Janey Robinson

My First Picture Book Retreat, What a Treat

Aug
12

Last month I joined the SCBWI Picture Book Retreat in rural Worcestershire to hone my writing skills and learn from a raft of writing and illustrating pros. It was my first writer’s retreat, or retreat of any kind in fact. I think, like many, my preconceptions of a retreat was full of negative connotations. Awkward meal times, bunking down with snoring strangers, barefoot hippy types who would surely try to convert you to something, stuff like that. But like most unfounded assumptions I was way off.

Mealtimes were delicious and a racket of chatter, always overrunning as conversations were reluctantly paused. We had separate rooms, phew. No new age conversions, only a collective hope that everyone else’s brilliance would rub off on each other by the end of the weekend. I’ll note that some of us, including me, spent time barefoot, the countryside demands that.

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Picture Book Update: How the Sun Met the Moon

Jul
08

Something special happened this week, a dream of mine came true. My friend, fellow critique grouper and hugely talented author illustrator James Hutchons, surprised me with an illustrated spread inspired by the first picture book text I ever shared with him. I was, and still am, very excited about it. This is the first time I’ve seen one of my stories illustrated.

Sausage Dog Stories

May
26

I’ve drafted so many versions of my Sausage Dog Stories, all incomplete, but I can’t and won’t shake the concept. At least this little poem remains true to all of the incarnations. In the meantime I think I might just be getting to the heart of what I want these stories to be, watch this space.

Wolfy & B

Wolf and Bear; an inseparable pair.

One smooth haired, one wire haired,

Both short legged, without a care. (more…)

Event Report: Writing Non-fiction For Children

Apr
28

I’ve not written any children’s non-fiction before so I’m excited to learn something completely new as I arrive for today’s SCBWI Author Masterclass in a room above a pub, five minutes walk from Trafalgar Square. There’s a full house of writers as we’re welcomed and introduced to our guru for the afternoon, Judith Heneghan , by SCBWI masterclass series organisers Alison Smith and Cath Jones. It’s clear from Judith’s credentials that we’re in good hands: former commissioning editor, published author of over 50 non-fiction titles, award winner, senior lecturer and director of the annual Winchester Writers’ Festival – definitely guru material.

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Event Report: How To Write For Children and Young Adults

Apr
04

Arriving at the Bloomsbury Publishing offices on a peaceful square in central London I’ve long forgotten the earlier unwelcome alarm clock and feel an excited anticipation for the annual How To Write for Children and Young Adults Conference. Ringing the doorbell a friendly Writers & Artists staffer invites me in and directs me towards the noise of sixty other writers and a cup of tea.  (more…)