courses · picture books

September Picture Book Writing Course

Fancy a new challenge this autumn?  My next online picture book writing course starts on 4 September, and there are still some places left.

“Your course is the first one I have taken and I have learned so much over the 6 weeks’ duration.  I now know exactly where I have been going wrong all these years.  It has now given me confidence to start submitting stories again.”  S Stokes, May 2019 course student


A 6 week course starting on 4 September 2019

Price: £150


To research the market and practise picture book writing techniques in order to create an edited draft of a picture book.


Week 1 – Researching the market
Week 2 – Structure and characters
Week 3 – The importance of plot
Week 4 – Picture book language
Week 5 – Edit edit edit
Week 6 – Submitting to agents and publishers

Course materials and structure

The course takes the form of pdfs which contain the course information, handouts and exercises. These will be emailed once a week, but there is no time limit so you can take your time and fit the course in around work and family life.

Support from Lou throughout the course

As a published author of six picture books and another in production, I can help you work towards publication and will be with you every step of the way. I will give you feedback on each week’s assignment so you know you are on the right track before critiquing your final draft.

Finish the course with a completed picture book

Through the course you will research, plan, draft, redraft and ‘submit’ a complete picture book, which I will then critique so you will have the best possible work to go forward towards submitting to agents or publishers.

You will need:

An email address and access to the internet.

Time to do homework (roughly an hour a week minimum).

A passion for writing. That’s it!

How to enrol

Simply email me at to confirm your place, or use the form on my website. Payment should be made before the course starts either by PayPal to my email address, or please request bank transfer details. Payment by instalments welcome as long as the balance is paid before the start date.

About me · Uncategorized

I’m on CBeebies Bedtime Stories!

suranne-jones-snowflake-mistake-012- snippetWell, actually I’m not, but my book is and it will be read by the amazing actress Suranne Jones (of Dr Foster fame) on Friday 15 December at 6.50 pm on CBeebies.  That’s tomorrow!  I’m so excited.  I’ve had to keep this quiet for a long time as I found out by accident when the BBC Pronunciation Department (who knew?) emailed me to find out how to say my name.  That was way back in April so I presume the reading was filmed then, though judging from the photo they have definitely got into the wintery mood with snowy clouds and even the Snow Queen’s ice palace in the background!Snowflake-Mistake-LR-RGB

The illustrator, Maddie Frost, has done such a gorgeous job on the illustrations and I’m so happy for her that they get to be seen up close on screen.  All her textures are scanned in from a variety of different materials and found objects which makes her work unique.  I love it.

So I’m getting ready to put on my dressing gown and slippers, grab my hot cocoa and enjoy.  But I won’t be going to sleep – oh no.  I’ll be watching it another fifty million times first!


blogging · Uncategorized

Please fill out my blogging questionnaire!

I am writing an ebook about blogging for writers – and I need your help.  I’ve put together a questionnaire to find out more about what sort of blogs people write, how often they post, how they feel about their blogging platform, etc.  If you have a few minutes to spare I’d love you to fill one out and email it to me.  All the questions are optional and you can write as much or as little as you like.

Five questionnaires will be picked at random to receive a free copy of the ebook (provisionally entitled Better Blogging for Writers) when it is finished.  I’ll also include links to any blogs I discuss.  Click on the link or the picture to download the questionnaire.  Many thanks and I look forward to reading all about your blog!

Download Blogging Questionnaire

blogging questionnaire

Interactive story

Interactive story part 3

The votes are in and the winner is Option C, so let’s see how those baby scumworlders are going to cope without mum (you cruel voters, you!)…

Catch up with previous episodes here.

The Adventures of Boz Part 3

Boz shuffled the ant entrails around with his foot.  “They’re all yours,” he read out slowly.  Was this Mrs Boz’s way of sending him some lunch?  If so, he really didn’t like the look of it.

“Congratulations.”  Slimey Sorg put an oozing hand on his shoulder.  “You’re a dad, three thousand times over.”

“But I’ve missed the birth!” Boz cried, his heart sinking.  “Is… is she angry with me?”

“You could say that.  Come on, old chap.”

