UV2018 Finalists Announced!

SCBWI British Isles is proud to announce the promising, unpublished writers and illustrators who have been selected from a record number of submissions to be included in Undiscovered Voices 2018.

SCBWI congratulates the following authors and illustrators whose work will be featured in the anthology:

  • Annie Walmsley – Writer
  • Dale Hannah – Writer
  • David Hall – Writer
  • Deborah Sheehy – Illustrator
  • Emily Jones- Illustrator
  • Emma Mason – Writer
  • Hannah Mosley – Illustrator
  • Jacob Turner – Illustrator
  • James Crosland-Mills – Illustrator
  • Janet Catherine Gibson Pickering – Illustrator
  • Kate Read – Illustrator
  • Kathryn Kettle – Writer
  • Katie Hayoz – Writer
  • Laure Allain – Illustrator
  • Matthew Olson-Roy – Writer
  • Monika Baum – Illustrator
  • Nicola Penfold – Writer
  • Peta Freestone – Writer
  • Rachel Lovatt – Illustrator
  • Sally Walker – Illustrator
  • Sandy Horsley – Illustrator
  • Sarah Merrett – Writer
  • Serena Patel – Writer

The Undiscovered Voices anthology is available to download for free from www.undiscoveredvoices.com. A printed copy of the anthology also will be available to purchase from Lulu: http://www.lulu.com/shop/scbwi/undiscovered-voices-2018/paperback/product-23456467.html

The stories and illustrations were submitted anonymously and selected by a distinguished panel of industry experts:

UV 2018’s Judges:

  • Chrissie Boehm, Artful Doodlers
  • Claire Cartey, Holroyde Cartey
  • Erzsi Deak, Hen & Ink Literary Studio
  • Lauren Fortune, Scholastic
  • Clelia Gore, Martin Literary Management
  • Andrea Kearney, Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Sarah Leonard, Orchard Books
  • Joanna Moult, Skylark Literary Agency
  • Polly Nolan, The Greenhouse Literary Agency
  • Gillie Russell, Aitken Alexander Associates
  • Hannah Sheppard, DHH Literary Agency
  • Kirsty Stansfield, Nosy Crow
  • Will Steele, Usborne Books
  • Nghiem Ta, Walker Books

Because the anthology is also designed to be a learning tool for up-and-coming children’s writers and artists, quotes from the judges – discussing the merits of each piece – are included at the end of each illustration and extract.

Working Partners Ltd, a London-based company that creates series fiction for children and teens, provided the financial support that made this anthology possible.

Congratulations to this year’s Undiscovered Voices writers and illustrators!

Before You Click Submit, Part 4 – Hunting Mistakes

As we get closer to the opening of UV submissions, we’re posting tips to make sure your submission stands the best chance of making it into the anthology.

In this post, we’re looking at a great way to scrutinise your text, some commons errors and few pet peeves that can let your extract down.

No Place to Hide – Paragraph Swap Around

UV Founder and Author Sara Grant suggests reading your extract out of order. First switch the pages around and read them out of order. Next read the paragraphs out of order.

“It’s surprising what you’ll find when you scrutinize pages and then paragraphs out of context and individually,” she says. “You start considering if every line, word and punctuation mark is correct. Also you may spot words, phrases or ideas you overuse reading in this mixed-up fashion.”

Just make sure your paragraphs are in the right order when you submit.

Find-and-Replace Mistakes

Rosie Best (UV 2012)

Author and Working Partner’s editor, Rosie Best, warns about the sort of errors that come with using ‘find-and-replace’ on the manuscript. “We all use it,” Rosie says, “But you need to check the results for consistency.”

Make sure find-and-replace has caught every version of the word – some find-and-replace software misses out possessive versions of words, or where a different grammatical agreement has been used.

“A common error is when find-and-replace makes a change inside another word entirely. If you’ve changed a character name from Rose to Emily, you may end up with a sentence like this ‘in the morning, Ben aEmily from his bed’.”

