Monday, April 25, 2016

Launch of new blog Papers Pens Poets

Today, I launched a brand new blog for a life-long fetish of mine – stationery. It is called Papers Pens Poets and is the place for writers and other stationery addicts to show their passion for paper and pens.
We have launched today to coincide with the start of National Stationery Week.

The blog is the brain child of my friend and fellow children’s writer Jo Franklin. She had invited me to the London Stationery Show, an annual event where stationery creators and retailers come together to network, and we were discussing travel arrangements and our plans for the day over messenger, Thursday 21st April at 16:34. Jo said:
“Let’s tell the stall holders we are going to create a stationery review blog called something like Papers Pens Poets aimed at writers and we are looking for products to review with links back to their websites.”
To which I replied:
“Wow. Sounds cool. We should do that.”
So we did.

Over the weekend we created a website with blog and contact facilities. Our current header was designed especially for us by the wonderful, Chitra Soundar, children’s book writer and stationery enthusiast. We set up author interviews, made and ordered business cards, found quotes from famous authors to go on our business cards, set up a Twitter page and an Instagram page and also wrote and scheduled several posts. We were very, very busy.


We are going to be doing lots of stationery reviews, articles and interviews with writers and illustrators. If you are a writer, artist and avid stationery lover and would like to be interviewed about your passion for stationery please let me know by leaving a message.

You can also follow and comment on our blog on Wordpress, pop over and wish us a happy launch day on Twitter @paperspenspoets and follow and hashtag us on Instagram. You can read my post about National Stationery Week and the writing matters campaign here.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Columnist or Feature Writer? That is the question

I have been writing for the national writing magazine Writers' Forum for over ten years. I started as a freelance author, interviewing other writers I met on courses and conferences, about their writing and writing process and would send these features in with fingers crossed hoping the editor then, John Jenkins, would accept them. More often than not he did.

When the magazine changed hands the new editor, Carl Styants, was not so interested in off-spec features and after a few rejections, follow-up emails and a discussion over the telephone, he asked me to write on a more regular basis on the theme of research, something that has always fascinated me.

So in October 2008, I started to write a monthly double-spread feature on research techniques with tips on researching from successful authors across different genres. The focus is on what works for them and how this could benefit other writers. The column aims to give the reader useful tips on research - specific books and websites, museums and place to go to, etc and to show how the writer being interviewed used their research in their book. The feature is written up as though they are telling me about their research and the questions themselves do not appear.

Since then I have considered myself a columnist with a regular monthly column on writers and their research. However, I have recently been informed I may not be a columnist, I am a regular feature writer. When it comes to the crunch on considering whether I am a ‘columnist’ or ‘featurist’ (I may have just made-up that word) I believe it depends on what your definition is of a column and a feature.

As I found this idea very interesting, I decided to do some research on the topic. There is a lot of confusing and sometimes contradicting definitions. The best explanation for me was Keith Martin’s words on the Quora website. Using his reasoning then, technically I am not a columnist because I interview different people each month and although, the feature is attributed to me the voice and opinions are the writers’ being interviewed. This means I must be a regular feature writer.

This is also true of my new monthly slot in Writers’ Forum on Writing for Children, lunched in the May issue 2016. Although, I have announced it on Facebook and twitter as a new column, technically it isn’t. It is a monthly feature with tips from successful authors, agents, editors and other professionals from the children’s publishing world. The focus is on what works for them and how this could benefit children’s book writers. It is written as if they are talking to me, from their point of view and none of the questions are shown.

After much deliberation though, I have decided I am going to keep the heading ‘My Columns’ in the menu of my website because I think it sounds better than, ‘My Regular Features’.

I would be pleased to hear your thoughts and suggestions about whether you consider me to be a columnist, or a regular feature writer, or even what I should call myself. (Please be polite)

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Writing for Children with Anita Loughrey


Fri 13 May 2016 to Sun 15 May 2016
This course is ideal for beginners who want to write fiction for children of all ages and also those who have started to write and wish to develop their skills further
Friday 3.00 p.m. to Sunday 12.30 p.m.
13-15 May 2016
The Hayes Conference Centre Swanwick Derbyshire
All inclusive fee £245 Single en suite. All meals and refreshments.
Free Parking. Non-participating partners welcome
Attend as a Resident or Day Visitor
Book early and pay by instalments

This course is ideal for beginners who want to write fiction for children of all ages and also also for those who have started to write their books and wish to develop their writing skills further. 
Topics to be covered: 
• Different types of Writing for Children – genre/age groups 
• Plot and structure 
• Themes. 
• Writing picture books
• Writing chapter books 
• Developing characters 
• Opening and first pages

The weekend course is informal and fun - go home with an idea for a picture book and an idea for a chapter book for older children. Write in a supportive atmosphere, discuss your ideas, how to develop them and where to pitch them. 
Please let your group know about our weekend Creative Writing Courses. Every effort is made to keep the fees at cost and offering you the convenience of paying by instalments.
The emphasis is on ‘Relax & Write’ - Groups are kept small so that you can benefit from the ‘Relax & Write’ writing experience. The venue is an ideal place for writers, meeting  other writers and enjoying the beautiful gardens. A Programme and Badge is handed out on arrival. Free Parking available.