Tag Archives: Words&Pictures

How I came to be the editor of Words & Pictures, blog magazine for SCBWI BI

I’m a terrible blogger as you can see by the date of the previous post. I write something, think hard and edit it into the bin. I’m in awe of people like Candy Gourlay and Nick Cross who can blog away to order sometimes three or four times a week.

Because of this deficiency, I didn’t volunteer to be the editor of the blogzine (as much a blog as it is a magazine) Words & Pictures. But when I think hard, the fact that I am the editor isn’t such a mystery.

Durnford house

Durnford House, where SCBWIs retreat

I did volunteer. It was to organise the retreat. I volunteered before I’d even been to one. I knew it was going to be splendid, and it was, so having done some event organising (sometimes in a slightly slapdash it’ll-be-fine kind of a way) I thought I can do that with my right arm chained to a radiator and in other such dire situations. But Benjamin said I had a wonderful skill set – I have digital proof of that – and from that point on I’d have done anything for him. Nobody had said that I’d had a wonderful set of anything before. You only have to give me a teensy bit of encouragement and I think I can do anything.

I then checked my email to see what my skill set was and to fathom how he’d got that idea. The truth is I have organised volunteers into organising a conference and I have done a couple of events with high profile speakers (high profile for Southampton) and I have written, edited and produced a few newsletters before but an online magazine, never. How hard can that be? I just have to sit on the sofa with a computer warming my lap, don’t I?


Piccadilly, read the signs

I went to London to find out. I met Candy and Natascha in Piccadilly. The fact that I could say I was going for a meeting and lunch in London did the trick. I can be that shallow. I usually decide pretty snappily what I’m going to do with my life, university, job, where to live, who with, children … and as this was going to take quite a chunk of my time it was up there with those snappy instinctive decisions. When I make a decision like that, I’m committed and if necessary do the mulling afterwards.

I live with a web scientist and a teenager so technically I’m sorted. Plus the floating tech support team that wanders home from time to time (they’re all very good about their washing) is often keen to egg me on.

Daisy egging

Daisy, egging me on

In the mulling, though, it was the umph that worried me. Did I have the online umph to give a SCBWI BI blog zine the exposure it needed? Probably not. though if it worked, or if it didn’t, it would certainly expose me!

The worry prompted action. I’d agreed with Candy and Natascha that I’d I make a plan and so in that obsessive-wandering-round-the-house balancing-laptop-on belly (too many Twirls) way, I found myself making lists and constructing spreadsheets. Determined to make this work, it became a puzzle. With hard thinking and juggling, perfectly possible to do together, I discovered that without asking people for days and days of their time it was definitely possible to make a regularly, if not daily, updated blogzine. (I’m aware that as I write, in the setting up of Words & Pictures, many truly wondrous volunteers have given days of their time, not least of all Candy and Natscha and I’m very grateful for that.)

So the umph…

The wonderful thing about SCBWI is that there are hundreds of people who do have it and being the editor that’s what you need. I don’t have to be a great blogger just know some. When I had an approved plan and could loud hale for people to be involved, they all popped up and started doing what they do brilliantly.


‘a variety of volunteers’ – should be a collective noun…

There are over fifty people on my list of volunteers, which after working as a community worker, with the horribly labelled ‘hard to reach’ (our problem not theirs), I find staggering and very encouraging. If people will respond to actually doooo something, they’ll definitely respond with a click to take a look, you will, won’t you?

Words & Pictures opens its window to the world on March 25th 2013

Save the date and the link..


Here’s just some of what’s in store for launch week and beyond:

  • An exclusive interview by Nicky Schmidt with Ferelith Hordon, former chair of the Carnegie Medal judging committee
  • and Candy Gourlay’s interview with SCBWI shortlisted author, Elizabeth Wien
  • Amanda Lillywhite’s new and exclusive web comic Duck & Bear
  • Kathy Evan’s joyful celebration of the latest crop of SCBWI successes
  • Sara O’ Connor of Hot Key Books, will be opening the window on publishing with an introduction to her 4 weekly column Ask a Publisher.
  • Gemma Cooper of The Bent Agency, similarly, will be inviting you to Ask an Agent.
  • Gill James is collecting News from the SCBWI Networks, with News of a new Network
  • And we’ll be taking a closer look at the work of illustrator and Words & Pictures Art Director, Bridget Strevens Marzo the first Words & Pictures featured illustrator. We love Bridget’s launch illustration; it’s perfect for what we want to say!
  • Chitra Soundar’s competitions updates will be distracting readers, illustrators and writers with just for fun quizzes and puzzles. Look out for a new Slushpile Challenge – exclusively for SCBWI members.
  • A growing SCBWI Blog network and Nick Cross’ weekly round up from the SCBWI blogosphere
  • Sheila’s videos: Social media how to’ Twitter, from Sheila Averbruch
  • David Richardson’s co-ordination of SCBWI event reports, the first, on the second 2013 London Professional Series event, kicks off April’s theme: Making a Living as a Writer or Illustrator.
  • Words & Pictures Writing Features Editors Mel Rogerson and Katrina Charman supported by Tania Tay and Illustration Features Editor John Shelley with SCBWI Illustration Coordinator Anne Marie Perks have been working SO hard to schedule a fabulous programme of features, interviews, guest blogs and profiles for launch week and the coming months from, in addition to those already mentioned, contributors such as Candy Gourlay, Paul Morton, Michelle Newell, Rosemary Bird, Philippa Francis, Sam Hawksmoor, Rowena House, Alex English, Celia Anderson, Sara Grant, Sharon Tregenza and Penny Kendal to name a few!
  • And I’m really excited to share the first editorial with Elizabeth Wein (Carnegie longlisted Codename Verity) who launched the very first Words & Pictures in 1996 – Elizabeth shares how it all began.

Words & Pictures reboot

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