“Also double check that you’ve also deleted any obsolete references that may be left over from previous drafts,” Rosie adds. “It can be surprising how many can survive repeated edits.”

Pet Peeves and Common Errors

“We all have writing ticks,” says Benjamin Scott, committee member and creative writing tutor. “Whether it’s a sentence structure we tend to favourite, a set of words we always reach for first, or, some stock dialogue. It feels comfortable to use, but often leads to wordy, untidy writing.”

A good critique partner (or editor) will point these ticks out to you, but there are plenty web-based editing tools (like http://editminion.com/) that use algorithms to suggest potentially useful edits to your text.

Keep looking for ways to tighten your writing and search the web for common errors to avoid. Here are some of our favourite pitfalls to dodge (thanks to Sara Grant):

  • Unnecessary word repeated in short space, or over-usage in the whole piece.
  • Unnecessary phrases – i.e. his heart thumped in his chest, nodded his head, imagined in his mind, blinked his eyes, actual facts, at this moment in time
  • Main character or narrator thinking too many questions in quick succession – i.e. What was he thinking? What could he do? What did it all mean?
  • Not trusting yourself as a writer and not trusting your readers by showing and telling your reader something – i.e. My hands began to sweat. Fear fizzled in my stomach. My eyes widened in surprise. I was scared.
  • Too many competing metaphors or similes in close proximity to each other. Let your best metaphors and similes breathe.
  • Appropriate level of description – avoid either too much or not enough. Tell your readers what they need to know to picture a scene and understand the action.
  • Too specific action that proves unimportant – i.e. He picked up the knife with his left hand and turned counterclockwise.

And, finally, watch out for tenses – nothing is more disruptive that an unexpected and unintentional shift in tense!

Stay tuned for our final tips, coming tomorrow. Submissions for UV2018 will open this Saturday (1st July 2017) and will close 15th August 2017. Why not sign up here for submission reminders?

UV 2018 Launch Event – 2nd May 2017

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) British Isles will once again help fresh, new voices in children’s literature find agents and publishers through its Undiscovered Voices project.

The Undiscovered Voices anthology will include twelve fiction extracts – from early readers up through young adult novels – and up to twelve black-and-white illustrations. The anthology will be published in February 2018 and sent free of charge to editors, art directors and agents whose focus is children’s literature. The book is produced with the financial support of Working Partners Ltd, a London-based company that creates series fiction.

Submissions will be accepted between 1st July to 15th August 2017 via an online submissions process. There is no submissions’ fee, but only unagented and unpublished members of SCBWI living in the UK and Europe (writing in the English language) are eligible.

Authors and illustrators from the five previous anthologies have received publishing contracts for more than 120 books. The authors have been nominated for and won an amazing array of literary prizes: including the Carnegie Medal, Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize, Branford Boase Award, Blue Peter Award, the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, and more than 30 regional awards.

The Undiscovered Voices team will launch the project with an event:

  • Tuesday 2 May 2017
  • from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • at the Hachette UK Head Office (Carmelite House, 50 Victoria Embankment, London EC4Y 0DZ) in the 6th Floor Storey Café

The event will consist of two panel discussions – one for writers, one for illustrators – in which the judges will offer invaluable advice for those planning to submit to the anthology. Tickets are free but you must sign up for the event on the British SCBWI website: https://britishisles.scbwi.org/events/undiscovered-voices-2018-kick-off-event-2/. You must be registered for the event to attend.

The following judges will select the stories and illustrations to be included in the anthology:

  • Chrissie Boehm, Artful Doodlers
  • Claire Cartey, Holroyde Cartey
  • Lauren Fortune, Scholastic
  • Andrea Kearny, Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Sarah Leonard, Orchard Children’s Books
  • Joanna Moult, Skylark Literary Limited
  • Polly Nolan, The Greenhouse Literary Agency
  • Gillie Russell, Aitken Alexander Associates
  • Hannah Shepard, DHH Literary Agency
  • Kirsty Stansfield, Nosy Crow
  • Will Steele, Osborne Books
  • Nghiem Ta, Walker Books

For more details about submitting to UV2018, click here.

