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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House Huntin’, Book Writin’, and the Inaugural Scribbles Live Round

The other day my friend, Tania McCartney, told me about Bullet Journalling. Sounds like fun! I’ll follow it up. It made me think of Bullet Blogging. Could I try that??? Is that even a thing? It is now. Here goes: The hunt for a country house continues. We’ve seen millions (well, that’s how it feels).…

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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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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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Book Week costumes and another TV appearance!

Lights! Cameras! Book Week! I LOVE dressing my characters. Over the years lots of readers (and their parents) have sent me their Truly Tan pics from Book Week. I’ve compiled my own little parade to give you some ideas. See below.  Scroll down for other costume ideas, too! Plus a little bit about my next…

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Here’s where writers often stuff up. (Part Two of yesterday’s post)

When I worked in publishing, I was surprised by the number of unsolicited manuscripts that had wonky tense. Not the occasional transgression. They crop up in most manuscripts. I’m talking about tense that was a bit like time travel. Totes all over the place, girlfriend. Past, present, here, there, everywhere. Now, when I teach IRL (in real life),…

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One cool way to help readers remember your story

  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,…

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What are your characters wearing? It matters!

I don’t know about you, but as a kid I loved playing dress-ups. I was always parading around in the weirdest combos. Sometimes I wanted to look like Jeanie in I Dream of Jeanie. Another time I remember trying to look like a crone. I put talcum powder in my hair, donned some wire spectacles, draped myself in a black…

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Nine Tips for Becoming a Real Writer

  1/ Make writing a high priority. Never jam writing time into your day. Jam your day into your writing time. 2/ Write while you’re fresh. Run errands when you’re flagging. Errands rarely require much brain power. Remember, writing is High Priority. You don’t want a gravestone that says, ‘She ran countless errands.’ 3/ Have…

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