ReviMo – Day 5, 6 & 7

ReviMo 2014

Ok, so the end of ReviMo 2014 has arrived. How did you do? I didn’t do too badly. I admit that I didn’t quite get around to revising 7 manuscripts but I did manage 5 and that is the important part – that some of my picture book manuscripts did get a good looking over and a bit of sprucing. If I hadn’t have entered this writing challenge at all, I would have achieved nothing, so 5/7 to me is a bonus.

Day 5 Revisions

  • This manuscript was another idea from my stay in Dunedin, New Zealand. It will hopefully be a historical fiction picture book (my favourite type to read and write)
  • I looked at my notes and brief story outline and filled in the gaps
  • I decided that I was trying to fit in too much of the main character’s life and therefore needed to focus on one main aspect – bingo – it suddenly came to me – as it often does – focus on the news of the Titanic sinking – this leads to what my main character decides to do next and the rest is history as they say!
  • I have to try and avoid it being too sad a story as drownings are part of the historical content, but there is a good ending and sense of achievement at the end!

I never managed to get around to revise for days 6 and 7, but I enjoyed the challenge never-the-less. I am further with my work than I was a week ago – how great is that!

During the challenge there was some great interviews and advice each day from the following:

Deborah Underwood

Miranda Paul

Ame Dykeman

Shirley Smith Duke

Jim Averbeck

Lindsay Barrette George

Simone Kaplan



ReviMo – Day 3 and 4

Phew! The days are whizzing by! I am busy with kids on their holidays, a birthday boy, joining in #illo52weeks and ReviMo – so yesterday even though I participated in Day 3 of ReviMo, I didn’t get time write a post about it. So I am doing 2 in one today.

Day 3 Revisions

  • I revisited a relatively new manuscript which was begun during last years PiBoIdMo 2013 writing challenge
  • This story came about because of a few nick nacks I found whilst on one of my weekly walks (there is a lot of sitting down with writing and illustrating)
  • It has been critiqued once, and rewritten twice. Yesterday was the third time I rewrote the beginning and therefore changed the rest to make it flow to the end.
  • it’s starting to feel more solid and believable as a story
  • word count: 499 🙂

Day 4 Revisions

  • Today I revisited a new favourite, written in the depths of a sustainable farm in Dunedin, New Zealand whilst staying with family.
  • It’s a sentimental story of family, growth, sustaining resources, new life ad a good life!
  • wrd count: 481

These challenges have made me look at and work on manuscripts that otherwise would be left alone until the kids were back at school.

I look forward to my critique group’s feedback! 🙂

ReviMo – Day 2

Yes, I know I am writing two posts on the same day but international times always confuse me as does daylight savings. This causes huge problems when I enter USA writing challenges online.

As a teenager in Jersey, Channel Islands, every year I would go to my Saturday job an hour too early or an hour too late when the clocks went back and forward. It is something I will never beat!

Anyway, today is day 2 for ReviMo and you can read Meg Miller’s latest post with Miranda Paul  here: ReviMo day 2 – Interview with Miranda Paul

Day 2 revisions:

  • I revisited an old picture book manuscript started in November 2011 (yes I know that is over 2 years ago)
  • I went back through it using Review/Track Changes on word
  • I then created an A5 dummy version of it to see how the text flows and how effective the page turns are
  • word count: 427 (much better compared to yesterdays 700)
  • it has a Librarian theme – therefore I have quite a huge target market – town libraries, school libraries, preschool book corners (much different to yesterdays manuscript again)

Now just need to get my critique group to read it as they haven’t seen it for a while and they may be able to see it with fresh eyes too!


ReviMo – Revise More Picture Books Week – Day 1

A new year comes with new challenges.

I have already mentioned how I have started a new illustration challenge here:

52 week illustration challenge

My next challenge is by Meg Miller:

ReviMo – Revise More Picture Books Week – from January 12-18, 2014. 



So today I sat down and looked back at an oldie but a goodie. I like to look at manuscripts that have been put to the side for a while as it helps me look back at them with fresh eyes. This particular manuscript was started in May 2012 and was received well by my critique group but it is a hard sell to publishers.

  • It is around 700 words (which is deemed as too long for picture books nowadays)
  • It is historical fiction (which I love and want to write more of for the younger age)
  • It is a sequence of letters back and forth between a 6 year old girl and her father in 1929
  • it possibly has a niche or small target market (Jersey folk – as in Old Jersey – and Australians)

It may be that I will have to self-publish it one day or it may really appeal to a publisher from a traditional house – who know’s in this tricky world of books.

It was good to go over it again and get it closer to the submitting stage which is what ReviMo is all about!


End of PiBoIdMo 2013

Well, it has certainly been a busy November – I managed to finish this years writing challenge PiBoIdMo 2013 with 36 ideas. I admit that some days I thought my  brain had run dry of any more picture book concepts or ideas but at the last minute something always entered my mind and Bingo! Of the 36 ideas I think at least 3 have potential. 3 is better than nothing, which is what I may have had by the end of November had I not participated. One of those ideas developed into a full manuscript and counted as my November draft for the other writing challenge that I am also participating in: Julie Hedlunds 12 x 12!

I completed the November challenge!

So, if you also participated in this years PiBoIdMo 2013 challenge well done!

Picture Book Month & PiBoIdMo2013!

