My Depth Year, 2019

My Depth Year is about noticing the everyday and acknowledging what goes on. This afternoon in the space of ten minutes, I saved a lizard from drowning in my watering can, buried a dead bird in the fairy garden and planted a row of black hollyhocks at the foot of a fallen mulberry tree. So…

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Part Three. My Year in Review: Work and biz, the flops and the favourites

Here’s Part Three of the trilogy, my love! Talk about a saga. Let’s start with This Writing Life. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly! The Good Truly Tan: Baffled! (that’s book seven) came out in October (in paperback and in audio). The series continues to delight old fans and gather new recruits. This year…

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Why do we care so much about shortlists?

Someone recently asked, what’s the big deal about a shortlist? What’s the big deal? A shortlist groups together the best!  It acknowledges the most accomplished of a long and always healthy collection of entries. It’s also how we make competitions like the Scribbles Creative Writing Awards, manageable — both for the judges and for the competitors. Imagine if we only…

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Creative writers: Two things you must have that I can’t give you

I’ve been thinking about teaching. I think about it a lot. You see, I’ve been gathering notes for another tutorial to add to the girl & duck Institute. This one’s about voice. Voice is one of my FAVOURITE topics. It should be every author’s favourite topic. Well. Top five at least. By the way… Do…

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Book news, cottage news, garden news. All the news.

In the last Q and Q Friday video, we talked about writing picture books via the illustrations. In other words, an alternative way to write a PB is to start with the pictures. Lots of creators, especially illustrators, work this way. Pictures first. Words second. Sweeeeet. So. That’s what I’m doing here. I’m pulling some…

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Cottage news, awards and competitions (for you), film news and a studio that requires imagination

Blog time. Go, Jen, go. K. The hunt is over! We bought a cottage in the country!  OMG! This Easter we got ten substandard Easter Eggs and a 1930s cottage with two big trees, a wasp nest and a headless statue. Exhibit A: We move in winter. Lots of time to declutter — the house,…

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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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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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Why all writers need a secret stash

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).…

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What do editors know?

It’s only subjective! They don’t know everything! You have to stick to your guns! Over the years I’ve been privy to conversations wherein authors discuss/ argue/ wail about their editors. Likewise, I’m often asked by aspiring  authors and illustrators, ‘What should I do when my editor makes suggestions and I don’t agree with them?’ Sometimes…

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