The Picture Book Prize / Chapter Book Prize

Just a little reminder that there’s still time to enter two fabulous writing competitions – but only if you’re quick! Entry closes on 31 October 2020 for both the Picture Book Prize and the (new) Chapter Book Prize run by Writing Magazine together with top agent Julia Churchill and super-duper tale spinner and all round good egg Amy Sparkes. You can win valuable feedback from Amy and Julia to kickstart your writing career, and previous winners of the Picture Book Prize have gone on to be represented and published. Entry is £5 and you can find the details here:

https://www.writers-online.co.uk/writing-competitions/the-chapter-book-prize-2020

https://www.writers-online.co.uk/writing-competitions/the-picture-book-prize-2020/

Publication day giveaway!

Homework on PlutoThis weekend I’m celebrating the release of my new junior fiction title, Homework on Pluto published by Maverick, and as part of that I’ll be giving away a free signed copy to the lovely readers of this blog.  To take part, just comment on this post and I will choose a winner at random on 15 May by printing them out and putting them in a hat.  (A sou’wester probably, judging by the weather at the moment…)

Junior fiction or chapter books are great fun to write.  Here are my tips:

  1. Write to the right length.  6-10,000 words are what you are aiming for.  So think in terms of 6 chapters of 1000 words each to give you a rough outline.
  2. Keep it punchy.  You’ve got a lot to fit in to make a complete book work within this small space, so don’t waste words on lengthy descriptions or long dialogue exchanges.
  3. Write a series.  Readers this age (around 6-10) love series.  Conversely, your first book should be able to stand alone, just in case it doesn’t get followed up.  And you only need present one book to the publisher, as long as it has series potential.
  4. Create memorable characters.  Think Mr Gum, Horrid Henry, Flat Stanley… The character is the book.
  5. Utilise humour.  Don’t be afraid to be silly.  Silliness is underrated.

Homework on Pluto is available to order from all good bookshops, The Book Depository or Amazon.