Thursday, June 29, 2017

SCBWI SG _____ How to raise curious and creative children + using story books to inspire your young readers at home

Bright ideas coming out of my head!

This Saturday I'll be at the National Gallery for their Parents & Educators Forum: Curious Children Now, Creative Thinkers for the Future. Details and link below. I think a good childhood really packs in all sorts of opportunities to ask questions, create, and share one's talents. Parents play such an important role in making this happen. You'll see your kids develop the confidence to be expressive, and they grow comfortable sharing their awesomeness with the world. If you scroll further down below, just past the event information, you'll also find some links to our earlier blog posts that help you use storytelling and story writing activities at home. Do say hi at the reception, if you're there on Saturday!

— D

The event details, all on one page

From the National Gallery website:

Children who are curious tend to be self-motivated learners and open to new experiences. These qualities are fundamental to the development of critical thinking skills later in life. This forum delves into the role of museums in cultivating curiosity in children, and equips parents and educators with techniques to engage children through art.

Admission is free but registration is required at

Programme Details:

01 Jul 2017 
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM 

City Hall Wing, Level B1, The Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium

Notes for parents, about developing story skills at home:

1. Budding Writers Project story writing tips
This is a series of free articles I created to promote the Budding Writers Project by Marshall Cavendish Education. Through these easy creative writing exercises, you'll learn how to develop exciting Characters, describe wonderful locations, and also expand your imagination.

2. Lion City Advenures Fan Club Special
Here's another set of free articles I created for parents, covering everything from how to enjoy fairy tales, to why children need books that inspire them to dream bigger, to the importance of funny stories.

3. How kids can write and make their own story books
Presenting an interview with very young author Nela, who explains how she wrote and created her own fantasy book. All children should get to try this at least once!

4. Family time: Let's read!
Easy ideas for happy moments at home as you bond over a story book, whether you have 15 minutes or an hour.

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See photos from the fun launch event at this year's Asian Festival of Children's Content. Published by Armour Publishing.

Monday, June 12, 2017

100 WRITERS _____ This PASSIONATE PEN workshop is something you can sign up for if you're eager to write stories for children

NOTE: This post is part of my 100 WRITERS project.

The world of children's book publishing really took off about ten years ago. Before that, it was a respectable industry, but not seen to be a particularly thrilling or lucrative one. And then a few bestselling books came along and changed all that. People got inspired by how the likes of Harry Potter, Geronimo Stilton, Hunger Games, and many other similar books for young readers, were all turned into successful entertainment brands that sold well around the world. Which explains why there's so much more excitement about children's books now.

If you're interested in writing children's fiction yourself, and exploring such opportunities, the best place to start is with creating an awesome story of your own, around some central characters that children can relate to and fall in love with.

This year, I'm conducting a one-off group writing class for the nice people at Armour Publishing, coming up in September 2017. In this session I'll take you through a Rapid Story Prototyping technique that I use to create my original story concepts for young readers, and also to quickly flesh out the ideas enough so I can get started on the actual writing.

What you learn here will help you connect with young readers more confidently, so you can share with them your own joy of making up fun stories. You'll also find out how to express and develop the youthful imagination that is alive within all of us, a unique voice shaped by our growing up experiences as well as our personal lessons in the journey of life.

There's an early bird ticket rate that ends 31 July 2017. Fellow author Lianne Ong will also be running a session about creating picture books. Event details below. Do feel free to get in touch with the organiser if you'd like to find out more.

Whatever you can imagine, you can create. I wish you happy writing!

— D


Sign up page here

Contact person: Renee Yang —

Event:   The Passionate Pen Writing Workshop
Time & Date:   9 Sept 2017, Saturday, 9 am – 6 pm
Venue:   ERC, Level 7, 30 Prinsep Street, Singapore 188647
Topic:    Writing for Children
Lunch and tea reception provided
Speakers: Mr Don Bosco and Ms Lianne Ong

Mr Don Bosco
Don Bosco writes thrilling fiction for young readers. His creative works include the My Blade Quest Series and Sherlock Hong Adventures Series. Don started the publishing studio Super Cool Books in 2011 to develop original story products for kids.

Ms Lianne Ong
Lianne is best known for her Stacey & the Museums series, Stacey Goes to the National Museum and Stacey Goes to the Peranakan Museum, received the Second Prize award at the Samsung Kidstime Author’s Awards 2015.

Sign up page here

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Monday, June 5, 2017

100 WRITERS _____ Learn from young author NELA how to create your own exciting story series, basically just sit down and do it

NOTE: This post is part of my 100 WRITERS project, read about it here.

