Lights! Cameras! Book Week! I LOVE dressing my characters. Over the years lots of readers (and their parents) have sent me their Truly Tan pics from Book Week. I’ve compiled my own little parade to give you some ideas. See below. Scroll down for other costume ideas, too! Plus a little bit about my next … More Book Week costumes and another TV appearance!
Universalities. Those little pearls of wisdom… In literature, universalities are statements that apply to everyone or to the human condition. Sometimes they’re accurate, insightful and give readers, young and old, a lovely ah-ha moment. Sometimes they’re grossly inaccurate. Famous universalities in literature include: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a … More Want readers to sigh over your work? Try this
Sometimes, when I wake up in the morning, I pretend it’s 1974. There’s a landline in the hallway. A black & white TV. Two channels. No remote. A transistor on the kitchen windowsill. A record player in the lounge room. For special occasions. That’s it. That’s all. Peace. My mind stills. My nervous system settles. Then I think, … More Be still and remember
If you write for kids, you’ll be asked to visit schools from time to time. Some authors relish this and seek it out. Others find it exhausting. If you’re an introvert, like me, you might find this side of things gruelling. Remember, being an introvert has nothing to do with self-esteem and shyness. It just … More How to survive school visits
I’ve read loads of manuscripts that start out funny or entertaining or full of potential. Then the dialogue kicks in and, quite frankly, it’s a birdy’s breakfast. Nothing will baffle an editor faster than poorly tagged dialogue. Do not overlook this if you want your manuscript to win friends and influence people. If you want editors and publishers … More Who said what? The importance of tagging dialogue in kid lit
1 They write as if their work is being marked. It’s hard to lose that inner student, the kid who’s shit scared of getting it wrong. But you’re not that kid anymore. You can write whatever the hell you want. In any shape or form. People don’t know what to do with this freedom. It … More Seven common mistakes aspiring authors make
Is there a hierarchy in the children’s book industry? You betcha. If you’re just entering this dog-eat-dog world, think of it like a school. A large, grey bugger with high fences and lots of asphalt. The picture book creators are kept inside, in a rarefied, humidity-controlled, tastefully decorated sanctuary. Busy finger painting. Will speak to fairies. No one else. The … More Behold! The children’s book industry. Here’s how it works
When I worked in publishing, I was surprised by the number of unsolicited manuscripts that had wonky tense. Not the occasional transgression. They crop up in most manuscripts. I’m talking about tense that was a bit like time travel. Totes all over the place, girlfriend. Past, present, here, there, everywhere. Now, when I teach IRL (in real life), … More Here’s where writers often stuff up. (Part Two of yesterday’s post)
If your story isn’t taking off, maybe you’re telling it from the wrong perspective. The wrong point of view. I’ve been known to go on about this. But it’s important. I’ve grappled with it so often it’s become a fallback for when things are going badly. If my story is dragging its feet, I reassess. I think, okay, can … More How Point of View can save your story (Part One of two posts)
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?