Institute Opening Sale! Be quick!

Hello, dear reader. Do you remember the Ponds Institute?   Here at girl and duck HQ, I desperately wanted to call our new school, The Pond Institute. In loving memory, of course. And so I could justify a lab coat. But. I didn’t want to get sued. So, we have opened the girl and duck…

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Three ways to make yourself write

Excuses not to write or create. We’ve all got truckloads. Snoresville. Don’t waste mental and emotional energy trying to push through or fight with your excuses. Don’t try to rationalise them, either. Don’t take them out, hold them to light, polish and stroke them. And don’t try tossing out your everyday life in the name…

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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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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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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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