2016 Success Update: Scholastic UK announces acquisition of NOAH CAN’T EVEN by Simon James Green with pride

UV 2016 finalist Simon James Green has signed a two-book deal with Scholastic for NOAH CAN’T EVEN (previously called Nuts), and a follow up title.

Linas Alsenas at Scholastic UK bought World Rights from Joanna Moult from Skylark Literary, having been captivated by painfully geeky protagonist Noah Grimes.

Simon James GreenAuthor Simon James Green says: “Being published by Scholastic is a dream come true, and it’s an honour to join their list of such wonderful authors. The Scholastic team are fantastically supportive, and I’m really looking forward to working with them to bring this funny, confused, complex mess of a teenage boy into the world. All of this was possible thanks to Undiscovered Voices and I’m incredibly grateful for everything the team at UV have done for me.”

Linas Alsenas, Commissioning and Development Editor – Fiction for Scholastic UK, says: “I often hear editors say something along the lines of “As an editor, I live in hope that a book like this will cross my desk,” but in the case of Noah Can’t Even, there’s no other way to put it. I. Love. This. Book. It gives me all the feels, but most of all a steady stream of genuine, snort-out-loud laughs. The plot twists are shocking and mad – poor Noah – and yet the characters never cease to be real and fully drawn. I’m really looking forward to readers getting to know Simon, who is just as hilarious and fabulous as you would expect from his writing.”

Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green publishes in May 2017.

Tweet Advice for UV Submitters – #AskSwanwick Chat Write Up

One Undiscovered Voices area that’s usually under-represented by good quality submissions is for the youngest (5-8) age group. “We’d loved to see more of those,” Catherine told us. “Funny is often the key – and something obvious, like a timeless theme that works, such as fairies, witches, dragons, beasts, princesses, and animals.”

Undiscovered Voices committee members, Rosie Best and Catherine Coe, participated in a twitter chat for #AskSwanwick on Wednesday, 3rd June 2015. They discussed a range of issues about editing, book packaging and, of course, dispense some sage advice on Undiscovered Voices.

You can read a write up of the chat here at http://www.swanwickwritersschool.org.uk. Look out for some great advice on how to edit and proofread your own work before submitting!

One thing leads to another

Kate Scott (UV )
Kate Scott (UV )

I remember seeing the ad for the first Undiscovered Voices and being delighted to see a competition exclusively for children’s writers. While there are dozens of competitions for short story writers, novelists and poets, there are far fewer aimed specifically at children’s writers. So I was determined to make use of the chance.

The inaugural Undiscovered Voices competition didn’t require you to have finished your book in order to submit. This was just as well, as I hadn’t even started one.

But . . . knowing about the competition led to thinking about the competition . . .

And while doing something extraordinarily glamorous like mopping the kitchen floor, or maybe my baby’s mouth (both were unfailingly smeared with food), I came up with an idea for a dystopian story for teens. I wrote and polished three chapters and sent them off. I was slightly crazed by lack of sleep (I’m looking at you, kids) and just wanted to be writing again after a (hopefully temporary) baby-induced creative lobotomy.

That entry, written solely for the competition, led to the phone call telling me I was one of the 2008 winners. I was stunned. (I know people always say that but I really was – I was expecting a call from the plumber. NB: Sara’s message was a lot more interesting.)

The shock quickly led to (slightly hysterical) excitement when I began getting messages from interested editors and agents. This was it! This was the breakthrough I’d been longing for!

Well, not quite.

My hastily finished manuscript had a few holes in it. The way a colander has a few holes in it.

So my manuscript was not snapped up after a frenzied bidding war with editors gripping the manuscript with white-knuckles and bared teeth.

But . . . it did lead to me discovering Cornerstones, who helped me produce something that could be fairly described as a story, rather than a pile of paper with words on it.

