Posts tagged Authors

Get writing, with a little help from your friends

My first blog post was about daring to start writing. My second – about how I get inspired (and giant moons). Number three was the top three questions I get asked about writing.

And my last one? This post is about carrying on writing, even when it gets hard. And asking for help.

I’m working on my sixth edit of my fifth story at the moment. Yes, you heard me right – the sixth edit!

This story is 60,000 words long, and I’ve read every one of those 60,000 words over and over, tinkered and played with them, rearranged them, changed them … then started the whole process all over again. Six times in a row.

And it’s still not quite ready to send to a publisher. Before I do that, I’ll ask two clever friends who love words as much as I do to read my story too. They’ll notice things I don’t, and give me advice about ways I can tweak my book to make it even better. Plus they’ll spot the odd word that’s spelled wrong or any words I’ve put in the wrong order too.

So, if you’ve got the writing itch, hitch up your determination, find some clever friends to go on the journey with you, and get writing. It’s worth it – I promise!

Bye for now,

Juliet

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The lure of mystery

Hi everyone – I’ve been looking forward to being your March author.

Do you like mystery?

I do. Growing up, my favourite book series was The Three Investigators. I longed to discover this gang was real and join them as investigator number four –  I mean, they really did need a girl.

I also loved those mysteries you have to solve yourself, like the Encyclopedia Brown stories – except I got impatient and looked up the answers. Then I’d feel angry at myself and try to brainwash myself into believing I’d worked them out on my own.

ImageThe stories I love writing are also mysterious ones. The Fly Papers is full of mystery.

Another series I’m working on is The Owl Kids. It’s for a magazine called Wild Things and has wonderful illustrations by Adele Jackson. (Like the one on the left right!ahem, 45 years old and I still get my left and right mixed up sometimes.)

I’ll talk more about it soon, but you can read the first episode here – and solve the first of its mysteries.

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Author of the Week – Emily Rodda

Author of the Week is a new feature on the Christchurch Kids Blog.  It’s where we’ll introduce you to some great authors whose books you’ll find in our libraries.  If you love the featured author and have read some of the books, we’d love to hear what you think.

Each of the author profiles comes from one of our really cool databases, called Novelist.  If you’re looking for some new books or authors you should really check it out.  This week’s author is Emily Rodda.

The Key to Rondo

Through an heirloom music box, Leo, a serious, responsible boy, and his badly-behaved cousin Mimi enter the magical world of Rondo to rescue Mimi’s dog from a sorceress, who wishes to exchange him for the key that allows free travel between worlds.

The Golden Door

At night the skimmers fly over the Wall looking for human prey and the people of Weld huddle in their houses, but after his two brothers set out through the magic doors in an attempt to find the Enemy and don’t come back, young Rye knows that he must follow and find them.

Tales of Deltora

A fantastical anthology that provides the stories behind the stories of the characters and events of the popular Deltora series.

Rowan of Rin

Because only he can read the magical map, young, weak, and timid Rowan joins six other villagers to climb a mountain and try to restore their water supply, as fears of a dragon and other horrors threaten to drive them back.

The Forests of Silence

The evil Shadow Lord is planning to take over the land of Deltora and enslave all its people. In order to stop him 16-year old Lief and former palace guard Barda must find all seven stones from the magic belt of Deltora.

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Celebrate Michael Morpurgo Month this November

November 2013 sees a month-long celebration of Michael Morpurgo’s wonderful stories, marking his 70th birthday this year.

Throughout November the Michael Morpurgo website is hosting brand new author videos, audio downloads and competitions, focussing on a different book each day. From War Horse to Beowulf and The Butterfly Lion to Kensuke’s Kingdom, celebrate 70 years of Michael Morpurgo’s stories this November.

We’ll be sharing some of our favourite Michael Morpurgo books here on the blog this month.  We’d also love you to share your favourites by writing a review or commenting on a post.

Here’s Michael Morpurgo talking about Michael Morpurgo Month:

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Come to the Storylines Free Family Day

This Sunday (11 August), from 10am-3pm at South Library, you can come along to the Christchurch Storylines Free Family Day.  It’s your chance to meet your literary heroes – authors, illustrators, storytellers and book characters and it’s absolutely FREE!

This year you can meet:

As well as meeting some of our best authors and illustrators you can get your face painted and have a go at some of the fun activities, including create your own menu, draw a friendly monster and perform your very own poem.

See you there!

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2013 Star Authors on the Christchurch Kids Blog

There are only a couple of weeks until our 2013 Star Authors join us on the blog.  We’ve got a great line up of New Zealand and Australian authors joining us this year and I’m sure you’ll make them feel welcome by asking lots of questions.  Here are our Star Authors for 2013:

Which Star Authors are you looking forward to virtually meeting?

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My favourite seriously spooky authors

Some of my favourite stories are ones that creep me out and send a chill down my spine.  When I was a kid there weren’t many authors who wrote horror stories or ghost stories.  R.L. Stine’s books were about the creepiest I could find and he’s still writing them today.  If you look up R.L. Stine in the library catalogue, you’ll find we have 97 of his books in the library!

