I initially thought and although, I have read most of the articles, most of the information and more can be found in the W&A Yearbook, cited above. It is not worth buying second hand, as the listings go out of date.
Read Reviews On Amazon

How To Write and Illustrate Children’s Books and Get Them Published edited by Treld Pelkey Bicknell and Felicity Trotman
Price – £11.48
Definitely, a book that would be more useful if I lived in America but, the information it contains on picture book writing is relevant wherever you live. It covers getting ideas, beginning the story, and planning and plotting. I think the chapters about illustrating, were fascinating and has given me an insight into structuring a picture book. The book is well worth a look.
Read Reviews On Amazon

Writing with Pictures by Uri Shulevitz
Price – £17.20
Unfortunately, this book has not been very helpful and is more for illustrators than writers. It explains how to set up a story board with dummy pictures and gives examples of planning a picture book with your illustrations but, when you bear in mind that most publishers prefer separate writers and authors it is more depressing than inspiring.
Read Reviews On Amazon

How To Write for Children by Marion Hough
Price – £8.95
I’m afraid to say this is one of those books, which has sat on my shelf gathering dust. That is not to say it isn’t very good, as I haven’t even opened it to find out. I think maybe the problem is it is not a very inspiring book to look at. I suggest you make your own mind up and if you find it is good, let me know and I will make time to read it.
Read Reviews On Amazon

You Can Write Children’s Books by Tracy E. Dils
Price -£8.99
Another book, which I haven’t even opened the front cover of, although this one looks more inspiring than the book above. It looks like it is orientated towards American writers, but don’t let that put you off. Again, if you’ve read this book and liked it, why not leave a comment and let me know.
Read Reviews On Amazon

The Business of Writing for Children by Aaron Shepherd
Price - £7.50
This is the newest and latest addition to my bookshelf and sadly unopened. It is a print on demand book by a US author but, it looks pretty good and hopefully will not sit, gathering dust for too long.
Read Reviews On Amazon

Monday, April 03, 2006

Do Writers Need a Website?

In today’s increasingly high-tech world the desire to have web space to promote yourself is becoming ever more popular, not only for selling your work, but also to market yourself as a writer.

So why should authors have a website? One of the most important reasons is that it is an ideal way of publicising your self. Publicity is so important, anything an author can do to help sales and increase familiarity with their name, the better.

Having a website means prospective publishers and buyers of your books are able to look up more information than they could get off a publicity sheet. You do not need to have published a book to have a website. You can promote your articles, short stories, poetry or forthcoming novel in the same way.

Many writers build their own websites. There is a wide range of software available, such as: Dreamweaver, FrontPage, Serif WebPlus 9, FrontPage, Freeway Express and Adobe Go Live.

If you plan to make your own site, you will need to buy a domain name. This is the unique name that acts as your web address. These can be bought for a few pounds from a web host, co.uk addresses are cheaper but .com addresses give a more worldwide feel to a site. It is a good idea to buy the domain name from a web host.

Once you have made your site and bought a domain name you will need to buy web space by paying someone to host your site for you. When deciding on a web host it is preferential to find a company who you can talk to on the telephone.

When uploading a site it will depend which host you use whether you can you can upload direct to http (HyperText Transfer Protocols) with programmes such as FrontPage or if you will be working with ftp (File Transfer Protocols) and will then need a file transfer application such as CuteFTP or SmartFTP to upload your web. Both can be downloaded free from the Internet.

There is plenty of information free on the web to help you build your own site and some excellent books around. Spend some time looking at other sites to see what works and what doesn’t.

If you are making your own site it is relatively cheap in monetary terms but you have to be prepared to invest the time into building and maintaining your website. A slap dash presence is worse than no presence at all. The most expensive part of web design is time.

Alternatively, you can pay an outside company such as mine, Sunrise Webs http://www.sunrisewebs.info/ I can build a website for you to your own specifications. I will also organise your domain name and host company for you.

