IC Blog Tour

Thanks to Lyndal at Delia Writes for inviting me on the IC Blog Tour. I have been following “Delia Writes” for some time now and her exciting journey to self-publication. “Delia’s Perfectly Pink Earmuffs” has now been published and printed and is a gorgeous children’s picture book.

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The IC Blog’s focus is ‘A great way to elevate meaningful conversation and connections!’  For more information about Insightful Communications Publishing click here.
Below is a set of questions I have answered, that I hope will assist in the writing journey.

Here are the questions:

1. What are your tips for creating meaningful content?

I have a little notebook that I write down quotes, ideas, things that I read or hear on the news or in a movie or things that my friends/family say that might fit into one of my stories one day.

A few years ago I participated in Katherine Battersby’s How to Write a Children’s Book and I also participated in Blogging 101 where I learnt new skills about blogging and writing.  Every year I attend the CYA conference in Brisbane to listen to authors tell their story of what/how they write and their journey to publication and as well as meeting lots of lovely authors, I always pick up lots of tips and new ideas.

2. Books: Everyone has a story, some a book. If you’ve written a book, what was your creative process? What encouragement would you give others just beginning their book writing journey?

After I’d written a couple of children’s picture book manuscripts I sent them to an editor for a manuscript appraisal and she was very helpful, informing me about the structure of a picture book and what she liked/disliked about my stories.   She said, “You’ve got some really good ideas, you just don’t know how to write.”  I was horrified at first but these were my first attempts so I worked hard to improve them.

I then started entering stories in writing competitions – the feedback is invaluable and after a few years it was great to achieve a first place, second place and third place – built up confidence and encouraged me to keep on going.   I also submitted stories to anthologies and magazines.  There’s always somebody looking for flash fiction, poems, short stories and there are loads of writing competitions out there too.

I try to attend writing courses, book launches and author talks whenever I can.  I have found that a lot of these are free through my local libraries.  Following other writers’ blogs is another way to learn new things and stay in touch with what’s going on in the world of writing and publishing.

I’m also a member of  Creative Kids’ Tales and they have competitions, tips for writing and highlight emerging authors and illustrators.

Lastly, every year I submit one or two stories into the ASA Mentorship Program Award, hoping to be allocated a mentor to help me get my story up to a publishable standard.

3. What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t give up – keep on writing.  Even if nobody else ever reads it, it’s still fun and creative and I know my kids love my stories anyway!!

4. What are you working on now, and how can we, as a community, help?

I am still working on my junior fiction chapter book that I started 3 years ago and I’m also having a go at writing a YA novel (started it last November during NaNoWriMo) and hope to finish it this November.

I’ve been thinking about applying for a grant so I can do a paid mentorship program so if anyone has any tips about applying for a grant I’d love to hear about them.

Thanks for reading.  If you’d like to join the tour and inform people about your writing please do and link back here.

Have a great weekend.

CYA Conference 2013 Part 2

Welcome back.  Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Continuing on from my last post…

The CYA conference started at 8am with registration and coffee, then onto the opening, Indigenous Recognition and the competition winners presentation.  Drum roll please…My chapter book entry (for younger readers) scored 3rd Place – Yay!!  I was very excited.  Congratulations to my friend Dimity who came second place in the same category, my friend Cath who took out 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the non-fiction picture book category and all the other winners and competitors.

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Then onto talks from editors, authors and illustrators.  I had the privilege of listening to many talented authors including –

Pam Rushby (author of The Horses Didn’t Come Home) – she taught us how to write a 60 second ‘Elevator Pitch’ that you could pitch to your favourite editor if you just happened to meet them in an elevator!

– Jackson Pearce (US author of many YA novels including Sisters Red, Sweetly and Fathomless) who spoke about the ins and outs of writing YA novels.

– Tristan Bancks (writer of hilarious children’s books).  I really enjoyed listening to his stories and how he came up with his ideas.  I ended up getting a signed copy of “Nitboy” for Miss 7.  She loved it.  Tristan also showed us how to use a creative writing scrapbooking tool on the computer that brought together images, music, videos and text.  A great resource for teachers and students too.

– Mark Carthew (award-winning editor and author of rhyming picture books).  I hadn’t read any of his books before so I’m glad he read some out.  The Gobbling Tree,  The Moose is Loose and Five Little Owls are amazing!  Very clever and entertaining.

And the last session I went to was an interesting panel discussion about YA novels – “Is ‘edgy’ the only choice for YA authors?

Before the conference finished we all met back at the auditorium to listen to a number of success stories (from illustrators and authors) which was very uplifting and inspiring.

Thanks very much to the CYA team – Tina, Ally and Sam for all their hard work and effort.  It was an excellent day and I’ll definitely be back again next year.

CYA Conference 2013 Part 1

On Saturday 6th July I attended the CYA (Children’s and Young Adult Writers and Illustrators) Conference in Brisbane and it was so huge that I thought I’d write two (or maybe even more) posts about it!  It was absolutely fantastic and I highly recommend going if you ever get the chance (next year it’s on the 5th July, so pencil it in your diary!)

Every year the CYA team run a writing and illustrating competition (opens early Jan and closes at the end of April) and there are about 8 different categories that you can enter.  Last year I didn’t really know much about the conference but I entered two of my children’s picture books (one in the preschool category and one in the primary school category) in the writing competition.  I wasn’t placed anywhere but the feedback I received was awesome. Two pages of comments and scores with very helpful ideas and suggestions that inspired me to keep on writing.

This year I entered two stories again – one in the primary school children’s picture book category and the other in the chapter book (for younger readers) category.  Well, when I received the email telling me that my chapter book entry had been shortlisted I was very excited and thought that I should definitely go to the conference and find out what it’s all about.  And I’m so glad I did!

As well as meeting other emerging writers and hearing about their highs, lows and success stories and listening to published Authors and Illustrators speak (great tips and inspiration), another plus for attending the conference is that you can book in a time to “Pitch your manuscript” to an Editor or Agent.  At the conference there were Editors and Agents from Random House, Macmillian, New Frontier Publishing and Wombat Books to name a few.

Unfortunately I wasn’t quite on the ball this year and only decided to attend conference on the 2nd July, whereas if you wanted to “Pitch”, your manuscripts had to be sent in by, I think, the 14th June!  I’ll know for next year.  How exciting to actually be sitting face to face with an editor hoping they will love your story as much as you do!

Do tune in to Part 2 later in the week where you’ll hear about some of the wonderful Authors and Illustrators that presented at the conference. 

Also, if you’ve attended the CYA conference before I’d love to hear what you thought about it and if you have any success stories. 🙂