Want to write for teenagers?

omglolI’m running my Writing for Teenagers online course again from 1 April.

Learn more here.

“This is such a friendly and fun way to learn about writing for teenagers. You can contribute as much or as little as you like, read and review some great YA books, and pester the tutor with those questions you’ve always been too afraid to ask. I know I did!” Helen Maslin

“This course was perfect for getting a better understanding of what makes good YA fiction. Using the books on the reading list along with Keris’ questions helped me to think deeply about different writing styles, what worked for me and what didn’t. Keris also gave us lots of tips and links to resources. The course was fun, not overly time-consuming, and practical. And I particularly welcome the opportunity to post some of my writing up for feedback. Absolutely worth the money, thank you.”Alison Clayton-Smith

Writing for Teenagers course starts 1 February

omglolI’m running my Writing for Teenagers course again next month.

It runs for six weeks, costs just £50 and you can read all about it here or email me for more info.

But don’t take my word for it…

“So inspiring and informative! I found the whole approach a brilliant way in to talking about the issues surrounding writing and editing YA.” Harriet Reuter Hapgood

“The course for me was well rounded and packed with enough information/guidelines for the novice writer to put together a jolly good book. It’s the best fifty quid I’ve spent in a long time.” Paula Smith

“I’ve loved the course. It’s been supportive, inspiring and helpful. It’s given me more confidence and enthusiasm to keep going.” Lesley Taylor

Come and ring my Mightybell

That sounds smutty, I know. (Well it does to me. Maybe it’s just me.)

But, no, Mightybell is a really cool site for online communities and it’s  where I now run my online courses from. Look, it’s pretty…

wft

btfd

… and it’s v user-friendly too.

Writing for Teenagers is a 6-week course and starts again 6 October. Beyond the First Draft is a 4-week course and starts 1 November. I’ve run them both before and nice people have said nice things. Look!

Writing for Teenagers

“So inspiring and informative! I found the whole approach a brilliant way in to talking about the issues surrounding writing and editing YA.” Harriet Reuter Hapgood

“The course for me was well rounded and packed with enough information/guidelines for the novice writer to put together a jolly good book. It’s the best fifty quid I’ve spent in a long time.” Paula Smith

“I loved the course. It was supportive, inspiring and helpful. It’s given me more confidence and enthusiasm to keep going.” Lesley Taylor

Beyond the First Draft

“There are so many courses out there that it’s difficult to know which one to choose. I really wanted help with editing and I found Keris’s course to be exactly what I wanted. It was packed with the sort of information that sometimes I’ve been afraid to ask about or simply hadn’t thought of. It was accessible, friendly and so ridiculously useful that I urge you to do it! I’ve learnt things that will be forever relevant. It’s a healthy dose of blunt advice and guidance that has steered me though the nightmare that can be editing, querying and synopsis writing. So glad I took part.” Sarah Bryers

Each course costs £50, payable via Paypal. If you would like any more information, email me

Imagining otters. Or why you’re ALWAYS writing.

UnknownA few months ago, Susie Day and Rainbow Rowell – two authors I LOVE – introduced me (via Twitter) to the Radio 4 sitcom, Cabin Pressure. I immediately became completely obsessed. It’s hilarious, addictive and brilliantly written.

One of my favourite moments is in the episode Ottery St Mary when one character says he can imagine a million otters (don’t worry about why) and another says you really can’t imagine a million anything and so they work out how many otters they can actually imagine by thinking of how many they could fit on the plane.

I mention it because John Finnemore, the writer and creator (and one of the stars) of Cabin Pressure has a brilliant blog and in this post, he wrote this:

For the origin of the otter-imagining game, have a look at this blog post I wrote three years ago. I like that I titled it ‘I am supposed to be writing a sitcom.’ Little did I know I was bunking off writing Cabin Pressure series one to write a bit of Cabin Pressure series three.

I notice this kind of thing so often. Old notes I’ve made, pictures I’ve saved, articles I’ve torn out of magazines, books I’ve bought, even songs I like, all popping up in my writing. I’ll start writing something – or planning something – and then a little ping will go off in my head and the next thing I’m rummaging around to find the perfect thing, saved before I knew it was the perfect thing.

Sometimes I don’t even remember or look, things just appear. Last week I had a meeting with an editor (I know!) and we talked about something I may write. Yesterday, I was looking through a folder on the computer – actually looking for a high res jpeg of the Emma cover – and there was a photo I’d saved at least a year ago, probably more like two, PERFECT for the thing I may write. It’s like those tweets that say things like ‘Thank you drunk me for leaving the chinese takeaway leftovers for hungover me’, but it’s ‘Thank you past me for knowing future me could use that photo.’

Yoga for writers

Not just for writers, but for anyone who spends a ridiculous amount of time sitting at a computer…

I’ve been having a few problems with my right arm since getting my new desk (it’s just that bit too high). I’ve been trying to switch my mouse to the left (so I can have problems with my left arm too!) (not really, it doesn’t seem to hurt that arm, for some reason), but I’ve also been trying to stretch more.

These stretches are so simple, but they really do seem to work – even stretching my arms out and turning them over makes a big difference. I just need to remember to do them every day, rather than when my shoulders are stuck up round my ears:

This one is brilliant both for sore computer arms and also what I call “iPad wrist” (just me?):

Now this one isn’t strictly related to being a writer (ahem), but I’ve done this Yoga for Hangovers video a few times and it always makes me feel better.

Image courtesy of Craftyjoe / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

First Draft in 30 Days: was it worth it?

imagesDo you know what? It really was. I probably only did half the planning I should have done – from about Day 14 what Wiesner calls “outlining” I call “writing” – but I’ve definitely got a lot more to be going on with than I had at the beginning of the month and I hope to use the same techniques for other books.

Mostly, it was just really interesting to try something different. I’ll never be a proper planner (like Liz Kessler – OMG!) I don’t think, but nor do I need to be. Thanks to this experiment, I now know I can just add a little bit of planning to my pantsing and it will – I hope – make all the difference. Result.

Days 16, 17, 18, 19

I’m sorry to say that the last few days have been more of the same, i.e. stuff I just can’t do. One of them talks about adding dialogue to the outline. Dialogue? Before I start writing? No.

So all I’m doing is going through my outline and adding stuff from research or random stuff that’s sprung to mind. Actually, that’s not true. That’s what I’m thinking about doing. What I’m actually doing is reading, watching TV, and eating. But I’ll get on it today. Probably.