It is important to consider what to include on your website. Websites should be well organised, logical and need to be kept up-to-date. Viewers should be able to navigate easily and find all the information they need quickly. Visitors who find your site via a search engine may not come in on the home page so put consistent navigation on each page.

Every site needs a Home Page. This is the first page retrieved when accessing a Web site. It acts as the starting point for a user to access information on the site and contains navigation for the rest of the site. When creating Web pages, the ‘home’ page has the filename ‘index.html,’ which is the default name. The ‘index’ page automatically opens up as the ‘home’ page.

Web pages can be as big as you like so there is no need to squash everything together. People like plenty of white space just as they do in books and magazines. If you use a coloured background, make it light. Black websites are off-putting and difficult to read. Make sure the font in all your pages is consistent. The look of your site has to reflect the target market of your work. A web page must be clear, uncluttered and download fast and try to put the most important stuff at the top so browsers do not have to scroll down to find it.

Include your contact information, and your agent’s details if you have one, and include a links page, as reciprocal links attract more traffic.

The advantage of web publishing in comparison to books is that the pages do not have to be static. You can have moving icons and illustrations. Make sure the pictures are in a suitable format, such as a .jpg file or gif, and the correct resolution for their size. Slow loading pictures are off-putting so keep file sizes as small as possible without losing quality. Remember, too many moving pictures can be distracting.

As a published author you can use a website not only to publicise your work but to sell your books. You can set up direct links to Amazon or your publisher’s online bookstore. It can act as an online CV and advertise the other services you may offer such as workshops or if writing for children, school visits. If somebody has enjoyed one of your books, it helps them to find out about the other books you have written.

Other pages recommended to include on an author’s website are: your books and their reviews, cover blurb, biographical information and some background articles on your characters, themes or non-fiction subjects. Also, if you can come up with that something extra that isn’t included on other author sites that is a bonus. Other suggestions are sample chapters, links, tips on writing and a link to your blog.

So, do writer’s need a website? Yes, definitely.

The site can generate more contacts and interest in your writing. You can refer potential editors to your site so they can see a range of your work and editors who have worked with you in the past can use the site to get in touch.

The net is available 24 hours a day, everyday. An online presence will market your work to the whole wide world. It is an excellent marketing forum and should become an ongoing part of your business as a writer or illustrator. The Internet is here to stay as a communication media. Utilise your resources. Remember your website is a business tool.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Joining a Critique Group

This weekend, I have spent the majority of my time, going through manuscripts of my online critique group. We are a fairly new group and this was our second round of submissions.

So far, I have found my critique group a very rewarding and beneficial experience. One of the most valuable things I have found is that I gain a fresh perspective on my work.

It took me ages to build up the courage to join a critique group. It was probably as difficult, if not more so than deciding to start a blog.

I felt so insecure about sending my work out for people to comment on. Deep down I knew if I was not emotionally prepared to present my work to a group, it was not worth the bother of joining one and I was worried about everything:

  • What if I didn’t like what they said?
  • What if everyone hated my writing and told me not to bother?
  • What if I’m kidding myself about becoming a highly acclaimed children’s novelist?
  • Would I benefit from joining a group?
  • What did I want from the group?
  • And most importantly, what was I willing to give?

I suspect there comes a point in every writer's life when they consider the pros and cons of joining a critique group. I’d heard that some writers find little value from joining a group, while others find it has a measurable effect on their writing.

Writing is an isolated profession. I know from being a member of SCBWI and Wordpool that by gathering together at conferences and online, writers find support, encouragement, motivation, receive informed comments, marketing information and have a safe place to try out ideas. I know sharing constructive feedback is an excellent way to learn but, it can also be mortifying experience to expose your work to such feedback.

It was also important as a writer for children to find a group that focused primarily on children's writing. In my mind only children's writers can understand and advise on the unique requirements of writing for children. it is different to writing in other genres.

