First Chapter Stew


The first chapter is arguably the most difficult one to craft. Not only do you need to introduce your protagonist and their circumstances, it’s also important to do some world building to give the reader a sense of setting.

This process can be likened to a chef flavouring a meal… Too much of one herb or spice can easily overpower the others and affect the overall flavour. 

The Recipe

The most important ingredient is the protagonist, as no matter how wonderful your setting and plot, a reader needs to feel connected with the main character in order to continue reading.

Plot needs to be sprinkled liberally into the first chapter, or at least anticipation of a solid plot in the pages to come.

World building can be hinted at in chapter one and built upon in subsequent chapters. 

However, the most important thing a writer can do when faced with a crisp white page is bravely dive in and write something down.
Changes can always be made later in the process… As Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton once said “Nothing is ever written, it’s rewritten”.

Be prepared to experiment, even if that sometimes means scraping burnt offerings into the metaphorical bin, and starting from scratch with fresh ingredients.

Bon appetite!


Exciting News!


I am pleased to announce that I’ve just signed to Hen & Ink, and the esteemed Erzsi Deak is now my literary agent!!

Back in February I submitted a few pages and synopsis to Hen & Ink’s ‘Open Coop’ day — a short window of opportunity in which to send relevant material to this otherwise ‘closed to submissions’ literary studio.

I loved the look and feel of the agency right from the start — the humorous illustrations and family atmosphere on their website drew me right in — and the fact that the ‘coop’ was home to both writers and illustrators was an added bonus, as the manuscript I submitted is an illustrated MG.

Fast forward to late March, and an e-mail requesting the full manuscript. I tried not to get overexcited, but realised soon after pressing ‘send’ that I’d recently changed the name of my story and had sent the full under a different title to the original submission!

Feeling like an utter buffoon, I quickly sent another e-mail explaining this, before sitting under a virtual blanket of newbie shame for the rest of the day.

I tried not to dwell on the matter, as I’ve learned through experience (with scriptwriting) that it’s easy to turn into a gibbering wreck if too much time is spent overthinking things which are out of one’s hands, and instead threw myself into other projects.

Yesterday, I noticed on Twitter that Erzsi Deak had just followed me. My heart started pounding — surely this could only be a good sign?

I opened my inbox to find a lovely email from Erzsi herself, saying that she loved my book and offering representation!

Needless to say, I performed a whooping ‘Snoopy dance’ to the amusement of my cat, and accepted Erzsi’s offer straight away.

I am so looking forward to working with Erzsi, and will keep you posted!

Au revoir 😉





Although I write a lot, I also love illustrating. The mean looking flea and chicken-snail featured on this blog are illo’s from a humourous sci-fi that I’m subbing to agents at present.

Sometimes I feel the urge to draw something which doesn’t necessarily ‘go’ with anything I’m working on, and today was such a day.

I usually sketch using a soft pencil and go over with permanent ink, erasing the pencil marks.

Then I scan into photoshop before cleaning up and colouring in.

I find the whole process very relaxing and enjoy it immensely!

love to read colour