Why YOU should enter the Chicken House competition, by FROSTFIRE author Jamie Smith

Posted by Kesia on Wednesday November 7th, 2018

Jamie Smith is the debut author of Frostfire, out this month! He was picked up via the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition, and here he outlines his journey to publication and explains why YOU should enter this year … (more…)

Wondering what to do post-NaNoWriMo?

Posted by Rachel L on Tuesday December 6th, 2016

Finished that novel? Congratulations! Our wonderful Editorial Director Rachel Leyshon is here to help with the next steps ...  (more…)

NaNoWriMo is over for another year!

Posted by Jazz on Wednesday November 30th, 2016

So that’s it! NaNoWriMo 2016 is done and dusted. We hope our 30 days of tips have helped you to come out the other side with a fully-fledged novel – and now, we want to read it! (more…)

NaNoWriMo Nov Day 29: Trenton Lee Stewart

Posted by Jazz on Tuesday November 29th, 2016

One more day to go! Today Trenton Lee Stewart, author of The Mysterious Benedict Society series and February's The Secret Keepers, is here to keep you going until the very end ...  (more…)

NaNoWriMo Nov Day 24: Cathryn Constable

Posted by Jazz on Thursday November 24th, 2016

Today it's the turn of the wonderfully talented Cathryn Constable, author of the bestselling wintry adventure The Wolf Princess and her stunning new novel, The White Tower. (more…)

NaNoWriMo Nov Day 23: Sarah Rubin

Posted by Jazz on Wednesday November 23rd, 2016

It's day 23 of NaNoWriMo November! And joining us today on the blog is the wonderful Sarah Rubin, author of the Alice Jones mysteries Sarah is no stranger to NaNoWriMo, and you can check out her awesome blog post about everything she's learned from taking part here. But for now, here are her top 5 tips for aspiring writers!  (more…)

NaNoWriMo Nov Day 21: Sophia Bennett

Posted by Jazz on Monday November 21st, 2016

We're nearly at the end of NaNoWriMo! With just over a week to go, here are some tips from acclaimed author (and previous Times/Chicken House Competition winner) Sophia Bennett to get you to the finish line ...  (more…)

NaNoWriMo Nov Day 20: Dan Smith

Posted by Jazz on Sunday November 20th, 2016

Today Dan Smith – author of no less than FOUR Chicken House books, including Big Game and his most recent novel, Boy X – has stopped by the blog to share his top tips for aspiring writers.

What would be your five top tips to budding writers?

1. Read, read, read. If you’re not a reader, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ll never be a writer.

2. Write, write, write. It sounds obvious, but you’ll never be a writer if you don’t write anything - and, like many other things, writing takes practice.

3. Write with confidence and assurance and let your imagination run wild. Write the kind of book you would want to read.

4. Don’t wait for inspiration. Just write.

5. Be yourself and don’t spend too much time listening to advice from other writers.

For those hoping to take part in NaNoWriMo or enter the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition, what would be your best tip for writing something every day?

Just write. Don’t give up. Writing is hard work and there will be times when you don’t feel like it, but you need to find a time, sit down, and write. The words you put onto the page might be the most awful rubbish you have ever written (or they might be the most excellent) but they will be words on the page and you will be closer to your goal. Words on the page can be reshaped or deleted during the editing process, but no writing is just a blank page. So don’t ever give up.

Enter the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition to be in with a chance of winning a £10,000 publishing contract! 

NaNoWriMo Nov Day 19: Veronica Cossanteli

Posted by Jazz on Saturday November 19th, 2016

It's day 19! We hope all you NaNoWriMo-ers are still going strong, but if you're in need of an extra boost of motivation, The Halloweeds author Veronica Cossanteli is here to share her top tips!  (more…)

NaNoWriMo Nov Day 18: Lucy Strange

Posted by Jazz on Friday November 18th, 2016

Today the author of the stunning The Secret of Nightingale Wood, Lucy Strange, is sharing her top writing tips for all aspiring writers.  (more…)

NaNoWriMo Nov Day 17: Natasha Farrant

Posted by Jazz on Thursday November 17th, 2016

Next up is Natasha Farrant, author of the Pride & Prejudice-inspired Lydia: The Wild Girl of Pride & Prejudice, sharing her top tips for writers!

What would be your five top tips to budding writers?

1. Read extensively. Other writers are your best teachers.

2. Always have pen and paper (or other note taking device) handy. You never know when inspiration will strike.

3. That said, writing is a discipline. Sitting around waiting for inspiration never finished a novel. You need to put in the hours. It also helps to develop a routine.

4. Leave some time – at least a week, preferably a month – between finishing and re-reading. When you do re-read, be prepared to be ruthless. Accept that you will never get it right first go.

