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Writing an Illustrated Novel with Karen Tyrrell

high res close up

high res close upKaren Tyrrell’s new illustrated novel, Jo-Kin Battles the IT has just been released.

Today Karen shares some great tips about writing an illustrated novel. These tips are for writers of any age who are interested in writing for kids.

9780994302106How to Write an Illustrated Novel by Karen Tyrrell

  1. Write an action-packed adventure story that kids will love. Consider using humour, as kids love the funny, the quirky and the ridiculous. Add some delicious food scenes as kids really love food and eating. Make the story as exciting and adventurous as you can.
  2.  Create a main character the reader really cares about.  A loveable hero that has some flaws and faults.  Make us care about this character and what happens to him.
  3. Give your hero a side-kick so they can work on their mission together.
  4. Write your story in intriguing scenes from the main character’s point of view. Sequence these scenes into chapters that hook in the reader from the beginning to the end.
  5. Choose the most exciting parts of the scenes to illustrate, preferably where the main character is doing something exciting, funny or scary. Make sure the pictures depict a wide variety of different characters, scenes that makes us ask a question. What’s going to happen next?
  6. Describe these exciting scenes in detail (a brief) so that the illustrator can understand, visualize and illustrate the characters and the scene. Work co-operatively with the illustrator, listen to his suggestions giving him some creative freedom to create the most enticing pictures possible. The  pictures will be completed in stages from rough sketch to ready to publish.
School of Rock back cover

School of Rock back cover

Max 909 robot scene shows intrigue and tension

Max 909 robot scene shows intrigue and tension

Jo-Kin Battles the It is available on Amazon, LSI, library services and selected stores including some Dymocks and Angus & Robertson.

Karen’s touring cyberspace with her book and she’s visiting lots of other great blogs. Find out more about her book and her writing by following the blog tour:

Jo-Kin Battles the It Blog Tour

19 Oct Dee White http://writingclassesforkids.com Blog

20 Oct Di Bates http://diannedibates.blogspot.com.au Review

21 Oct Alison Stegert http://ali-stegert.com/ Interview

Jackie Hosking https://jackiehoskingpio.wordpress.com/ Blog

22 Oct Georgie Donaghey www.creativekidstales.com.au Review & Interview

23 Oct Robyn Opie http://www.robynopie.blogspot.com.au/ Review

25 Oct Rebecca Sheraton http://www.rebeccasheraton.com/blog Interview

26 Oct Sandy Fussell http://www.sandyfussell.com Interview

27 Oct Jill Smith https://authorjillsmith.wordpress.com/ Review

Melissa Wray http://melissawray.blogspot.com.au Blog

28 Oct June Perkins http://gumbootspearlz.org Interview

29 Oct Sally Odgers http://promotemeplease.blogspot.com.au Interview

30 Oct Kate Foster http://www.katejfoster.com/blog Interview


Book Giveaway

Win a signed copy of Jo-Kin Battles the It OR one of four eBooks of Jo-Kin Battles the It OR signed artwork from the illustrator, Trevor Salter.

To WIN please LIKE Karen’s Super Space Kids book series page on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/SuperSpaceKids and

Leave a comment on any of the above Blog stops 19-31 Oct to win. Good luck.


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10 Activities to Improve English Writing Skills

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I’ve recently had a number of enquiries from parents who want to know how they can help their children to write better English.

Some children love reading but hate writing. Some children have great stories in their head but they don’t know how to write them down.

If someone has problems with spelling and grammar, writing might be something they don’t feel good about.

So, you have to make it fun. And effort has to be rewarded.

Here are ten fun activities you can do with your children to help them with their writing.

1.  Tell Me About It

Someone who can’t write down what’s in their head may still have an important story to tell.

Instead of writing down the sentence, get your child to record it on a phone or some other recording device.

Then they can play the recording back and write it down. Encourage them – reward them for every word they write down – perhaps with a sticker or with points then when they acquire a certain number of points you can give them a treat.

2. Stop and Go

Some writers aren’t sure where their sentences should begin and end. Make up ‘Stop’ cards and ‘Go’ cards.

Make up  a series of other word cards and lay them out face up in sentences that don’t have full stops or capital letters.

Get your young writer to insert a Go card where they think a sentence should begin and a Stop card where they think it should end and a full stop should be.

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3.  Noun gallery

Label pieces of furniture and items around the house and get kids to read them. Encourage them to write their own labels for things.

4.  Action stations

This is for active kids who don’t like to sit for a long time and write.

Write verbs or action words on word cards. Turn them all face down.

The student then jumps on a card, and turn it over to see what it is. They have to then do that action.

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5. My favourite stories

RUnknowneading to and with your children is really important.  Literacy is just one of the benefits. It can also be a great bonding experience and a time to enjoy language and words together.

Read in a comfortable environment. Make it a fun experience.

You can extend this activity by taking a sentence from a favourite book and writing the words onto cards then asking the student to put the words in the same order as the sentence in the book. You could then encourage them to use some or all of the words to form a new sentence.

6.  Synonym Scramble

On index cards, write down pairs of words that mean the same thing.  Mix the cards around. Get your child to work out which words are pairs.

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Time how long it takes. See if they can get quicker and quicker.

Keep making the words harder and harder as the student gets quicker and more confident with the words.

7. Parts of Speech

On your word cards, colour code words according to whether they are nouns (blue), verbs (green), adjectives (yellow).

Make sentences together, see how long you can make them. You could even time how long it takes you to make for example, a ten words sentence, and just keep playing till you get faster and faster.

Or you could set yourself targets that include for example, three verbs, three nouns and three adjectives.

Refer to the English Club website for more information about parts of speech.

The following table is from the English Club website.

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8. Word Card Snap

If you google ‘word cards’ you’ll find all sorts of word cards that you can print onto card and cut out.

If you make two sets of word cards, with the same words on both, you can play Snap with them.

Start by placing all cards face down on a pile in the middle.

Start a second pile face up next to it.

Each player takes it in turn to turn up one of the face down cards and put it face up on the other pack. If it’s the same as the card that’s already down there, the player places their hand on that pack and calls out snap.

The first player to do this, wins all the cards underneath the one that they ‘snapped’.

9. Squishy Spelling – fun with play dough

Show your child a picture of a word and get them to write it using letters they have made out of play dough.

This is great for kids who aren’t confident with a pen or pencil, but love building or making things with their hands.

You can also do this activity, getting kids to write on a chalkboard or whiteboards.

10.  Which Word is Witch

One of the most confusing things about the English language is that so many words can sound the same but be spelled differently and mean different things.

Word cards can be great for helping with this problem.

Make word cards but include a picture with them. Kids often remember things visually so a picture and will make it easier for them to remember the word.

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 9.01.32 pmI hope you’ve found this post helpful. If you have tips to help writers of all ages who are finding it hard to write in English, please feel free to share them in the comments section of this post.

Please also feel free to share this post with students, parents, adults who you think might find it helpful.

Happy writing:)



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