Here’s why minor characters are important

I remember reading one time, that the difference between secondary characters and minor characters  is  that minor characters don’t speak. Sometimes they don’t even have names. This definition confused me. All my stories have minor characters who speak. Sometimes they have quite a lot to say. Does that make them secondary characters? Is that how they…

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How to stay happy, productive and vaguely sane in the publishing industry

One of my favourite moofies from the 1980s was Heartburn with Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson. I’m not sure why I loved it so. I’ve always been gaga for Streep. Also, she wore some snazzy (1980s) outfits in that film. Good beads. Capacious shoulder-bags. New York boho actress/writer/intellectual look. That was a look, right? And…

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The Key to Writing Great Stories

  People are always asking me, Jen, how do I make my writing shine? Jen, what will make my manuscript pop? Jen, what’s the one, single, best, top of the charts, CRACKERJACK thing that will make my stories sparkle? Weeeeell… Maybe it’s voice. Maybe it’s character. Maybe it’s originality, verve, heart. The list is like…

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Oi! Here’s an easy way to liven up your stories

Does your writing sometimes feel a bit, erm, pedestrian? The following post will give you some fresh ideas, help you shove more energy into your stories.   Dear Diary Will letters, notes, doodles or lists add interest to my stories? Yours sincerely Inventive Author These days kids have words and images coming at them from all…

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Eight reasons I hate writing

Warning: This post is a rant. If you don’t like rants, click off. That’s what I said. Click. Off. Don’t write and say, ‘I hate rants, Jen, and now I’m offended.’ Just go find some knitting tips and leave me to vent. Okay.  I rant.  But I don’t tell lies. No. I. Don’t. So occasionally…

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Shining on the slush pile (revisited)

The following is a transcript from an early Q and Q Friday (Questions and Quacks). You can read the transcript or you can scroll down and watch the video. Yay! If you subscribe to girl and duck you’ll receive a Q and Q video like this one, every Friday. Straight to your inbox. Free! Dear…

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Book Week costumes and another TV appearance!

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…

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Want readers to sigh over your work? Try this

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…

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Be still and remember

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,…

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How to survive school visits

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…

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