And that led to Cornerstones sending the manuscript out to agents. I ended up with two offers of representation. Two! This was it! This was the breakthrough I’d been longing for!

Well, not quite.

My lovely agent, Eve White, sent the manuscript out to editors. There was a lot of interest. (This was it! etc. etc.) There were some very close calls – but my dystopian story was not destined to join the ranks of The Hunger Games, or indeed any ranks at all.

But . . . having an agent led to writing jobs I wouldn’t have had a chance of getting beforehand. And it led to a talk with Eve where I mentioned this idea I’d had about a boy who discovers his parents are spies and has to go undercover…as a girl. She loved it, I wrote it, she submitted it.

The submission story had its own winding plot but . . . it did lead to happy ever acquired with Spies in Disguise: Boy in Tights being taken by Piccadilly Press and a sequel, Spies in Disguise: Boy in a Tutu being commissioned for publication next year.

One thing leads to another. The Undiscovered Voices Competition 2014 could be the start of your straight-pathed or windy-laned journey to publication success.

But first, you have to enter.

 

Blog post by Kate Scott. Kate Scott is a published poet and her poetry and fiction have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. She also writes scripts for children’s television. Two of her radio plays have been shortlisted for writing awards. Since being included in Undiscovered Voices, Kate has written a phonic reader (HarperCollins), three books in a 7+ commercial series (Hodder), two books for Pearson Education and a teen dystopian project for an IP company. Her comedy-adventure, Spies in Disguise: Boy in Tights, is published by Piccadilly Press (2013) and the sequel, Spies in Disguise: Boy in a Tutu, will be coming out in 2014.

Agents: Eve White at Eve White Literary Agency (Books) and Yasmin McDonald at United Agents (Scriptwriting)

Website: www.evewhite.co.uk

Twitter name: KateScottWriter (tweets writing competitions in all genres)

UV 2014 – Writers Bonus – The Panel discuss their recent acquisitions and why they loved them!

Please note: this video relates to the 2014 Undiscovered Voices judging panel.

As part of the Undiscovered Voices competition launch on April 18th 2013, we asked the fiction judging panel who were present about their most recent acquisitions. What followed revealed a lot about the role agents and editors in the acquisition process and how important it is for there to be a personal connection between the reader and the characters. It’s not just about being commercial and marketable, but about making the reader excited into enter into the world of the book. In comes as no surprise to anyone who has watched the previous videos that the role of voice ruled supreme.

 

UV 2014 – Writers Bonus – Ben and Sam discuss “Is there ever a time for Info dump?”

Please note: this video relates to the 2014 Undiscovered Voices judging panel.

In this bonus video from our fiction judging panel, Ben Horslen and Samantha Smith talk about how characters can be used to impart information and getting around problematic exposition (as known as “Info Dump”). Please check out our other Undiscovered Voices videos.

UV 2014 – Video for Writers: The Final Words of Advice from our Judges

Please note: this video relates to the 2014 Undiscovered Voices judging panel.

In our final clip from the Undiscovered Voices competition launch meeting on April 18th, we asked the fiction judging panel who were present for some words of advice and tips for writers. As Gemma Cooper starts off the discussion about how to get voice right by encouraging writers to listen to their work aloud (whether recording yourself reading it or getting someone else to read it). The panel then share their top tips for writers, from making sure you write the book you want to write, through to letting the readers use their imaginations.

UV 2014 – Video for Writers: Judging Panel’s Mistakes to Avoid and Advice on Genre

Please note: this video relates to the 2014 Undiscovered Voices judging panel.

Here’s our second clip for writers from the Undiscovered Voices competition launch meeting on April 18th. We asked the fiction judging panel who were present what mistakes writers should avoid and what advice they had on writing in popular genre. The panel start by talking about the obvious mistakes to avoid such as starting off with a character waking up or putting “info dump” in the first chapter, but soon start talking about how to bring something new to a genre you love. Our editors and agents also talk about how work for younger fiction is in great demand – especially in the Undiscovered Voices anthology!