A quick announcement

Happy 2018 from girl and duck! This is not an official ‘blog post’. It’s just a quick note to let you know Questions and Quacks begins again tomorrow morning! Questions and Quacks, (or Q & Q Friday as we like to call it) is your one stop, kid lit, video wonderland. No exaggeration! It’s where…

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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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Behold! The children’s book industry. Here’s how it works

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…

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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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Help! I don’t know what I’m writing! Categories in kid lit

  You might have caught a glimpse of this post a while back. I accidentally published the draft. Then I had a nervous breakdown trying to reel it in. Luckily, there were no swear words in that draft. Nothing too incriminating. It’s a miracle, really. Considering the topic. Let me begin with a disclaimer: Unlike most…

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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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The 2 problems publishers have with rhyming picture books

Hello, sunshine!  Missing Q & Q Friday? Here’s a transcript from a  lovely one we recorded last year. Thanks to Suzy from Wagga Wagga in NSW for this awesome Q! You can listen, read or watch. Whatever suits you. or visit the Girl and Duck Podcast on iTunes where you can subscribe and listen on the go. The Q: As an aspiring illustrator who…

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How not to brief an illustrator

Early in 2016 I decided it was time to start teaching creative writing again. I’d taught a few years earlier and loved everything about it—the connection, the conversations, the sharing, reading, writing, coffee! Heaven. This time though I wanted to commit more fully, and build something for my students that was rich and supportive. Something with staying power. I…

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