Hard at work, with Luna
Hard at work, with Luna

I am passionate about storyshaping and helping authors and illustrators to create the book that inspires them.


I like to blog about the craft of writing picture books:

To Rhyme Or Not To Rhyme
What Motives Your Character?
The Rule of Threes

Ten Really Cool Openings

A Universal Theme

How to Write a Blockbuster Picture Book - the Breakout Premise

Plot Twists that Zing!

Show Don't Tell
Endings That Stay With You

Writing in Real Time: Living in the Moment

Three Clever Ways to Build Up Your Climax
Illustration Notes - Should You Have Them?
Why Reading Picture Books Really Matters

Naming Your Picture Book Characters

Why Are Picture Books Soooo Short? (Word Count)

Learning to Wait – Childhood Training for Becoming a Picture Book Author
Openings with a Promise – the Emotional Journey of Your Character
Step-by-Step Picture Book Writing In Layers
Ask a Question – Write a Story
The Writer's Busman's Holiday
Digging Deep to Find Your CHARACTER'S EMOTIONAL JOURNEY

My 10 Step MARKETING Plan
How to Catch a Reader: Make Up Cool (Fibs!) Stuff
Five Tips for the CREATIVE PROCESS
The Process of Illustrating Non-Fiction Picture Books

The Habit of LIBRARIES Matters: How they Shape Lives
Top 5 Tips for a SUCCESSFUL AUTHOR TOUR
Building Kids' Bookshelves - One (More) Book At a Time
The CREATIVE PROCESS: Making the Story Your Own
The Bookshelf of Life: How our Reading Journey Shapes our Writing
To Be or Not to Be an Author: Is being an author FUN, TIRING OR COOL?

Don't Be Afraid to DOODLE: Fresh Inspiration for MARKETING and CRAFT
WRITING (Picture Books) as a BUSINESS

Make Way for ART: Picture Books Ideal for building VISUAL LITERACY
Can I REALLY Be a Writer? FOMO is Slowing Me Down
How I AM WRITING MY NEW BOOKS even when I'm Not (How to JUGGLE life and writing!)
How to Hook in the Reader by Leaving SPACE

Is Your Manuscript READY TO SUBMIT? Make a Dummy!
CREATIVE NON-FICTION Picture Books

Top 3 Things to Do While Waiting for a DEAL
Don't Skip the Scenes: Part 1 WRITING ACTION

Don't Skip the Scenes: Part 2 PACING
Don't Skip the Scenes: Part 3 SHOW, DON'T TELL
Tips to Create a Stronger Picture Book by LOOKING

Top Tips for Revision: Part 1 Micro: THE SMALL STUFF
Top Tips for Revision: Part 2 Macro: THE BIG STUFF
Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Rip It All Up
There is an Alternative to RHYME

Raising the STAKES in your picture book (Part 1)
Raising the INTERNAL STAKES in your picture book (Part 2)

Raising the EXTERNAL STAKES in your picture book (Part 3)
5 Reasons Why Your Perfectly Good Picture Book Isn't Selling
Making Your NON-FICTION Unique: Top Tips for Finding a FASCINATING LENS

Catch the Poetry Bug to Give Your Picture Book RHYTHM
Creating Compelling BACK MATTER FOR NON-FICTION Picture Books
Add OOMPH to Your Picture Book Climax with a PAUSE

Turning REFRAINS on their Heads: Looking at PATTERN in picture books

ENDINGS that Come Full-Circle

Set Up the Action to Create a SATISFYING ENDING

Using MENTOR TEXTS to create Winning Picture Books

Using DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES to create AUTHENTIC, BELIEVABLE Picture Books
Writing FUNNY PICTURE BOOKS
Inside Peek - Working with a Picture Book Editor if You're SELF-PUBLISHING part 1 (storyshaping process)
Inside Peek - Working with a Picture Book Editor if You're SELF-PUBLISHING part 2 (design and illustration & the Cover)
REVISION TIP: Explore Feelings to Create Picture Books with HEART

How to WRITE (a picture book) if you're an ILLUSTRATOR
How to HOOK YOUR READER with a SURPRISE!

Ask a Picture Book Editor

 

I have teamed up with Ellie Farmer (Commissioning Editor at Little Tiger Press) to blog for SCBWI's Words & Pictures' monthly Ask a Picture Book Editor column, where you can ask us anything you’d like about picture books.

 

See our blog posts here:

 

About us and our favourite picture books

What Makes A Good Picture Book Topic?

Child-Centred Characters

Voice, Tone and Pitch

Plot and Basic Structure

How to Nail Your Hook

10 Steps to Publication Part 1

10 Steps to Publication Part 2

What Makes a Lasting Christmas Book?

Some Tips About Illustrations for Writers & Illustrators
How to Submit Professionally - Overview

How to Submit Professionally - The Cover Letter
How to Submit Professionally - Picture Book Illustrators
What Makes a Good Cover and Title
Acquisitions and What You Can Expect Next
Self-Promotion 1: Building Your Online Presence
Self-Promotion 2: Building Your Offline Presence (school visits etc)
Bookfairs and Why they Matter
How Many Pages in a Picture Book?
12 Top Tips for Picture Book Writers/Illustrators
Harnessing Your Creativity: Ten Techniques to Springboard New Story Ideas
Cracking Characters
Does Your Plot Read Like a List? Episodic Plots

How to Make Your Plot Pack a Punch
Beginnings: Why the First 50 Words Must Grab Editors

What Makes a Great Ending
What Makes a Picture Book Great

Visually Compelling & Successful Picture Books: the View from the Art Director's Desk
Going Beyond the Book: Interactive Picture Books

How to Write Picture Books that Make a Point (and Pack a Punch)
Story Magic - Turning Traditional Tales on their Heads and Asking 'What If?'

Picture Books That Make Us Laugh

What Makes a Lasting Christmas Book
How to Make Your Picture Book Prose Sing: Be SPECIFIC!

Wonderfully Useful Refrains: Why Patterns Matter
Keep it in the Family – Stories Celebrating Diverse Families

 


"One of the books I have worked on with Natascha has won a prestigious award, and another shortlisted" – Georgie Birkett, Is This My Nose?

Storya narrative, either  fictitious or true,  designed to interest, amuse or inspire 

Shape  to fashion or form, mould, create or give character to