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 … More Chick lit for tweenies. Ten tips to get you started

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 … More Want to be a writer? Six reasons you should stop reading

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 … More Here’s why minor characters are important

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

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 … More Oi! Here’s an easy way to liven up your stories

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 … More Want readers to sigh over your work? Try this

Who said what? The importance of tagging dialogue in kid lit

I’ve read loads of manuscripts that start out funny or entertaining or full of potential. Then the dialogue kicks in and, quite frankly, it’s a birdy’s breakfast. Nothing will baffle an editor faster than poorly tagged dialogue. Do not overlook this if you want your manuscript to win friends and influence people. If you want editors and publishers … More Who said what? The importance of tagging dialogue in kid lit

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)