Institute Opening Sale! Be quick!

Hello, dear reader. Do you remember the Ponds Institute?   Here at girl and duck HQ, I desperately wanted to call our new school, The Pond Institute. In loving memory, of course. And so I could justify a lab coat. But. I didn’t want to get sued. So, we have opened the girl and duck…

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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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Story arcs made simple! Plus, how I wrote my first book.

Here at HQ (aka The Palace) I’ve been thinking about narrative arcs. Story arcs. Those things what you hang a story on… Pesky, aren’t they? Exposition Rising action Climax Falling action Resolution My friend refers to stories with saggy arcs as ‘souffle stories’. They sink in the middle. Nice! Here’s my simile: Writing fiction is like skiing. The…

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Geek Duck’s Top Ten Tips for Partners of KidLit Creators

I rarely if ever have guest bloggers. Why? Because I can’t be stuffed. It all sounds like way too much verk. And you know how I like to keep verk to minimum. But last week Geek Duck came to me and said, ‘I want to write a blog post, do you mind?’ ‘Go right ahead,’…

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Let Your Heart Be Light

Hello! I like writing blog posts at Christmas. No one expects much. Do they? Writing: I finally finished Truly Tan: Baffled! (book seven) and delivered it to my publisher on time (working right up until December 15, the day it was due). Phew! Next year I’ll be waaaay more organised. Ahem. Finalising: We signed off…

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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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Want to be a writer? Six reasons you should stop reading

Okay. I’m in badass mode. Advice to aspiring authors, 101: Read, read, read! Over and over, that’s what I hear published authors hollering. They say read voraciously, read widely, read like your life depends on it. Great advice. Fantastic advice. Up to a point. If you’re an aspiring author, I would add, please, please, please, don’t…

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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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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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