To celebrate the release of Who Framed Klaris Cliff?, a stunningly original debut novel from Nikki Sheehan, we’re offering you the chance to get feedback on your writing from Nikki and her editor at Oxford Children’s Books, and the chance to discuss all things publishing, PLUS a signed copy of the book!
About the book
Remember how you felt when you first read books like Maggot Moon, The Fault in Our Stars, and Wonder?
Who Framed Klaris Cliff? will make you feel the same. It’s quirky and gripping, written in a fresh and powerful voice, and with a truly original premise. In Joseph’s world, the government has declared imaginary friends a danger to society, accusing them of terrible crimes, and of going ‘rogue’ – migrating from one person’s imagination to another.
Fear about imaginary people has reached fever pitch, which is bad news for Joseph and the imaginary person, Klaris, who has just turned up in his head.
“People used to call them ‘friends’ and said how they were good for your brain. And then the day came when all that changed . . . when they became the enemy.
Now, anyone found harbouring a rogue imaginary person is in for The Cosh – an operation that fries your imagination and zaps whatever’s in there out of existence.
That’s why I wish Klaris Cliff had never shown up. And why I know that proving her innocence is the last hope I have of saving myself.”
Use this extract from the start of Who Framed Klaris Cliff? as inspiration to write a story of no more than 3,000 words about an imaginary friend or the power of the imagination.
Things you might like to think about:
· Why do people have imaginary friends?
· What is this imaginary friend like – and are they welcome, or not?
Feedback from Nikki Sheehan
"Thank you so much to everyone who entered the competition. I loved reading all your work, but I’d like to give a special mention to The Cosh by Samantha Clark, The Gun in my Bag by erin-the-strange, and Scream if You Want to go Faster by Bookworm皿.
However, a winner had to be chosen, so huge congratulations to Nina for her entry, The Swinging Lullaby. It’s a sensitive, mature and intriguing piece of writing, and, even on a third reading, it gave me shivers at the end. That is quite an accomplishment, Nina, and you are a very deserving winner.
I was really heartened to see how many people entered the competition, and the feedback and support that the members of Movellas give to each other. It reminds me of the writing group that I belong to. We meet once a month and, as well as enjoying hearing their stories, I find it very useful to have a second opinion on my work.
But in the end the person whose judgement matters the most is my own. So here are a few tips that I have picked up on my journey so far that help me to make my work the best it can be.
1. Don’t follow trends
You might think you’ll get rich writing a vampire/witch/beautiful teens dying of cancer story, but it won’t work if you’re not being true to yourself and writing the kind of book that you’d like to read.
2. If you happen to be into stories about teenage vampire/witches dying of cancer don’t be put off
There’s always room for another really great book, but think about how you can make yours stand out.
3. Writing the first draft can seem like the hardest part, but don’t underestimate the editing
Try to leave a few weeks between each edit, and when you think it’s absolutely perfect read it again, but this time do it aloud. You may sound a bit mad, but believe me, it will be worth it, particularly when it comes to realistic dialogue. Don’t forget that every successful book has been edited many many times before anyone in the industry has seen it, and if you send it off too soon you may waste your only opportunity to impress an agent.
4. Love what you do
Yes, writing is hard work, but it should also be enjoyable. If you’re feeling down about your writing, don’t give up! Step back and try to find out what’s wrong. Maybe you need to adjust your plot, write a plot if you don’t have one, or even throw your plot out of the window and follow your intuition. Maybe you need to write the ending first or kill off a character. Or maybe you need to put it aside for a few weeks and write something else. There are no rules, so just do what it takes until you find the love again."