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Picture Books that Inspire Kids, and Grown-ups too!

October 23rd, 2020

I’ve now got two lovely grandsons (who I don’t see anywhere near enough of under current restrictions). The elder, who’s just turned four, has always loved books so every  time I visit I try to find something new. And that’s not as easy as it sounds.

The shops are packed with glossy picture books but the actual content is often meaningless drivel that certainly doesn’t stimulate a young mind (and I’m not talking genius level here). Books for kids basically need to be relevant to their lives and what they know about. Only once you’ve put this in place can you start adding the things that will stretch their imagination (dinosaurs, witches, talking pumpkins). So, if you think you can tell a good tale and may be considering writing a picture book then which authors set a brilliant example? Read the rest of this entry »




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NaNoWriMo Versus The Novella

October 9th, 2020

First, thanks to Barry for last week’s post. In these difficult times, when far-flung travel isn’t always an option, it’s good to get some advice on using what’s on your doorstep to craft a successful travel piece.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) will soon be upon us. But, what exactly is it? Their website says:

“National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days. Now, each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with 50,000 words of a brand new novel. They enter the month as elementary school teachers, mechanics, or stay-at-home parents. They leave novelists.”

But if the thought of trying to write a complete novel in a month scares the living daylights out of you, then why not consider a novella?  Most novellas range from 12,000 to 16,000 words. So, they’re not as demanding as a 50 to 100,000-word novel but you’ve more scope for plot and characterisation development than in a short story. At one time, this genre was seriously out of fashion because such short books weren’t considered commercial. But with the surge in e-publishing (and people’s growing desire for a quick read) they’re now a very viable proposition. Read the rest of this entry »




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Could You Be A Travel Writer?

October 2nd, 2020

Travel writing is one of the most coveted departments on a magazine and speak to many freelancers and they’ll tell you that this niche market can be the most difficult to break into, but it needn’t be.

There’s a need for a travel article in almost every magazine on the market, all you have to do is look for the opening. Imagine there’s a popular fishing destination that you are aware of, now look for something nearby, maybe a museum, an antique fair or a church with an interesting history, and you have the makings of a travel article: Family fun while the fisher fishes. How’s that for your tagline?

I’ve been fortunate enough to work as a travel and features writer for an Italian magazine and it all stemmed from one of the modules on my Writers Bureau course. For my course work I spotted a new angle for a travel piece and submitted it. My tutor gave me positive feedback and advice and so I rewrote the article and sent it to an editor and it was accepted. Some may say I was lucky, but I don’t believe in luck in this marketplace. If you write what will interest an editor, it’ll be accepted. The article can be found here: https://www.italymagazine.com/featured-story/take-faith-break-lanciano Read the rest of this entry »




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