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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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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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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14 Excuses to Stop Writing NOW

Creative writing is tough. Sometimes all we need is a tiny nudge to make us chuck it in. If you’re looking to bail but need more than a hall pass, here are some tried and tested, totally legitimate, OUTS. Great excuses. Guaranteed to save face. Your face. 1. If you get published you might have…

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Finish your freakin’ novel. Here’s why

I’ve often been asked by aspiring authors if they should send three sample chapters to a publisher and try to get a contract that way. Alarm bells. If that’s what the publisher is asking for,  by all means send them sample chapters. Always give them exactly what they want. That’s, ‘How to be an Author, 101’.…

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How I built a new, author website

Up until a couple of months ago I had severe website shame. My author website was a shambles. It was out of date. It was clunky. It was a technical nightmare, built around grids and tables, unwieldy fecking boxes that made me wail every time I tried to tinker with them. Because I couldn’t access…

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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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