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
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
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.
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)
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
A while back, I wrote a blog post. You know why? Because I had a nice photo of bulbs in pots. You know. Flowers and stuff. Here it is. Pretty, hey? I thought, how can I write a blog post around this image? I love this image. I want to use this image! I must, I must, … More How to write a shitty blog post
Writers love words. Not just for what they do—create entire universes. They love them as individuals. Most writers (and editors) will blush with delight when handed a dictionary. They enjoy nothing more than ‘word talk’. Who likes pernickety, lilting, lumber, moot? Moot is a queer word. Queer is a great word that’s taken on a … More Why unwriting is a writer’s best friend
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 … More What do editors know?
This week on Duckie TV, we kicked off Q & Q Friday 2017, with a mindset question. A duckie wrote to ask if I ever compared myself to other writers and if so, how did I cope with it. Hello? Did I ever compare myself to others? Hell, yeah! I’ve even tried to dress like my favourite … More Do you compare yourself to other writers? Let’s break the addiction