If you like horror stories, ghost stories or stories about the supernatural there are now lots of authors who write these stories. Some of my favourite seriously spooky authors are:

Who are your favourite seriously spooky authors?

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Get Writing!

Oh dear. My month as Star Author is rapidly drawing to a close. I have really enjoyed spending time, if only virtually, in Christchurch.

As this is one of my last posts, I thought I might stop talking about myself and offer something to you.  If you are reading this, chances are you love reading and/or writing. So I thought you might enjoy some quick writing activities that you can do  to get yourself writing. Grab a pen and paper, and sit yourself down, then choose one of these exercise and just write.

  1. Write a sentence where every word starts with the next letter of the alphabet – a, b, c and so on. (for example A brown cat dropped everything…). Don’t worry if it is silly or even ungrammatical. Just see what comes out.
  2. Write for as long as you can without using the letter ‘e’. Again, don’t worry if it’s a little ungrammatical or silly.
  3. Same as 2, but this time see how long you can write without using the word ‘and’.
  4. Find five random words by opening a book or dictionary and picking the first word you see on five different pages. Or get someone else to give you five random words. Then write a sentence, paragraph or even a story which includes all five words.
  5. Open the book you’re currently reading (you are reading one, aren’t you) at any page, and copy out the first sentence of the second paragraph. Now, close the book and start writing, using that sentence as the first sentence of a completely new piece of writing.

Chances are, none of these exercises will produce an absolute masterpiece. But they will challenge you, might make you laugh, and will help get your creative juices flowing.

Have fun. If you’re brave enough, post one of your efforts here as a comment for the world to see.

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Spring into a new author this month

It’s finally Spring!  The weather’s getting warmer, the flowers are blooming, the air smells like fresh cut grass, and we’re all coming out of hibernation.  A great way to celebrate a new season is to try a new author.  I’m sure there are plenty of authors whose books you love.  You might love Rick Riordan, Jeff Kinney, Jacqueline Wilson, J.K. Rowling or Stacy Gregg, but why don’t you try an author you’ve never read before.

Some of our book lists have some really good ideas.  Check these out:

If you get stuck you can always ask one of the friendly librarians – we love to help kids discover a new author.  Your challenge for the rest of this month is to try a new author or two.  We’d love to hear which new authors you discover so leave a comment on this post.

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Writing Tip of the Week – David Hill

This week’s writing tips comes from New Zealand author David Hill, author of See Ya Simon, Fat, Four-Eyed and Useless, and Running Hot.

“a. Read heaps. The more you read, the more ideas you get.
b. Don’t throw any of your writing away.
c. Start sending work away to places like The School Journal.”

You can read our full interview with David Hill on the Interviews with New Zealand Authors page.

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Interviews with NZ authors and illustrators

One of the really interesting pages that we have on the Kids website are our interviews with New Zealand authors and illustrators.  You can read interviews with Brian Falkner, Bill Nagelkerke, Fleur Beale, Margaret Mahy, Joy Cowley and many more.  You’ll find answers to questions like:

  • What was your most embarrassing moment?
  • Which person from the past would you most like to meet?
  • What’s the best thing and the worst thing about being a writer?
  • If you weren’t a writer what would you be?

We’ve just added to new interviews with Leonie Thorpe and Julie Folkers so come and check them out on the Interviews with NZ Children’s Authors page.  You can even read some short stories written by some of these authors too.

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Secrets of Eromanga by Sheryl Gwyther

Sheryl Gwyther is an Australian author who has been joining us on the Christchurch Kids Blog lately.   We have Sheryl’s book,  Secrets of Eromanga, in the library and we asked Sheryl if she could tell us a little about it .

While writing my junior fiction book, Secrets of Eromanga, I got to work as a volunteer on a dinosaur fossil dig in north western Queensland. And it wasn’t any old dinosaur fossil, it was the dig site for one of the largest sauropods ever found in Australia, the Elliot Dinosaur. The story itself is an adventure set on a fossil dig. I love researching the stories I write, whatever the topic! Not just because it gives you a better feel when you’re writing it, but because you never know what you might dig up (pun not intended).

It was because I also spent a day working on the Lark Quarry Dinosaur Stampede that I got the idea how to weave the story of a young dinosaur through the modern story of main character, 12 year-old Ellie who holidays on a fossil dig and gets caught up in a fossil smuggling plot. So every alternate chapter is the dinosaur’s story.

Lark Quarry Stampede is the only place in the world where you will see over 3300 dinosaur footprints racing away in a stampede when the smaller dinosaurs were chased by a large theropod. Very exciting to imagine that very day with the evidence laid out in the mud 95 million years ago. That mud is now rock, of course. Secrets of Eromanga is for readers 10-12 years old.

I’m an Australian author and I live in Brisbane, Queensland. I did live in New Zealand for a year when I was younger and loved it – especially Christchurch! And I’m not just ‘pulling your leg’ either!