5. Read what you have written out loud. You will be amazed how much it helps.

For those hoping to take part in NaNoWriMo or enter the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition, what would be your best tip for writing something every day?

Be disciplined.  Set yourself a target number of words every day, and stick to it. Even when it feels like you’re writing rubbish, stick to it. Bad words are better than no words at all and anyway, this is just the beginning of the process: the real work starts with the rewrites!

Enter the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition to be in with a chance of winning a £10,000 publishing contract! 

NaNoWriMo Nov Day 16: Rebecca Stevens

Posted by Jazz on Wednesday November 16th, 2016

We're over halfway through NaNoWriMo! Valentine Joe and Rose in the Blitz author Rebecca Stevens is here to keep you motivated right to the end ...  (more…)

NaNoWriMo Nov Day 15: Louise Gornall

Posted by Jazz on Tuesday November 15th, 2016

We're halfway through NaNoWriMo November! Today it's the turn of Louise Gornall, author of the fantastic Under Rose-Tainted Skies, to share her top writing tips!  (more…)

NaNoWriMo Nov Day 14: Catherine Doyle

Posted by Jazz on Monday November 14th, 2016

Today the fantastic Catherine Doyle, author of the deliciously dark Blood for Blood series, shares her top writing tips ... (more…)

NaNoWriMo Nov Day 13: Alyssa Sheinmel

Posted by Jazz on Sunday November 13th, 2016

Today it's the turn of Faceless author Alyssa Sheinmel to share her five top writing tips for aspiring authors – take it away, Alyssa!

What would be your five top tips to budding writers?

1. Read. Read writers who wrote the type of writing that you’re trying to do yourself.

2. Read. Read writers whose work you look up to, whose stories might be very different from the stories you’re trying to tell, but who tell their stories so well that just reading them feels like a writing lesson.

3. Read. Do research on the story you’d like to tell – read articles, essays, interviews, the works.

4. Read. Pick up something a friend or teacher recommended that you’d never have thought to pick up otherwise – an author you’ve never heard of, a genre you never thought you’d be interested in.

5. And if all else fails ... Read. I honestly believe that every single thing I’ve ever read has taught me something about how to tell a story: books that I’ve loved and books that weren’t necessarily my cup of tea. Novels and non-fiction. Essays and articles. Even – and I really mean this – textbooks. Ideas can come from the most unexpected of places.  A textbook taught me to insert humor into a dry topic. Magazine articles have prompted (sometimes completely unrelated) story ideas. Novel after novel has shown me beautiful and unexpected sentences. Essays have improved my vocabulary. For me, the essential thing isn’t always what I’m reading; sometimes it’s just enough that I’m reading. It’s still (and I suspect always will be) the piece of advice I most often give to myself about writing: just sit down and read.

For those hoping to take part in NaNoWriMo or enter the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition, what would be your best tip for writing something every day?

For me, I find it’s incredibly helpful to set a manageable goal for the day. That way, if I exceed my goal, I feel great, but even if I only just barely meet it, I still have the satisfaction of completing my day’s work. This can be a word-count-goal, or a chapter-goal, or just a getting-through-a-scene-goal – whatever feels right to you.

Enter the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition to be in with a chance of winning a £10,000 publishing contract! 

NaNoWriMo Nov Day 12: Chris d'Lacey

Posted by Jazz on Saturday November 12th, 2016

We're 12 days in to NaNoWriMo now so those novels should be starting to take shape! If you need a bit of an extra boost, check out the top tips from Chris d'Lacey, author of The Unicorne Files series.

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NaNoWriMo Nov Day 11: James Nicol

Posted by Jazz on Friday November 11th, 2016

Happy Friday! As a start-of-the-weekend treat the lovely James Nicol, author of The Apprentice Witch, has only gone and shared his writing advice – perfect for those hoping to do a NaNoWriMo sprint this weekend! (more…)

NaNoWriMo Nov Day 10: C.J. Skuse

Posted by Jazz on Thursday November 10th, 2016

Today the fabulous C.J. Skuse is stopping by the blog to share the 5 things she thinks every new writer should know ... (more…)

NaNoWriMo Nov Day 8: M.A. Griffin

Posted by Jazz on Tuesday November 8th, 2016

We've passed the one week mark! Those novels should be starting to take shape now, but if you're after a bit of extra inspiration, look no further than M.A. Griffin's NaNoWriMo survival kit. M.A. Griffin won the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition with his debut novel The Poison Boy back in 2012 under the name Fletcher Moss, and his new novel Lifers was published earlier this year.  (more…)

NaNoWriMo Nov Day 7: M.G. Leonard

Posted by Jazz on Monday November 7th, 2016

One week of NaNoWriMo is already gone! If you're in need of some extra inspiration, check out these writing tips from the bestselling author of Beetle Boy, M.G. Leonard ...  (more…)