Why NaNoWriMo Would Never Work For Me

  I run a private Facebook group for aspiring authors and illustrators. You might have heard of it (ahem). It’s called The Duck Pond. Hop on my mailing list if you’d like to join. I also run a private Facebook group for those who are doing my online course, Scribbles. I love both groups equally…

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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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Chick lit for tweenies. Ten tips to get you started

Generally speaking, tweenies are kids in the 8 -12 age group. But in the world of children’s books, the category is tighter. Somewhere along the line, astute marketing execs identified a subset. These are kids aged about 10 -12, and their needs and interests are complex, often contradictory. As most parents will tell you, a couple of…

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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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How to stay happy, productive and vaguely sane in the publishing industry

One of my favourite moofies from the 1980s was Heartburn with Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson. I’m not sure why I loved it so. I’ve always been gaga for Streep. Also, she wore some snazzy (1980s) outfits in that film. Good beads. Capacious shoulder-bags. New York boho actress/writer/intellectual look. That was a look, right? And…

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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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Eight reasons I hate writing

Warning: This post is a rant. If you don’t like rants, click off. That’s what I said. Click. Off. Don’t write and say, ‘I hate rants, Jen, and now I’m offended.’ Just go find some knitting tips and leave me to vent. Okay.  I rant.  But I don’t tell lies. No. I. Don’t. So occasionally…

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Shining on the slush pile (revisited)

The following is a transcript from an early Q and Q Friday (Questions and Quacks). You can read the transcript or you can scroll down and watch the video. Yay! If you subscribe to girl and duck you’ll receive a Q and Q video like this one, every Friday. Straight to your inbox. Free! Dear…

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Want readers to sigh over your work? Try this

Universalities. Those little pearls of wisdom… In literature, universalities are statements that apply to everyone or to the human condition. Sometimes they’re accurate, insightful and give readers, young and old, a lovely ah-ha moment. Sometimes they’re grossly inaccurate. Famous universalities in literature include: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a…

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