I was so lucky that several people on Wordpool, a Yahoo group I belong to, were muting an interest in setting up a critique group and some kind-soul volunteered to organise us into groups. I was one of the last to join. heart thumping and a few glasses of red wine and I hit the send button on the emial I had written and deleted twice.

We are a small Internet based group, which has its plus points. Many writers may prefer to establish a writing relationship in person than sharing work online but it has worked very well for us. Because we submit our work online and can spend time reading and commenting on the manuscripts at our own leisure, I think we give each other a more in depth commentary. Also, I have longer to absorb the advice the others have given me before I have to respond. This would not be possible in a face-to-face group.

It has also been beneficial that the other members of my group are at similar experience level to myself. I think it has helped everyone to feel comfortable and we can identify with each other’s issues. Sharing my work in progress has really helped me because I feel I can discuss it with someone without worrying I’m boring them.

We decided that our feedback would be shared with the whole group and not isolated to individual people. In this way, we can comment on what the others say as well.

There have been things I have been impressed by, and I have shared these thoughts to the group. I try to make my feedback specific and highlights the things that I liked and why I liked them, as well as the things that do not work and giving reasons why not.

What I try to remember is that other people's suggestions are just that, their suggestions. It’s up to me as the author what I take on board. I have final say on any changes I make and why I make them. If I’ve had a specific question, I want to know about the piece I have submitted I ask. For example:

  • How does the character come across?
  • Does the speech flow?


So in my opinion, when deciding if a critique group is right for you, take your time, weigh your options, but most of all, have fun. I hope we build up a rapport that will last a lifetime.

Here are some notes that have helped me when making comments to my online critique group. Maybe you’ll find them beneficial too.

Hints on Giving Feedback
Just as it isn’t helpful to hear only positive things, it also doesn’t help an author to hear only negative comments. If you see a number of things you would comment on about someone’s work, that’s good—it means you have a lot of information that could be valuable to the author. However, if you are offering feedback, choose your words carefully. Remember that since you are only talking with each other through written messages, the tone of your words can be hard to interpret. Try to be tactful, but be honest too. Take a few minutes to consider the tips below in order to carefully shape your response.

Shaping Your Response
Assume that everything you see was intended to serve some purpose. Can you imagine why the author did what he or she did? Preface your feedback with a phrase like, "I think maybe you were trying to ________, but instead I think this (_______) is what happened."

Be specific. It isn’t fair to say things like, "I just don’t like it," or "this is wrong." Vague phrases like this don’t offer the author any way of improving his or her work.

Instead of saying something is "bad," try these phrases:

  • "___________ isn’t working because _______."
  • "___________ isn’t clear. Do you mean _______?"
  • "___________ isn’t effective because ________."
  • "___________ is too abstract. Try ______."

If you think something isn’t working, always offer a suggestion, even if you don’t think it’s the best solution to the problem.

If something isn’t clear, ask questions to clarify the meaning.

If you are offering an interpretation, show the author specifically where (in his or her own text) you see evidence of your interpretation.

I hope these notes and my comments help you make your mind up if you are ready to join a critique group and the type of critique group that would work for you.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

To Blog Or Not To Blog

It was a really difficult decision for me if I should start a blog or not. There were so many reasons I could think of why I shouldn't bother. Having to keep it updated regularly was the main one. I'm the person who keeps saying an out of date blog is sloppy and unprofessional. So I had to decide whether I had the time and the commitment to keep it going.

I love writing, I love writing about myself. But, every time I've started a diary I've been fine for the first few weeks and then started to slack and then I find I'm trying to catch up with the days I've missed and slowly the diary peters out all together. Shame I know, but I've found I just don't have the stamina to keep going.

Another reason for not starting a blog was my spelling is awful and when I write I type words back to front and inside out. Sometimes I think I may be slightly dyslexic but it is more likely that my fingers type faster than my brain can keep up with. I depend a lot on a spell check and that is why words such as 'from', which I usually type as 'form' get missed. The other thing is even though I am sure I put my finger on the shift key, capital letters often do not happen. I always go back and check these.

