Creative writers: Two things you must have that I can’t give you

I've been thinking about teaching. I think about it a lot. You see, I've been gathering notes for another tutorial to add to the girl & duck Institute. This one's about voice. Voice is one of my FAVOURITE topics. It should be every author's favourite topic. Well. Top five at least. By the way... Do …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …