What defines a main character?

Sometimes we refer to people as ‘real characters’. How weird. Is this uniquely Australian? Is it an Australianism? ‘Oh, my great aunt was a real character!’ Either way, it’s nearly always a term of endearment. There are loads of characters in my daily circle. The old bloke who wears a duster coat, drives a 1950s…

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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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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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Who said what? The importance of tagging dialogue in kid lit

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…

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How to become a better writer

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.…

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Get your characters moving! Here’s how.

  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…

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Sing, fish, sing! Creating quirky characters in fiction

Hello ducksters! This week in class we looked at character. It’s a HUGE topic. Everyone had loads to say, especially me. I didn’t get through half the material I wanted to cover. I didn’t even have time to eat a cupcake. And there were cupcakes. And mini muffins. Lemon butter biscuits. Homemade banana bread. Hold on. What I mean to say…

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