One of the reasons for starting a blog was that I have got a specific subject I'm interested in writing about. And that would be I hear you ask? Well, writing, of course. I suspect you guessed that. But, more specifically it is writing for children. I was a full time primary school teacher for sixteen years and believe I have an understanding of the things children enjoy reading and I know I have the sense of humour of a ten year old.

However, would I want to publish these thoughts on a dialy basis on the Internet? I honestly didn't think I would and maybe the only reason I've started doing so is because I'm very dubious if anyone will read it anyway. A good friend of mine, Lynne Hackles, once said, "Do I really want to air my dirty laundry?" Well, I intend to try and keep this blog limited to only my clean laundry.

Before, I started this blog I did a bit of research. Largely because I love research but also because I wanted to know:


  • What exactly is a blog?
  • What does all the blog jargon mean?
  • How do blogs differ from traditional websites?
  • How do blogs differ from forums or newsgroups?
  • How did blogs originate?
  • What different types of blogs were there?
  • What other blogs were out there that were of interest for a writer like me?

Here are some of the things I found out.

What is a Blog?
I found out that blogs, or weblogs, are basically websites where items are posted and displayed with the newest at the top. Some function as online diaries and usually focus on a particular subject, such as writing, food, politics, or local news. They are most definitely archives of human thought.

A typical blog combines text, images, links to other blogs and web pages related to its topic. I also found out that since 1995, blogging has emerged as a popular means of communication, affecting public opinion and mass media around the world. Blogs need to be kept up-to-date. I still strongly believe an outdated blog will lose the interest of readers and you might as well not have a blog at all, as it will look, yes you've guessed it... sloppy and unprofessional.

Blogs can be hosted by dedicated blog hosting services like this one, which is hosted by blogger.com, or they can be run using blog software on regular web hosting services. It is possible to blog from anywhere with Internet access. This is quite an exciting revelation.

Blog Jargon
Here are some of the new words I have discovered.

Writing a blog, maintaining and adding articles to existing blogs, is called blogging. Individual articles on a blog are called posts. A person who adds posts is called a blogger. Real-time commentary is known as liveblogging.

A blog contains:
· Title – main headline of the post.
· Body - main content of the post.
· Permalink - the URL of the full article being discussed.
· Post Date - date and time the post was published.
· Comments - added by readers.
· Tags – other subjects open for discussion.
· Trackbacks - links to other sites that refer to these subjects.
· Blogroll – links to other blogs that the blog author reads or is connected to.

How Blogs Differ from Traditional Websites
A blog has certain features that distinguish it from the standard web page. Pages are easily created using a simple template containing the title, category and body of the article.

This information is uploaded to the Internet and automatically added to the home page, a full article page is created and links added to the appropriate date or category-based archive.

I have found blogging combines the personal web page with tools to make linking to other pages easier. This enables bloggers to control the threads that connects them to others with similar interests. Date, category, author, or other archive headings can be used to search for specific data.

How Blogs Differ from Forums or Newsgroups
Blogs are different from forums or newsgroups, because only the author or authoring group can create new subjects for discussion on a blog. A group can blog with multiple people holding posting rights but blog owners, or editors, initiate and highlight discussions to maintain the blog to their specification.

History of the Blog
The modern blog evolved from the online diary where people keep a running account of their personal lives. The first known personal blogs started in 1995.

Jorn Barger coined the term ‘weblog’ on 17 December 1997. Peter Merholz coined the short form, blog, which has been accepted as a noun and the verb, ‘to blog’ meaning, ‘to post to one's weblog or to edit one's weblog’.

In March 2003, the Oxford English Dictionary included the terms weblog, weblogging and weblogger in their dictionary.

Since 2003, blogs have gained increasing notice and coverage for their role in breaking, shaping, and spinning news stories. The Guardian newspaper launched a daily digest of blogs in September 2005.

