Miles Stott
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Tips on writing fiction

  • Write from the heart and write what you know and care about
  • Make sure your story has a strong hook; you should be able to distil the essence of your story in a couple of sentences.
  • Don't be afraid to take a risk with your subject material
  • Develop your voice; make us laugh, make us cry
  • Develop your characters; the best storyline won't work if the reader doesn't care about the characters or what happens to them
  • Visit your local bookshop and library regularly to see which titles are popular. Read the bestsellers and the prize winners
  • Proof read your work thoroughly before submitting it
  • Follow the submission guidelines to the letter

Tips on writing picture books

  • Know your audience. The core age for a picture book is 3-5 years, so make sure your subject matter and choice of language reflect this.
  • The best stories deliver a deeper underlying message in a reassuring or funny way.
  • Great humour and clever word play is always a winner. Repeated join-in phrases and sound effects are great to read along with. Funny and silly is good!
  • Your text needs to deliver a full story arc including set-up of characters, plot, action, reaction and satisfying conclusion - but in just 400-600 words. So make every word count!
  • If you do choose to write in verse, your rhyming must be spot-on. Remember Julia Donaldson will be your competition!
  • Strong titles that give a real sense of the theme and atmosphere of the book are crucial selling tools.