Thursday, June 16, 2016

Picture Book Retreat in Herne Bay

Last weekend I was teaching a course on writing picture books in Herne Bay, Kent.

The course launched with wine and nibbles at the Grosvenor House guesthouse, hosted by the lovely Frances Brown. I did a presentation on the myths of picture book writing and we all got to know each other. We then walked into Herne Bay town, to a local art gallery called, One New Street Gallery, owned by Helen Wilde and her partner Terry Sole. They had arranged a private viewing of paintings by John Butterworth for us before we went to eat at an amazing little Italian pizza house, A Casa Mia on High Street.

After breakfast, our morning session kicked off with an introduction to picture books looking at word count, structure and themes. We spent time analysing a wide range of picture books looking for common features and what appealed to us as readers. This sparked lots of interesting discussion.

For lunch, we went to an adorable vintage tea shop with lace table clothes on William Street called, Very Vintagebefore embarking on our afternoon sessions where all the delegates plotted a new picture book. They shared and discussed their ideas within the group and for homework were asked to complete their stories and make dummy books to show the group in the morning.

Each course member completed their homework to a high standard and I was impressed with the quality of the stories they presented. They had all taken on board everything I had said about plot and structure. After looking at each of the picture book dummies we started another picture book idea, inspired by group work and role play to develop a new character.

During the final session, we discussed the submission process, writing a picture book elevator pitch and I told everyone my top ten tips for being a picture book writer. 

We are hoping to run a similar course in the Autumn. If you are interested please contact Frances Brown at Grosvenor House Events, Herne
Places are limited to six people per course. It is also a fantastic venue for writing retreats.

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