Bren MacDibble

November 29, 2012

Book Cover Sneak Preview

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You may have heard, I have two more books in the works with Blake Publishing, Intergalactic Deliveries Inc. and SPlatterby Dragons Home. Sneak previews of the nearly completed covers:

Image Image

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November 7, 2011

QWC/Allen & Unwin Weekend

Filed under: Uncategorized — macdibble @ 12:59 am

This is what a Queensland Writers Centre/Allen & Unwin Manuscript Development Program looks like:

More or less, but usually not with pizza.

This is who was there:

Sophie Overett, Felicity Carter, Terri Green, Cathy McLennan, Sally Rippin, Erica Wagner, Pippa Masson, Frank Leggett, Jessica Miller, Vicki Stanton, and Robyn Osborne, all of whom are in the photo, also Sarah Brennan, Aimee Lindorf, Kate Eltham, Meg and Sarah and Imogen and… you can bet I’ve left someone out.

It was held mostly at the QWC offices in the state library in Brisbane and went like this:

Meet, chat, meet mentor and editors, chat, orientation, chat, eat, chat, sleep, chat, eat, chat, overview, chat, eat, consultation with editor, mentor consultation, debrief, chat, spa, chat, eat, chat, readings, chat, sleep, chat, coffee, chat, seminar, eat, chat, seminar, debrief, chat. So… mostly it was a great chance to chat about the industry of creating books for children.

But it was MORE than that. Just quietly, I’ve been kicking about a while, but this was the most I’d delved beneath the surface of what it is publishers, editors and agents actually do and how they work together with writers, the nuts and bolts, the nitty and the gritty. This was insight into their decision-making processes and the factors that they are governed by. I thought I knew a lot, but now I feel like I know almost everything.

But it was MORE than that. Because the editors at Allen & Unwin had chosen the eight manuscripts they wanted to see developed themselves, we were assured up-front that this was no mistake, our manuscripts were on track. We each had personal feedback on our manuscript from an Allen & Unwin editor and a request to see them once reworked. What an opportunity!

I don’t think it’s easy for an editor to give feedback on a manuscript to a fairly new writer. If they hit you with the good stuff upfront, you’ll be overly excited and forget to listen to the negatives, the things that need changing, or, if they start with the things that need changing, a new writer could fall into a pit of despair, and never hear the good stuff. The editor is in a no win situation. Particularly with me. My editor started with the good stuff, and I was just thinking “yeah, yeah, get all that praise rubbish out of the way, where’s the punchline? What’s the kicker? Hit me with it. Tell me it’s beautiful but there’s no place in the market for it and get it over with!” But, I didn’t get told that… Allen & Unwin are interested in publishing a novel like mine, if I can accomplish what they hope I can in the rewrite.

Being told that, is in itself quite paralysing. The technical difficulty of the rewrite at first seems daunting. Sorting out in your head what needs to be done is incredibly difficult when a little voice is crying, “you don’t understand what needs to be done/you’re not capable of that/you’ll let this opportunity slide because you’re just not smart enough!” Where did that ridiculous voice come from? Do all writers have unhelpful thoughts? I think it would be a very long search if I were to look for one person who thought I wasn’t capable of this. If the past has taught me anything, it taught me the best way to silence a stupid thought is to press on and do the thing that it says you can’t. Point by point, I addressed the things that need to be addressed, however daunting. The voice was silenced. I could breathe again, I stopped the furious back-peddling, pressed forwards and fully appreciated the opportunity.

You know the saying: “A fish must be ready to breathe before he can fly.” I think that applies to new writers. And I don’t mean the ridiculously new self-published writers pumping their fins furiously and coughing their gills out into the world screaming “Look at me! Look at me!” I mean writers who’ve been writing and learning and writing and having minor successes and learning and writing some more, growing lungs. Publishing today is tough. You have to be sufficiently equipped, you have to know what you’re doing, and you have to be brave. You’ll need lungs and you’ll need wings, if you want to fly.

