General Writing Resources
- If you are looking for help with getting published, The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook is essential. As well as many useful articles on the business of writing, it lists publishers, agents and other relevant companies/persons.
- I’ve been reading the Story Fix blog for years. The posts on Story Engineering became a book published by Writer’s Digest and are well worth your time for a thorough – and clear –explanation of story structure.
- For women writers in all genres and disciplines, a Mslexia subscription is invaluable. The magazine features interviews with and features on well-known women writers and lots of pieces on forms and outlets you may not have considered.
- The podcast Writing Excuses offers a wealth of advice to remove excuses and get you writing. It’s fifteen minutes a week and has a huge archive. Season 10 is a good place to start, as they ran that as a year-long masterclass in writing craft.
- Another great podcast for writers is The Bestseller Experiment, now (in late 2018) about to enter its third year of weekly broadcasting. They interview authors and publishing industry experts regularly with great advice to offer on both traditional and self-publishing.
- Some good writer blogs to read include: Sarah Duncan’s; live write thrive; Joanna Penn; Go Teen Writers!
- This Tumblr of writing prompts has lots to offer, if you’re short on wacky inspiration…
Resources for Writing for Children and Young Adults
- Getting involved in Twitterchats can be really useful to talk to other writers, like #MGchat (for writers and readers of middle grade fiction, or books for 9-12 year olds).
- Anyone writing for children or teens – from picture books up to gritty YA – should consider joining the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. It’s a worldwide organisation with an active British Isles chapter.
- There are several well-organised blogs featuring groups of children’s/YA authors which are worth visiting for insight into writing and publishing: Author Allsorts; An Awfully Big Blog Adventure; Picture Book Den; Girls Heart Books.
- There is also a specific Children’s Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, with relevant content for children’s and YA publishing.
- Two books that I would also recommend on writing for the children’s/YA market are both written by well-known literary agents:
(note: affiliate links to Amazon)
- York Notes: Poetry Power and Conflict Anthology Guide for AQA 9-1 GCSE 2nd ed, Balberry Press, 2017
- York Notes: Poetry Power and Conflict Workbook for AQA 9-1 GCSE, Balberry Press, 2017
- York Notes: A Christmas Carol Exam Practice for AQA 9-1 GCSE, Balberry Press, 2017
- English A: A Concise Revision Course for CSEC (1 chapter written), Mike Gould, Julia Burchell, Angela Lalla, Dorothy L Warner, Collins, 2017
- York Notes: A Christmas Carol Workbook for 9-1 GCSE, Balberry Press, 2016
- York Notes: Poetry Power and Conflict Anthology Guide for AQA 9-1 GCSE, Balberry Press, 2016
- AQA A Level English Language, with Dan Clayton, Angela Goddard, Felicity Titjen, OUP, 2015
- York Notes: Lord of the Flies (revision/update for new 9-1 GCSEs), Balberry Press, 2015
- IGCSE First Language English, Nelson Thornes, 2014
- English for Jamaica Workbook: Grade 7/8/9, Nelson Caribbean, 2015.
- Aiming for: Grammar for GCSE English, with Mike Gould, Collins, 2014
- Essential Anthology: Creativity and Imagination (student book and teacher book) with Jane Branson, Ken Haworth, Trevor Millum, Nelson Thornes, 2014
- Essential Anthology: Communication and Information (student book and teacher book) with Christine Brooks, Caroline Davis, Ken Haworth, Nelson Thornes, 2014
- AQA AS A English Language Student’s Book, Nelson Thornes, Cheltenham, 2008, with Dan Clayton, 2nd ed. Sept 2013
Online Resource Sites Contributed to:
- emagazine, 2006-2015: range of A Level English topics covered – specific literary texts; modelled linguistic analysis; sociolinguistic topics; how to revise for English subjects.
Teaching Resource Packs/Photocopiables
- Packs for ZigZag Education including: Complete Guide to Plath’s Ariel; Cupcakes and Kalashnikovs guide (2 editions covering different set sections); Language Frameworks activities
- English Language A Level student distance learning materials, Oxford Open Learning – update to match new specification
My path to writing textbooks and resources really began with this website, so I would strongly recommend sharing resources online in some form to get your name known/ prove your value, if you wish to build a career in textbook writing.
Here are some ideas for places to start or make approaches, although I will say that a lot of my work has come to me through word of mouth or via other connections. Also: being an examiner is a great way to build connections and expertise.
- Submit to Teachit, bearing in mind that they’re looking above all for classroom-ready materials which don’t require explanation/contextualisation and which fit the latest specs. Material you’ve used in your own classroom with your own students often needs adaptation in order to be suitable for other teachers to use. Be warned: they take a LONG time to get back to you (9 months + is not uncommon).
- Approach Emagazine, Mediamagazine, the English Review or other similar magazines with ideas for articles you could offer. Do not write an article without discussing it with them first, as you do not know what they’ve got ready for the next issue. The best way to judge how to write for these (or any) outlets is to read and analyse their contents for tone, address sentence length etc.
- For broader teaching ideas, the TES is also worth approaching. Again, look at stuff they’ve published recently to model yours on first, and approach them with a pitch before going in too deep, to make sure they haven’t already got a piece on exactly what you’re suggesting just about to go.
- If you have a blog/website, always cite this as a writing sample as well as sending any resources or articles you have produced/had published.
- You can approach publishers directly with a CV and writing samples as well as a clear statement of what you are available for writing. To find out who’s accepting submissions, the Writers and Artists Yearbook (published by A & C Black around July each year is invaluable – start there and double check online for the latest info on submission guidelines).
Information about my writing; where to find writing resources; advice for teachers interested in breaking into educational writing.
I thought it was about time I added more to my site as a writer and for writers. I’m concerned with writing in three main ways, so I’ll address all of those here:
As a teacher, lamenting the loss of the Creative Writing A Level (and appreciating some of the changes in writing in GCSE). I addressed this in the teacher section, but the resources and advice for writers found here can also be used with students.
As a person who writes fiction for their own pleasure and aiming for eventual publication. My fiction writing is largely for children and young people. My links and resources for writers will be useful to those who also write for children/young people, but also to those writing for adults, since not all of the sites and resources I reference are that specific.
As a writer of published teaching resources and textbooks for students on various topics within English. I’m often asked how I got started/how others could try to do the same, so I’ve put a page together with some advice, but please do be aware that as with all writing, a lot of it is luck/right place, right time and there are never any guarantees.