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Writers' & Artists' Blog

The Writing Process

At Book Aid International we believe books have the power to change lives. In places where books are scarce, libraries are often the best place to discover the joy of reading. That’s why we work in partnership with libraries in sub-Saharan Africa providing books, resources and training to support an environment in which reading for pleasure, study and lifelong learning can flourish.

We were delighted to join up with Writers & Artists for a second year running to offer aspiring authors a fantastic series of masterclasses with established authors on different aspects of the writing craft. Each of these practical sessions – which focused on key facets of the writing process – expertly guided participants through exercises and techniques that helped hone their manuscripts.

Writers & Artists generously donated 50% of proceeds from each ticket sold to support our work and they raised a fantastic £2,032.50! That’s enough to send over 1,016 books to libraries in Africa!

We were …

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Why A Course on Writing for Children?

Alysoun Owen

At Writers & Artists our job is to bridge the gap between you – the as-yet unpublished author – and industry experts, providing the sort of knowledge, know-how and context you need in order to take your book to the next level. With these core principles in mind, Alysoun Owen, editor of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook and the Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, has curated a special set of practical evening sessions dedicated to one of the most exciting, competitive and rapidly evolving areas of the publishing landscape: writing fiction for children and young adults.

"In my role as editor, reader and parent, I am passionate that the very best writing for children gets published.

One of the greatest pleasures of editing the Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook is the contact I have with so many supremely talented writers and illustrators. Between them they offer advice and inspiring dedication to their craft. Being able to …

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On Having to Choose Only Three Out of a Whole Rainbow of Wonderful Sonnets

The time has come. Ruth Padel, prize-winning poet and guest judge of our Sonnet Writing Competition, has chosen her two runners-up and overall winner. Without further ado, over to Ruth to talk us through her decision...

On having to choose only three out of a whole rainbow of wonderful sonnets.This was a very hard decision. 

 There was so much rich work, with really accomplished cadence, original thought and powerfully concentrated feeling and intelligence packed into the poems. I read that it was really hard to leave any of them behind. There was lovely imagery, shadows ‘pleated’ against a couple sleeping together in the dark, TV screens flashing in an electrical shop against ‘a gauze of rain’, and lively double entendres: walnut-halves ‘gift-wrapped in membrane’, laid out before a ‘surgeon’s knife’, spring as the ‘shy blond visitor who stopped by one weekend in April but refused to sit on our knees.’ There were also poignant new angles and approaches to …

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Building Castles In The Air

The Shropshire Stalker by Nick Jones

Where the building you need for your plot doesn’t exist, build it yourself, says author Nick Jones.


For nearly 20 years I lived in central London, working as an architectural journalist. Buildings, you might say, are in my DNA (though I have to confess I feel no great affinity for the capital’s showy 21st century monoliths, such as The Shard or the Walkie-Talkie).

My latest novel is a psychological thriller set in rural Shropshire. It features some fine old buildings, many of them architectural gems, such as the 17th century black-and-white coaching inn in Ludlow, The Feathers Hotel. This small market town has been described by no less an authority than Sir John Betjeman as ‘probably the loveliest town in England.’ Last summer, I haunted its quaint narrow back streets to get the right atmosphere for the novel. Basic ground work like this – rather than internet research –  invariably pays off. I am always armed with a camera and a notebook.

The latter stages of my …

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Top Self-Editing Tools: Spring Clean Your Manuscript

Spring Clean Your Manuscript w/ I_AM Self-Publishing


Spring is traditionally a time for refreshing, clearing out and cleaning up. What better time to give your manuscript a quick spruce by using some of these top self-editing tools...


Why Self-Edit?

All authors who want to improve their work should self-edit before starting work with a professional editor. This way, the manuscript will get into good shape very quickly, and the editor can be brought in after the basic errors are addressed - the type that you'd be the first to spot in someone else's work, but missed yourself because you've become so close to your work.


Top 3 Self-Editing Tools

These tools will help you to see your work afresh and clean up your manuscript in no time.

1. Word Frequency Counter & Phrase Frequency Counter (Free)

Most authors have a preference/dependence on certain words or phrases without realising it. In my work as an editor at I_AM Self-Publishing, I often find that particular words or phrases are repeated over and over throughout a …

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