Thanks for that interesting background information about Secrets of Eromanga Sheryl.  If you’d like to know more about Sheryl and her writing, you can visit her blog, SherylGwyther4Kids and if Secrets of Eromanga sounds like your sort of story, grab it from your library.

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Writing Tip of the Week – Derek Landy

This week’s writing tip comes from Derek Landy, creator of Skulduggery Pleasant, Valkyrie Cain, and many other unpleasant characters.  We asked Derek if he could give one piece of advice to budding writers what would it be?

“You have to have fun. When I wrote the first Skulduggery book I didn’t have a clue whether or not it would be published or if anybody would like it, so I concentrated on having fun.  I packed it full of things that I adore; fight scenes, jokes, horror, adventure, magic. Fun is contagious and if you have fun writing it, the reader will have fun reading it. “

Visit Derek Landy’s website for more information about the author and his books, and to test your knowledge of the Skulduggery books.

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Writing Tip of the Week – Eoin Colfer

This week’s writing tip comes from Eoin Colfer, the creator of Artemis Fowl, Holly Short, Foaly and LEPrecon.

“Practise – write every day even if it’s only for ten minutes. Remember, nothing is wasted. Eventually your style will emerge. Persevere!”

Check out Eoin Colfer’s cool website where you can find out more about the characters, watch videos and play games.  Get your hands on a copy of Eoin Colfer’s latest book, Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex, from your library now.

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Check out who was at the Storylines Family Day

Margaret Mahy at Christchurch Storylines Family Day

Margaret Mahy

Joy Cowley at Christchurch Storylines Family Day

Joy Cowley

Gavin Bishop at Christchurch Storylines Family Day

Gavin Bishop

Ross Kinnaird at Christchurch Storylines Family Day

Ross Kinnaird

Sandy McKay at Christchurch Storylines Family Day

Sandy McKay

I had lots of fun walking around and talking to the all the authors and illustrators.  There were lots of kids who were dressed up in costumes.  My favourite costume that I saw was a girl who was Pippi Longstocking.  There were also a few Harry Potters and a Willy Wonka.  I like getting my books signed because I think it’s really special, especially when an author or illustrating writes something nice.

Did you go to the Storylines Family Day?  If you did, what was your favourite part of the day?

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Meet great NZ authors at the Storylines Free Family Day

StorylinesIf you’re looking for something to do this weekend, why don’t you come along to the Storylines Free Family Day at the Christchurch Town Hall from 10am-3pm.  It’s a chance for you to meet some fantastic New Zealand authors and illustrators, including:

You could get your favourite author’s autograph, listen to them talk about their books and read some of them, make a cool mask or bookmark, or learn about the world around you in the Factopia Zone.

Who’s your favourite New Zealand author?  What question would you ask them if you got the chance to meet them?

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Writing Tip of the Week – Margaret Mahy

Our writing tip this week is once again from Margaret Mahy, who will be at the Storylines Free Family Day next Sunday, 15 August at the Christchurch Town Hall.   Come along and listen to Margaret talk about her writing and read some of her books.

“I think writers ought to read a lot, and it is often good to be working on more one story. If your first story does not work out it is comforting to have another story to fall back on. Most writers have to work hard – to write and re-write their stories.”

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Writing Tip of the Week – Joseph Delaney

This week’s writing tip comes from Joseph Delaney, author of the spine-tingling Spook’s Apprentice and other books in the Wardstone Chronicles including his latest book, The Spook’s Nightmare.  Joseph tells us the inspirations for his books and where ideas come from.

The ideas for my books come from nightmares, dreams and day-dreams which I always jot down lest I forget them. Sometimes I’m inspired by the things that people say or do or a piece of town or countryside I see whilst out walking. I do more ‘writing’ in my head than I ever do on paper or type into my computer.

Check out Joseph Delaney’s creepy Spooks website to find out more about the author and his books.

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Writing Tip of the Week – Carole Wilkinson

This week’s writing tip comes from Carole Wilkinson, author of the Dragon Keeper series, and the Ramose series about Ancient Egypt.

“Don’t think you have to write a novel first off. And never try to make a story longer once you have got to the end. There is no set length for a story. A story can be six lines long or it might be 600 pages. A story is as long as it takes to tell.”

Visit Carole Wilkinson’s website for more information about the author and her writing.

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Writing Tip of the Week – Cathy Cassidy

This week’s writing tip comes from Cathy Cassidy, author of Scarlett, Indigo Blue, Sundae Girl and Ginger Snaps.  Here are some of Cathy’s tips on where you can get inspiration for your writing:

Where can you get inspiration?
Daydream…
Use your memories as a resource
Think about the theme and look for unusual starting points
Look at the people around you…
Read, watch tv/films…
Be inspired by old/new photos or paintings…
Talk to friends/family…
Draw a flowchart of ideas
Ask ‘what if’ questions to create a plot
Build a character around a name…
Draw your imaginary character…
Brainstorm and profile their likes/dislikes/appearance…

Go to Cathy Cassidy’s website for more writing tips, information about Cathy and her books.

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