Sort guided Boz to the rickety wooden lift and they were pulled up to the surface by a team of slow-witted apes, or ‘Rooneys’ as they were known.

Boz climbed out into the bright daylight.  The rocky world of Scumworld Six was harsh and featureless – apart from a giant basket of baby Scumworlders right in front of him.  Boz’s eyes filled with tears of emotion as he peered into the basket at his spectacularly ugly children, pushing and shoving each other and wailing horribly.  Then he saw the note.

“Dear Boz,

I have just given birth 3,000 times.  I’m rather tired.  So now let’s see how you manage.  I’m off to the Slimey Spa.

Mrs Boz.”

“Well, I suppose it could be worse,” Boz said, trying to look on the bright side.  “There’s only about 500 here, I reckon.”

“Yes,” nodded Sorg sagely.  “And another 500 over there, and another 500 over there, and…”

Boz spun round wildly.  Sorg was right.  Unattended, the babies had been escaping.  They grew fast in the slime-enriched climate of Scumworld Six and were already crawling in every direction.

“Well,  at least there are 500 left,” he said, glancing nervously at Sorg.

“Boz….” Sorg said warningly.  “Are you a dad, or aren’t you?  Come on, take some responsibility!  And this air gun.  With a few good shots you can pick off that lot on the horizon.”

“No!” protested Boz, waving Sorg’s gun away.  “I’m going to do this properly.  I’m going to be a father and prove myself to Mrs Boz!”

Rolling up his slime-stained sleeves, Boz prepared to leap into action.  But which babies should he rescue first?  There were thousands of them!

My Writing

Sweet Things

I am delighted that my nasty adult fairy tale, Sweet Things, has found a home on the horror and crime website Thrillers, Killers ‘n’ Chillers.  Adults only please (the clue is in the name).

There are many great ezines out there showcasing new and old work by both established and up-and-coming authors – but I have to add that this one topped the Preditors and Editors readers poll for best online fiction magazine (!  Keep up the good work, Col and Matt.

Interactive story

The votes are in, and the winner is…

It’s been very exciting watching the voting for what’s going to happen to Boz in part 2 of the interactive story.  Option C, invasion of Scumworld Six, was a clear winner most of the way through with the other votes split between Boz being given the sack and his wife giving birth to three thousand babies.  However at the last minute there was a rush on Option B and so poor Mrs Boz is about to give birth.

I’d been mentally composing an invasion scene in my head all week but that has had go (perhaps the Narvagins will return later?) and instead we are going to see how Boz copes with fatherhood.  I’ve got a feeling things are not going to go smoothly…

Read episode 2

Writing conferences

Get Writing 2010

I recently attended the “Get Writing 2010” conference at the University of Hertfordshire, hosted by Veralum Writers Circle. It was a fantastic day and I will be blogging further about the event and writing conferences in general, but for now I thought I’d share the advice I picked up that meant the most to me.

  • You CAN submit to more than one agent at once – they understand why.  But be honest in your dealings.
  • A lot of agents/publishers don’t read the synopsis until they have sampled your writing.  Good news for all syposis-phobes.
  • The synopsis doesn’t have to be 1 page, but it shouldn’t be much longer.
  • A book proposal shouldn’t be too grandiose – don’t make huge claims. Be businesslike and brief.
  • Agents/publishers DO read everything they are sent, although they may not make it past the covering letter.
  • Agents/publishers ARE still looking for good writing.
  • The industry is on the verge of change with regard to electronic formats, and nobody is quite sure what the future holds.
  • “Published writers are only unpublished writers who didn’t give up.” (I have heard this before but I love it.)
  • Tailor your submission to the agent/publisher and if possible use a name, not “Dear Whoever”.
  • You CAN refer to positive feedback you have had in the past (for example, as part of a rejection letter) if you frame it in terms of showing how you have worked on improving as a result of that feedback.
  • Be more than a one book wonder.
  • Show you are willing to participate in readings, visits, website presence etc – it didn’t used to be important but it is vital now.  You don’t necessarily need a website before you are published, but you almost certainly will after and it will probably be your responsibility.
  • Don’t give up the day job.  Look on writing as a supplementary income.
  • Enjoy the writing process – otherwise why bother?