I met children's author Kristi Wientge at the Asian Festival of Children's Content 2017. She has a pretty unusual book coming out soon, published by Simon & Schuster. It's called Karma Khullar's Mustache, and it's about a young girl who discovers seventeen hairs growing on her upper lip. You can read about it here. But Kristi's book won't be available for a few more weeks. In the meantime, may I introduce her daughter Nela, who has started to make her own books at home. Nela shares some interesting observations about how to get story ideas, how to create cool cover designs, and why it's not enough to have dragons, you should consider having elves in your first book too. You don't always need to know why, you just need to get rolling. Thanks to Nela and Kristi for putting this interview together.

— D


Introduce yourself, and tell us about your book. 
My name is Nela. The book title is THE DRAGON AND THE LOST GIRL.

Why did you choose to write this story?
Because I like when people write books. It gives me a lot of ideas and I felt like writing a book. I was at my desk and saw a picture of a dragon from a poster and then I was thinking of a lost girl. I don't know why. I was watching a Youtube video about something and I kept thinking of a lost girl.

How did you create the covers?
First I thought I'd just draw a girl that looked like she was homeless, but then I decided to draw a sad face because she's lost and doesn't know what to do. Then, I put the title and colors together. It turned out very nice. For my second book, I didn't really think of any of that because it's about mountains so I made it blue. The third book is about a jungle so it's green. I used pencils to draw, then crayons to color it. The paper is plain notecards that I bought at Popular Bookstore and stapled together.

How do you hope readers will feel after reading your book?
Like sad at the beginning and happy at the end.

What will your next book be about?
My next book is going to be more about the dragons. My first title doesn't mention the elves and there are a few elves. So my next series will be more about elves and dragons.

Nela doesn't have a website yet, but you can find out more about Kristi's middle grade books at

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Sunday, June 4, 2017

100 WRITERS _____ Meet TIFFANY LIM, creator of heroes, kingdoms, myths and her own indie transmedia adventure

NOTE: This post is part of my 100 WRITERS project, read about it here.

Tiffany Lim is an indie producer and writer in Singapore who's launching her own transmedia series, The Gate Seekers. This is about four young heroes who travel around mythological kingdoms to unlock supernatural gateways. Check out the trailer below. Since it's an indie project, she's had to find some interesting ways to get her creative vision off the ground. In this interview, she explains why she's doing this, the kind of mentors she has recruited, and the most valuable lesson for her so far. There are also details about her showcase events coming up, if you're interested in meeting with her. Tiffany also previously interviewed me about my writing and publishing journey, it's on the Cartoons Underground website here.

Happy creating, everyone!

— D


What inspired you to develop this particular story?
I've grown up with stories about mythological kingdoms, and unlikely heroes. However, only a handful of these stories have combined multiple cultures.

I wanted to create a story that features children from different kingdoms, and who are united by the same goal. I've integrated several stories into the Gate Seekers - such as the fables from feudal Japan, the myths from ancient India, the folklore of medieval Europe, and the legends of Greece and Rome.

How have you been developing this?
The Gate Seekers project owes a lot to its faithful mentors and collaborators.

We have currently animated a 40-second animated trailer, 1-minute character previews, and a 5-minute animated pilot.

The Gate Seekers is sponsored by Business Intelligence and 8nalytics Pte Ltd. We are also working with an international distributor, Hub Media Group, to turn this project into a regional animated series.

This project is guided by the following mentors:

Kevin Balhetchet: Previously at Walt Disney Company and Pearson Television International, Head of Licensing (Disney Consumer Products). Current Managing Director of Hub Media Group Pte Ltd.

Kenneth Tan: Assistant Chief Executive (Assessment and Engagement) at Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA). Former Managing Director of Golden Village.

Carlene Tan: Former Business Development Director at One Animation (Jan 2015-August 2016). Former Manager at Media Development Authority of Singapore (2006-2011).

Justin Deimen: Group Managing Partner/Head, Investments of Aurora Media Holdings/Aurora Global Media Capital. Co-founder of the Southeast Asian Film Financing Forum.

Nina Tan: Executive Director of 8nalytics Pte Ltd. Fellow of The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, Member of CPA (Aust).

What is the most interesting thing you've learnt so far about publishing your own stories?
I found working with an international team a very interesting experience.

Although the Gate Seekers' investors and distributors are based in Singapore, the team who worked on our animated pilot was scattered across the United States.

We had to devise creative ways to communicate with each other, and to share our assets. We also had to overcome several challenges, such as communicating over different time zones, faulty internet connections, the list goes on.

In my opinion, working with an international team taught me about collaboration and leadership. It was one of the most interesting, and valuable, experiences that I've had.



Art showcase and public seminar at library@orchard in August 2017.

Art show case and public seminar at Jurong Regional Library in September 2017.

Academic workshop at IMDA Labs at Jurong Regional Library in September 2017.

For more information, contact Tiffany here:

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My book IMAGINE ALL THIS gives you 
the creative tools to use your imagination and 
create your own stories, read excerpts here