What’s Happening, what to write about and the BBC Writer’s Academy….

cwigconf_logo_web1I start on Monday. First thing BBC Elstree. It feels like starting school, new notebook full of possible pitches and new shoes even though it’s not quite cool enough for them yet. I will miss my early morning swims in the Lido and the chance to wiffle about. I’ve almost finished the final tweaks for the play for Radio 3 and the next two novels are scheduled for 2013 and 14. And I am waiting to hear back from C4 once again…..

Only the sequel to SAWBONES to do (!).

I like writing for broadcast as well as books. I suppose if I had the absolute choice I’d just do books, but it is getting mopre difficult to make a living writing for young readers. In fact sometimes I think it would make more sense to buy scratchcards. Except of course I love stories. When I do a book i just see what happens, if I’m doing a screenwriting job I do what’s needed. And there’s something lovely about putting words in people’s mouths. It is fascinating trying to make stories work, very much, in fact like knitting.

So about ten months ago when I didn’t know I’d be doing the Writer’s Academy I booked a place on the Society of Authors Children’s Writers and Illustrators conference. I went to one two years ago when I was on the committee and it was great, so since I had the money I thought I’d book up as a punter. When you’re a writer there’s a lot of sitting at home staring at the wall so going out and seeing other people and getting to moan about stuff (and put a frock on for the dinner) is always a good idea. But after I’d booked¬† I got asked to do a session too, first off it was about diversity in children’s books. Now, if you know me you’ll know this is a reasonably regular rant. And to be honest I think it will get harder and harder for quirky books to find bricks and mortar publishers. And I think that’s sad, I LOVE¬†my editors, couldn’t do it without them. And writing is a job for me, I need to earn money at it, and that is getting harder and harder. But at the moment, even post Olympics, it’s white faces on books that sell. So what do we do if we want to make a living at books? And anyway isn’t it the same old same old?

I think we have to write the best books we can, but writing a book is a bit like falling in love, you can’t fake it. So write what you want. It’s unlikely it’ll make you any money so you may as well enjoy it. I think my favourite advice is Jacqueline Wilsons’….. but if you want to know what that is come along and hear me and Lauren talk about what publishers are looking for now and whetheryou should really put that Vampire book down and write about Zombies or Dark Angels or Gritty Realism or perhaps, just maybe, write about whatever you’d like….