Writing Processes Blog Tour

Thank you to Penny Morrison for inviting me to be part of the ‘Writing Processes Blog Tour.’

Penny is the author of the Hey! series and is currently having her debut picture book illustrated  (to be published by Walker Books Au). How exciting is that!

Have a look at Penny’s post for the ‘Writing Processes Tour.

So here are the following questions to explain my processes:

Works in progress
Works in progress

What am I working on?

Everything at the moment, which feels a bit hectic. But I am working for 3 deadlines/closing dates which are happening in the following week:

  • I have to submit manuscripts for appraisals at this years SCBWI Conference
  • submit a manuscript to CYA Conference Writing Competition
  • submit a manuscript to KBR Unpublished Picture Book Award Competition

Actually, the first one is the only job I have to do, but the second two are what I need to do to help me develop into a more satisfying and successful writer. Entering competitions helps you work towards deadlines. Some offer feedback sheets which are invaluable and help you to spot strengths and weaknesses in your own work.

So, what am I working on?

3 chapter books/ middle grade novels

1 rhyming picture book manuscript ( I know, rumour has it that they are not easy to sell to publishers, unless the ryhme is perfect – I intend to make it perfect 😉

2 prose picture books

and Tania McCartney’s 52 Week Illustration Challenge

This weeks theme: Horse
This weeks theme: Horse

How does my work differ from others of it’s genre?

I learnt a new word last year – scatalogical. I submitted a manuscript to an American Literary Agency for Julie Hedlund’s 12 X 12 Writing Challenge (write 12 picture book manuscripts in 12 months). The agent replied to me with a very nice rejection letter explaing that ‘scatalogical’ humour was not her thing.

I don’t know why but many of my manuscripts seem to contain scatalogical humour in some shape or form including: cow pats, bird poo, super-glue poo. Maybe that’s how it differs.

I also have two manuscripts which have a connection to the island I was born on – Jersey, Channel Islands.

Why do I write what I do?

I have often read blogs that say don’t write to trends, write about what you know or enjoy.

Well, I know about Jersey, living on a tiny island and Jersey cows.

But I’m not an expert on a great variety of poos – although I have stood in dog poo (which isn’t lucky) and bird poo has landed on me  (but that’s ok because it’s lucky.)

I love history and therefore I have two manuscripts that are historical. Both are based around real events. One is a picture book which made my daughter cry. She thought it was a horrible story as the father wasn’t going to make it back in time for his daughter’s birthday. (She threw the manuscript on the floor!)

The other one is a middle grade novel which is so exciting to write but difficult too. It is based in 50BC and as I wasn’t around then it is quite hard to make sure I am including details that would have existed then, eg: food, transport, tradition, clothes (or lack of – Gauls had been known to fight naked!), family life, rules, etc…

How does my writing process work?

In the past I have entered Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Ideas Month). Or I have seen something in the news or in the newspaper, on Facebook or something my kids have done – and Bingo! It has given me an idea.

I then go through the following quick checklist:

  • WHO is the main character?
  • WHAT is the problem/ inciting event?
  • WHERE is this happening?
  • WHEN is it happening?

I write the first draft. Spell check it. Read it out loud into my voice memo onto my iphone (this is especially useful for my rhymimg text)

I have recently come across this devise to help you hear your work: http://www.naturalreaders.com/index.php

I also get my 8 year old daughter to read out the manuscript aloud.

Then I meet up with my brilliant critique group and they give me valuable feedback on the good and the bad. And I rewrite, rewrite and rewrite until the writing feels polished and every word is needed. This can sometimes be hard to judge.

And now to introduce next week’s blogger;

Rob Harding

Rob Harding
Rob Harding

Rob Harding is a voice-over artist, TV presenter and kids author. You have probably heard Rob’s voice before – perhaps on the radio or TV for Coke or Optus or perhaps one of those ads where he shouts at you about a Massive Clearance Sale. He appears on the BBC’s pre-school channel CBeebies, where he gets to dress up as a gnome and speak in a pirate accent, although usually not at the same time. 

Rob has also written several critically acclaimed children’s books. At this stage, none of these books have actually been published, so the critical acclaim only comes from Rob’s kids. His wife thinks they’re OK. His dog thinks they stink. (Which actually isn’t such a bad thing because she used to eat her own poopy.)

Find out more at www.robharding.com.
Thanks for stopping by,
Ramona x

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! 🙂


PiBoIdMo 2012 Complete

My lovely notebook now filled with a whole months worth of new ideas!
My lovely notebook now filled with a whole months worth of new ideas!

Yesterday I completed a writing challenge – the PiBoIdMo 2012 – which stands for Picture Book Ideas Month. This is the second year that I have participated in this PiBoIdMo writing challenge. I have written previously about it here, PiBoIdMo 2012 and here, PiBoIdMo 2011.

The great thing about this challenge is that I now have 30 new picture book concepts that I can work on over the next year. Last year 2 out of the 30 ideas have turned into complete manuscripts. 2 others have potential and 1 has been turned into a middle grade chapter book. The challenge is great for encouraging you to brainstorm for new ideas. Some will never amount to anything, but that doesn’t matter.

This year I am quite excited about 2 of my ideas, 6 more have potential and I have even managed to come up with a couple of history themed picture books which of course is an area I really enjoy reading and writing about.

So, If you have also completed the challenge this year, don’t forget to sign the pledge over at Tara lazar’s website here: Take The PiBoIdMo 2012 Winner’s Pledge!

I'm a winner are you?
I’m a winner are you?

Picture Book Ideas Month 2012

It’s that time of year again where you can challenge yourself for the whole month of November. Today is the last chance to sign up, as it starts on the 1st November 2012.

What’s the challenge?

It’s PiBoIdMo 2012 organised by the inspirational Tara Lazar – it means on everyday of November you have to come up with an idea for a picture book.

Just the idea, that is all. How hard can that be? Surprisingly enough, some days it can be quite tricky! If you can write a first draft from that idea, even better but not necessary.

I entered PiBoIdMo 2011  last year – it was my first writing challenge I had ever entered. Out of the 30 days of ideas I managed to come up with, I have turned two picture book concepts into fully fledged manuscripts. Both  are now out there in some slushpile waiting to be picked up, loved and wanted (hopefully I say with fingers crossed!)

All you need is:

  • a little imagination
  • a pen and notebook or computer
  • cup of tea and biscuit


Hello world!

Birds are not usually a subject I paint, but I love Kookaburras and thought I would give it a go.

After a long break from drawing, painting and other artistic activities, I have decided to venture back into the world of imagery again. Life is too short not to take risks every now and then, so I have been taking myself out of my comfort zone and giving myself new challenges.

I have been attending writing courses for picture books, practicing digital art with Art Rage on my Bamboo pad and have recently completed the PiBoIdMo writing challenge. I am feeling quite proud of mysel, but also a little bit nervous.

I would like to be a children’s author. And one day I would like to illustrate my own books. Which one should I pursue first? Should I be an Artist or an Author?