If you’re reading this because you’re hoping to do a manuscript development program through QWC and you’re wondering what it’s all about, it’s basically an opportunity to make new friends (children’s writers are ALWAYS awesome caring people), an opportunity to learn more about the industry, and refine a manuscript a publisher has shown genuine interest in. If you only get one of those things out of it, it’s a worthy pursuit. If you’ve been priming your lungs and you’re brave enough, it might also be an opportunity to try your wings.

September 7, 2011

Great News!

Filed under: Uncategorized — macdibble @ 11:43 am

This is a fairweather blog and the sun is shining again.

I was lucky enough to be given a spot in the Allen & Unwin/QWC Manuscript Development program to work on my children’s novel “Rocket”. It involves a long weekend in Brisbane working with editors and publishers along with seven other children’s writers.

More about it here:
Queensland Writers Centre/Allen & Unwin Manuscript Development program

March 18, 2011

Do you have a completed YA or Children’s ms to pitch?

Filed under: Uncategorized — macdibble @ 12:25 pm

Agent Ammi-Joan Paquette has so kindly offered to host a pitch contest on YAtopia. Those with completed YA or Children’s manuscripts may enter here: YAtopia Agent Pitch Contest

May 14, 2010

Do You Have a Young Speculative Fiction Reader in Your House?

Filed under: Uncategorized — macdibble @ 10:05 am

If so, I encourage you all to buy this collection of short stories: Worlds Next Door

It’s not very often you’ll come across a collection of speculative short stories aimed at primary school children, and just look at the list of contributing authors! You can tell it’s special before you even open the cover. Okay, I’m in there… but I’m impressed by the company and you should be too!

Worlds Next Door

Right now, there is a prepublication special price you can take advantage of. Buy a copy for yourself and don’t forget to show it to teachers at your child’s school. A supporting website with lesson plans is in the making. Teachers often flounder when teaching genre writing to children unless they are fans themselves, and this book could be just what they’re looking for.

ALSO…

Blake Ed have been updating their website and if you’d like to look inside the books I’ve had published in the last few months or (hint, hint) recommend them to your child’s school, click the covers below:

The Dinner Guest

The Dinner Guest

No Fishing

No Fishing

Go Go Gecko

Go Go Gecko

Anchovy Circus

Anchovy Circus

The Adventures of Zip Velocity

The Adventures of Zip Velocity

There's No Such Thing

There's No Such Thing

April 9, 2010

They’re at the Printers!

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And this is what the covers will look like…

There's No Such Thing, a Gigglers published by Blake Ed

There's No Such Thing


The Adventures of Zip Velocity, a Gigglers published by Blake Ed

The Adventures of Zip Velocity

March 22, 2010

Spiney Poetry

Filed under: Uncategorized — macdibble @ 9:06 pm

Loving this blog post by Kat Apel introducing us to Spiney Poetry.

Some people are so creative!

While we are on the subject. I also like this interview with Janeen Brian an Australian children’s writer, artist and poet who really knows where her towel is with regards to producing wonderful work for children.

February 8, 2010

Artwork for “No Such Thing”

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I’m extremely lucky to have Ritva Voutila illustrating my next story. Not only is her style wacky and fun but she’s brought the scenes alive. The skin tones, the movement, the colour, the sneaky alien tentacles that seem to be exploring everything tell their own story.

I’ve arranged for a sneak preview:

No Such Thing

No Such Thing - Copyright Blake Education

Pop over to www.ritvavoutila.com and have a look at Ritva’s work.

January 6, 2010

And Here They Are!

Filed under: Uncategorized — macdibble @ 1:04 am

This is what the covers will look like anyway.

January 2, 2010

Welcome to 2010!

Filed under: Uncategorized — macdibble @ 4:21 am

Please go on in and have a great decade, because if we all survive 2012, 2020 is just around the corner!

I found this little gift for writers:

Have a great year!

Bren

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