The 1st of November is quite a big day in the world  of picture books for the following two reasons:


1. – It is the first day of PiBoIdMo 2103 which means anyone participating has to come up with a new picture book idea or concept each day of November! Find out more here: PiBoIdMo2013.

Have you come up with your idea for day 1 yet? Thankfully, mine just came to me after reading todays post on Tara Lazar’s blog via guest Diane De Las Casas. So that’s 1 down 29 to go. 🙂




2. – It is also Picture Book Month which means it is the time to celebrate your love of picture books. Find out more here: Picture Book Month

Screen shot 2013-11-01 at 12.11.17 PM

With my children still bringing back picture books from their school library each week, we get to enjoy and celebrate picture books often.


Godluck with your writing!

PiBoIdMo 2013 is about to begin!



On 1st November 2013 PiBoIdMo will begin. This will be my third year participating in this writers challenge and I highly recommend it to get the literary juices flowing.

For each of the 30 days of November your challenge is to come up with a new picture book idea or concept. It is then up to you how much you develop it. I have come up with some of my best manuscripts from ideas conceived during PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Ideas Month).

To register for free or find out more go to Tara lazar’s website here: Writing For Kids (While Raising Them)


And if you like to write verse stories or rhyming children’s poems you may also want to enter Jackie Hosking’s New Spring Competition over at Pass It On the networking e-zine for children’s writers and illustrators. (Competition closes 30th October)


Enjoy! 🙂


Chapter Book Challenge 2013

Finally, here is my first post for 2013 and it starts with a new challenge. You can read about it here: Chapter Book Challenge 2013. Have you entered? Here is what it is about:

‘The Chapter Book Challenge is an informal challenge, and it is self-directed. At the end of the challenge, you let me know if you have completed the challenge, and I trust that you will be honest. The challenge itself is to write the first draft of an early reader, HiLo book, chapter book, middle grade book or even a YA book, and to write the book from start to finish, during the month of March, from March 1st through March 31st.’

(Quote from Rebecca at  Chapter Book Challenge Blog)


This will indeed be a huge challenge for me as I have not written a complete chapter book before. So in between waiting for feedback from manuscripts I have already sent ‘out there’ to editors, publishing houses and magazines, I will be working towards these other writing challenges.  Including:

I will also be working on all my manuscripts that are works  in progress. Rewriting, revising, polishing, editing, etc. On top of that I will be keeping a close eye on other deadlines and opening dates, such as:

  • New Frontier Publishing – who are looking for submissions to their Little Rocket Series (I don’t have one ready for this, but you might have)
  • Penguin – they have an incredibly useful calendar of the types of submission they are looking for each month

Fingers crossed I am getting closer to having a manuscript accepted in 2013 and goodluck to whatever project you are working on too! 😉


12x12x12 Picture Book Writing Challenge Completed!

At the beginning of the year I wrote about a writing challenge I had decided to join: Participant Badge for 12 x 12 in 2012. Then half way through the year I wrote about it again to mark a milestone: Halfway through the 12 x 12 writing challenge. Now we have come to the end of the year and it is time to write the final update about the challenge and how I went with it.

I am glad to say I did it, I managed to write 12 manuscript drafts for picture books and I am now looking forward to rereading them again in the new year. I look forward to editing and rewriting the manuscripts until they are polished and ready to be submitted to the big wide world of publishing houses. During the journey I learnt many tips on writing:

  • On the very first page start with a strong sentence – let the reader know who the story is about, where they are, when the story is happening and what the problem may be
  • Try to show the story in the words you are using, rather than tell the obvious in story (something which the illustrator will do for you)
  • Make sure your character grows in the journey of trying to achieve their goal
  • Use fresh language that will be a pleasure to listen to
  • resolve your story with a satisfying end!

I’d like to ‘Thank’ Julie Hedlund for creating the writing challenge and if you have also completed the challenge, well done!


Halfway through the 12 x 12 writing challenge!

I woke up to a party going on in my writing blog world. It is official, we are half way through the 12 Picture books in 12 months in 2012 writing challenge. I have previously written about it here in my New Year – New Goals  post.

The 12 x 12 writing challenge was the brain child of Julie Hedlund, visit her and join in her party too! While you’re at it, why don’t you click here and visit all the other 12 x 12 party goers too!

So, have I managed to write a picture book manuscript each month so far? Thankfully the answer to that is yes! And the very reason that I can keep coming up with new ideas each month is what is actually keeping me going. Because sometimes you do start to doubt yourself (am I wasting my time, am I actually any good at this, what if I run out of ideas, blah, blah, blah) But I do keep coming up with new ideas and this is what keeps me going. Here are some of the story ideas I have written about so far:

January – A young boy is looking for clean undies…

February – Florence loves the library but…

March – Farley the fox has trouble doing something that all foxes should be able to do.

April – A little penguin is determined to be able to fly just like his friends.

May – A caterpillar and a tadpole are the best of friends and help each other when something very strange happens to them!

June – Letters go back and forth between a father and his daughter in 1929.


A selection of the manuscripts written this year so far. Plus my PiBoIdMo 2011 notebook that I use for my ideas.

Happy writing and thanks for stopping by!


New note:

Due to a lot of discussion on our 12 x 12 Facebook page  I have cut my story pitches back. This is because posting whole stories or pitch ideas may be copied by others or make them invalid for publishing as they have already been seen. This may mean that some of your lovely comments below might not make as much sense, sorry!