Writing books is about the art of writing. But it’s also about problem solving. This aspect of writing is often glossed over. But it trips up countless aspiring authors. They often confuse problems with lack of talent. When they hit a stumbling block, they assume it’s because they can’t write. Not so. They probably just need to do knuckle … More Is this why you think you can’t write?
I wrote my first picture book in the 1980s. It was about a teddy bear. Mr Bear spent several hours dangling from a clothesline. Gripping stuff. I popped my story in an envelope and sent it to a publisher. Six months later when the rejection slip arrived, I stuck it to the wall above my typewriter. … More How to become a better writer
Sometime ago, I was staying in a hotel in Sydney. It was a busy morning and there was a queue to get into the dining room for breakfast. I was glad I had an apple. Dum de dum. In front of me was a young family. Mum, Dad and two little kids. Primary school age. Waiting, … More One cool way to help readers remember your story
You might have caught a glimpse of this post a while back. I accidentally published the draft. Then I had a nervous breakdown trying to reel it in. Luckily, there were no swear words in that draft. Nothing too incriminating. It’s a miracle, really. Considering the topic. Let me begin with a disclaimer: Unlike most … More Help! I don’t know what I’m writing! Categories in kid lit
‘Narnia! It’s all in the wardrobe just like I told you!’ Dialogue. Lordy lord, it can bring writers undone. Basically, dialogue needs to lively and straight to the point. Cut any excess. Say what needs to be said, then keep moving. Especially in kid lit. Your characters should be speaking within some kind of engaging … More Talking heads. Why you should shut them up, pronto
If your story’s a bit flat, if things aren’t moving, have a think about your characters. What’s driving them? In particular, think about your main character. Your protagonist. Is your protagonist wobbling along on a rusty pushbike, veering all over the track, in danger of falling off at any moment? Is she wandering through the story … More Get your characters moving! Here’s how.
It was a dark and stormy night. Your story starts… now! Authors, all levels of experience and skill, often drag their feet (or their pen) at the start of a story. Sometimes they’re trying to say too much, trying to give the reader too much detail up front. Watch out for this! Other times, the author … More How to fix the start of your story
I used to have a studio at a Melbourne arts precinct. Funnily enough, mine was Studio 54. That might ring a bell for some of you. Doesn’t matter. The fact is, my studio was a hub. People were always dropping by for a chat or a grizzle or a giggle. Most of them were other artists and writers. … More The secret all good writers use (and no one talks about)
Originally posted on girl and duck:
Early in 2016 I decided it was time to start teaching creative writing again. I’d taught a few years earlier and loved everything about it—the connection, the conversations, the sharing, reading, writing, coffee! Heaven. This time though I wanted to commit more fully, and build something for my students that was rich and…
Early this year I was interviewed by a rather pompous character called, Bookworm. It was for a Channel 9 kids TV show. I’ll let you know when it screens… At one point during the interview, Bookworm said, ‘I hear you collect words.’ I said, ‘Who told you that?!’ Bookworm was taken aback (and that’s saying something). … More Why all writers need a secret stash