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 … More Help! I don’t know what I’m writing! Categories in kid lit
‘Narnia! It’s all in the wardrobe just like I told you!’ Dialogue. Lordy lord, it can bring writers undone. Basically, dialogue needs to lively and straight to the point. Cut any excess. Say what needs to be said, then keep moving. Especially in kid lit. Your characters should be speaking within some kind of engaging … More Talking heads. Why you should shut them up, pronto
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 … More Get your characters moving! Here’s how.
I used to have a studio at a Melbourne arts precinct. Funnily enough, mine was Studio 54. That might ring a bell for some of you. Doesn’t matter. The fact is, my studio was a hub. People were always dropping by for a chat or a grizzle or a giggle. Most of them were other artists and writers. … More The secret all good writers use (and no one talks about)
Early this year I was interviewed by a rather pompous character called, Bookworm. It was for a Channel 9 kids TV show. I’ll let you know when it screens… At one point during the interview, Bookworm said, ‘I hear you collect words.’ I said, ‘Who told you that?!’ Bookworm was taken aback (and that’s saying something). … More Why all writers need a secret stash
Writers love words. Not just for what they do—create entire universes. They love them as individuals. Most writers (and editors) will blush with delight when handed a dictionary. They enjoy nothing more than ‘word talk’. Who likes pernickety, lilting, lumber, moot? Moot is a queer word. Queer is a great word that’s taken on a … More Why unwriting is a writer’s best friend
It’s only subjective! They don’t know everything! You have to stick to your guns! Over the years I’ve been privy to conversations wherein authors discuss/ argue/ wail about their editors. Likewise, I’m often asked by aspiring authors and illustrators, ‘What should I do when my editor makes suggestions and I don’t agree with them?’ Sometimes … More What do editors know?
This week on Duckie TV, we kicked off Q & Q Friday 2017, with a mindset question. A duckie wrote to ask if I ever compared myself to other writers and if so, how did I cope with it. Hello? Did I ever compare myself to others? Hell, yeah! I’ve even tried to dress like my favourite … More Do you compare yourself to other writers? Let’s break the addiction
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 … More The 2 problems publishers have with rhyming picture books
1 Stories exist in their entirety before we start writing. They live on the astral plane. It’s up to us to usher them onto this plane. 2 Stories want to be on this plane. But only on their terms. 3 All stories have a face. But they’re tricksters. The first face they show you might be a ruse, … More Six curious things I believe about stories