Some institutions see blogging as a means of avoiding the filter and pushing messages directly to the public. Some critics worry that bloggers have no respect for copyright or presenting society with credible news.

Even so, blogs have become an increasingly popular medium of news dissemination. Though often seen as gossips, bloggers lead the way in bringing key information to public light. This puts the mainstream media in the unusual position of reacting to news that bloggers generate.

Types of Blogs

This is a list of some of the different types of blogs I have found in my research. There are probably loads more.

  • Business Blogs - used to promote and defame businesses, to argue economic concepts and to disseminate information.
  • Collaborative Blogs - written by more than one person on a specific topic. They can be open to everyone or limited to a group of people.
  • Cultural Blogs - discuss music, sports, theatre, arts and popular culture.
  • Directory blogs - provide regularly updated links on a focused topic of interest.
  • Eclectic Blogs - focus on specific or unusual subjects and can be individually or collaboratively produced.
  • Educational Blogs - are teacher or student records, often course specific, identifying homework, links to Internet resources and recording day-by-day what is taught.
  • Forum Blogs - allow select users to post into a discussion.
  • Link blogs - a way of sharing interesting URL’s.
  • Moblog - or Mobile Blogs are posted to the Internet from a mobile phone.
  • Personal Blogs - online diaries or journals. They can include poems, prose, illicit thoughts, complaints, daily experiences and sometimes allowing others to contribute.
  • Photoblogs - consist of a gallery of images that are regularly updated.
  • Political Blogs - news driven, and link to articles from news web sites with the bloggers personal comments.
  • Science Blogs - discuss specific scientific interests. Some scientists believe blogs are an excellent way to disseminate and discuss data, others fear they could damage the credibility of science by bypassing the peer review system.
  • Sketchblogs - where illustrators post different sketches and other types of visual art.
  • Splogs - Spam Blogs are a form of high-pressure advertising.
    Topical Blogs - focus on a particular subject, like mine which is mainly about writing and writing for children in particular.
  • Warblog - highlight events in an ongoing war, often with a biased slant.

Blogs of Interest to Writers
Here are some writer’s blogs that I looked at before I started to write my own and might just give you the inspiration to write your own. I have not told these people I've put their blog on my blog or asked permission to do so. I have no idea if I am suppossed to or not. but I will list them for now anyway and if I get complaints I can always remove them. That is the great thing about blogs, like webistes, nothing is permanent. They are in no particular order.

  • John Baker's Weblog is the blog of a British crime and mystery writer. It was originally intended to trace the development of a novel from conception to completion, but has diverged into book, film and political comment. www.johnbakersblog.co.uk
  • Scriptwriting and Script Reading in the UK is the blog of a scriptwriter working in the UK TV and film industry. www.dannystack.blogspot.com
  • Notes From the Slushpile contains news, talks, essays, workshops and conference notes on writing for children. I have met Candy at my SCBWI-BI meetings and have a lot of respect for her. I hope my blog will grow to be as good and as informative as hers. www.notesfromtheslushpile.co.uk
  • The Felixstowe Scribblers Weblog is an example of how a writing group have collaborated on a joint blog www.nar8or.blogspot.com
  • Grumpy Old Bookman is a blog about books and publishing, aimed at both readers and writers. Listed by the Guardian as one of the top ten literary blogs. www.grumpyoldbookman.blogspot.com
  • Judes' Writing Corner is the blog that really made my mind up for me on whether I should blog or not. So, I blame Jude for this blog. No, I should say, I thank Jude for this blog, as when she told everyone about hers on Wordpool and the SCBWI-BI Yahoo group, it gave me the push I needed to get started. I had to enrol to post on Jude's blog and then I began to experiment for myself. The rest is history. Take a look at Jude's blog here. www.judes-writing.blogspot.com

Anyway, this is my blog. I obviously decided the answer to the question is to blog and I am now officially a blogger. So far, I have enjoyed blogging. And if it doesn't work out? Then I can always delete it.