Monday 31 October 2016


by Paula Harrison

Me and a crowd of monster-loving children on the growl!

Fortuitously, it falls to me to write the Halloween blog. Lucky, of course because my new book Robyn Silver: The Midnight Chimes is about a girl who is born on the stroke of midnight. Being a 'Chime' means she can see monsters that no one else can see.

Monday 24 October 2016

The Modern Nomad – A Guide to Writing Away from Home

By Nick Cross

I’m sure there are many of you who spend the day in your home study, joyously scribbling, typing or slapping plot-related post-it notes on the wall. Or maybe you are like our very own Teri Terry - who retreats to a shed in her garden - or perhaps Jonathan Frantzen, who famously rents an office with no phone line or internet connection, and has uninstalled everything from his PC apart from a word processor. These are writers who have made themselves a permanent workplace, a semi-domestic environment that nurtures their creativity.

But not everyone can or wants to work this way. If you’re someone with a fulltime non-writing job or responsibilities that take you out of the house, then your writing time will inevitably become fragmented. You’ll find yourself grabbing 20 minutes in a cafe or trying to write on a crowded bus. Even domestically settled writers sometimes need to travel to school or literary events. How then, to balance the act of writing with the unavoidable movements of the day? Grab your coat, Oyster card and (most importantly) your brain, as I explore the opportunities for writing on the move...

Friday 21 October 2016

Diary Of A Slushpiler: In Which I Discover Amazing Plot Twist

By Jo Wyton

The day begins with wake up call number one as the cat's wet nose finds its way onto my face. Cat is shoved gracelessly to the floor. An hour later, wake up call number two provides a familiar feeling of disorientation brought on by a dream in which I finally figured out my much-needed Amazing Plot Twist. Sense of almost being able to recollect it shattered by piercing cry from the nursery as Baby telepathically realises I'm thinking about something other than honing Excellent Parenting Skills.

At eight thirty, I realise I am running late. I am due in London to meet disturbingly talented writing pals and haven't so much as entertained the notion of a shower for three days. Shove hair into ponytail in hope of fooling all of London into thinking I'm making an excellent fashion statement instead of hiding the butternut squash and pea purée lovingly mangled in by overly excited Baby last night whilst I was paying too much attention to Eastenders.

Monday 10 October 2016

Q&A with Inbali Iserles: How to write a series about magical foxes

By Candy Gourlay


Last year my beautiful friend Inbali Iserles managed not only to work as a lawyer, but to have a baby, mind her dog, move house, keep a partner … and write her fantastic Foxcraft trilogy. Not just write. She also did the dreamy black and white illustrations that pepper the books (all illustrations below are by Inbali from the Foxcraft books). Inbali was born in Israel but grew up with coyotes, road runners, snakes and gila monsters in Arizona, which may account for why she’s written reams of books starring animal characters. Welcome to the Slushpile, Inbali. Have you anything to say to prevent our readers from slamming their laptops shut in a fit of jealous pique?

Lovely to join you here, Candy! Thank you for your kind words. I fear the reality is a little less impressive. For instance, I’ve actually written a book a year, rather than all three at once; the house is so messy that my dog’s furballs have their own furballs; there are still unpacked boxes in my study and no pictures on the walls (though I finally got round to getting bookcases put in – priorities, people!); and I’m a *smidge* late on my Foxcraft 3 edits.

Monday 3 October 2016

Word Counts: A Practical guide to Trimming, Tightening and Telling Your Tale by Kathryn Evans

By Kathryn Evans

Word counts matter. Less for some things than  for others - in picture books,  a low word count is generally considered essential, in YA, you can get away with a few thousand words above or below the average, in job applications and personal statements, they are critical. So how do you know your targets and how do you keep within the guidelines?

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