Monthly Archives: February 2011


We couldn’t be more chuffed to let you know that the wonderful talent behind Erroll, Evil Weasel and The Great Hamster Massacre has come on board as our official illustrator this year.  As our particular friends we thought you’d like a look at the front cover artwork in progress…

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Get scribbling!

Jenny Valentine reading at Hay

Phew – it’s been crazy busy around here!  The 2011 programme is pretty much sewn up and we’re bursting to let you all in on what will be going on.  So, as of this week our blog posts are going to come out of hibernation and get cracking with what’s happening at Hay Fever this May.  And what better way could there be to kick of a new season of blogging than

Jenny Valentine, the genius author behind Broken Soup, Finding Violet Park, The Ant Colony and The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight, has generously shared her top writing tips with us.  So whether you’re planning on entering 500 WORDS or you’re just scribbling away for your own enjoyment take a peek and let us know you’re own top tips.

My Writing Tips by Jenny Valentine


This is the fun bit. This is about who you are and how you sound when you are writing.  Once you’ve found it, you’ve found it, a bit like riding a bike.

Listen to the different voices you write in and find the one that sounds most like you.


It doesn’t matter what happens in your story if you don’t care about who it’s happening to.

Choose a character.

It might help to base it on someone you know to start with but there are no rules.  Think about this person.  Not as part of a story.  Just about who they are, the things they care about or do, the way they look to themselves and others.

This can be a very useful thing to do before the story starts because by then you’re working with someone you know pretty well.


What is your story about?  Is there something in particular you want to say?  Must you start out knowing or can you learn along the way?

Think about the theme.

What kind of story do you want to write?  Comedy?  Horror?  Adventure?

Are there issues you want to look at?


A beginning, a middle and an end.

This is what I think about beginnings, middles and ends.

Every story has them.  Every day has them.  Every meal has them.

You just don’t always have to know what they are in advance.

Can you outline a beginning, middle and end for your story?

(If you can’t, don’t panic.  Sometimes you can just start and see what happens.  That’s what I do.)


Remember that you only have 500 words to fit everything in.  If you wander off a bit, don’t be afraid to go back and cut things out.  Stick to the point.  That’s just good editing.

Good luck!

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