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

How Point of View can save your story (Part One of two posts)

If your story isn’t taking off, maybe you’re telling it from the wrong perspective. The wrong point of view. I’ve been known to go on about this. But it’s important. I’ve grappled with it so often it’s become a fallback for when things are going badly. If my story is dragging its feet, I reassess. I think, okay, can … More How Point of View can save your story (Part One of two posts)

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

Talking heads. Why you should shut them up, pronto

‘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

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 … More Get your characters moving! Here’s how.

The secret all good writers use (and no one talks about)

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)