Posts tagged June Star Author

Some fun writing rules

Hi everyone, I hope you all had a great weekend. I was lucky enough to see the comedian Lenny Henry on Sunday night, which was a lot of fun. I’m still in a light mood, so thought I’d share some fun rules on writing. The biggest part of a writer’s life is checking and rechecking work for grammatical mistakes and other errors. I have a fun list next to my computer screen which helps me with this. Here are some pointers:

 1.        Don’t abbrev.

2.         Check to see if you any words out.

3.         Be carefully to use adjectives and adverbs correct.

4.         Don’t use no double negatives.

5.         Just between you and I, case is important.

6.         Don’t use commas, that aren’t necessary.

7.         Its important to use apostrophe’s right.

8.         It’s better not to unnecessarily split an infinitive.

9.         Only Proper Nouns should be capitalized. also a sentence should begin with a capital letter and end with a full stop

10.       Verbs has to agree with their subjects.

11.       Avoid unnecessary redundancy.

12.       A writer mustn’t shift your point of view.

13.       Don’t write a run-on sentence you’ve got to punctuate it.

14.       A preposition isn’t a good thing to end a sentence with.

15.       Avoid cliches like the plague.

16.       1 final thing is to never start a sentence with a number.

17.       Always check your work for accuracy and completeness.

 

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Our War Horse, Bess

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Have any of you seen the recent film The War Horse, based on Michael Morpurgo’s brilliant novel? I still haven’t worked up the courage to go and see it because I know it will upset me too much. The main reason is that not long ago I researched and wrote the true story of New Zealand’s very own war horse, Bess.

During World War One, New Zealand sent over 10,000 horses to fight in the war. But unlike the war horses in the film, most of our horses were sent to the Middle East to fight in the desert. They took the men into battle and had to face searing heat, thirst, hunger, and weariness but they never failed their masters. Of all the horses that served throughout the entire war in the Middle East, only one came home. Her name was Bess.

 I read many of the diaries and letters of the soldiers, called Mounted Riflemen, who rode, lived, and sometimes died with their horses and it was very moving. They became very attached to their horses because they shared so much. I’ve heard the film is moving too; did any of you see it?

 

 

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Our own “Wild West” story

Hi everyone! It’s wonderful to be invited along to chat to you all and I’m looking forward to sharing a bit of my writing journey with you. As you can see from the books I’ve written, it’s obvious where much of my inspiration comes from! I’m animal mad, and that includes all animals – dogs, horses, wolves, cats, I love them all, and many of them pop up in my books. I also love learning about our fascinating past so often I try to weave history into my stories as well.

This is certainly true for my latest book, The Drover’s Quest, which is set in the 1860s gold-mining era. It’s the story of a headstrong girl who disguises herself as a boy so she can join a cattle drove across the Southern Alps to find her missing gold-digger father. During this time, many cattle were driven from Christchurch to the West Coast over the newly formed Arthur’s Pass to feed the miners. Charlotte (“Charlie”) has many adventures and mishaps riding her horse and working her dog across the wild mountain pass.

This story was inspired by the horses in my life and the trekking I do for pleasure. I love riding through the bush and having fun rounding up our pet cow, Bubbles, on my horse. And horses feature largely in our pioneering past. They were the main form of transport of course, but they were also used to move vast herds of cattle and sheep across the land. In some ways, our history in the late 1800s was similar to the taming of the “Wild West” of America. Rugged pioneers, bush cowboys, gun-toting outlaws, and desperate diggers feature in our past too. In The Drover’s Quest, many of these colourful characters gallop through the pages. I hope you’ll enjoy their journey.

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Meet our June Star Author Susan Brocker

Our fantastic June Star Author is New Zealand author, Susan Brocker.  Susan has written a wide range of books for children and teenagers.  Some of them are non-fiction about topics like wildlife conservation and natural science.  Her favourite books are stories she’s written about her favourite things, such as horses, dogs and animals of all sorts.  She loves bringing history alive and making it exciting.

We have lots of Susan’s books in the library, including Restless Spirit, Brave Bess and the Anzac Horses, A Wolf in the Wardrobe, and her latest thrilling historical story, The Drover’s Quest.

Thanks for joining us Susan.  We look forward to hearing all about your books and your writing.

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The secret to my success

Hi again … for the very last time!

I just realised, right at this very moment, that today is the last day of June! Which means it’s the last day I’m the Star Author. That’s not fair! How come I get one of the months with a missing day?

Never mind. It’s been fun. Hope you’ve enjoyed my posts. If there’s anything you want to ask me after today, or want to keep up-to-date with my new books and stuff, you can still contact me through my website – www.kylemewburn.com or you could join my Facebook  fan page – Kyle Mewburn children’s writer.

But now I’ve come to my last post, I guess there’s only one thing left to write about – What is the secret of my success?

Well, lots of writers will tell you the secret of success is perseverance or stick-at-it-ness. No matter how many rejections you get (and you WILL get rejections – I keep all mine in a giant box in the basement), you have to keep trying and keep writing. The main thing is not to take rejections to heart. It doesn’t necessarily mean your story is bad, it just means the person who read it didn’t think it was right for them. BUT you should also try to listen to any reasons people might give for not liking your story. Even if you don’t always agree, you can always learn something from criticism.

Some writers will tell the secret to success is to READ READ READ. The more we read, the better understanding we have of how a good story works. But you have to read with a writer’s brain, really. Don’t just read the story, keep asking yourself questions – like why do I like this paragraph so much? Why does this scene make my hair stand on end? Why did I get bored in the middle of the story? Once you start to understand how other writers work their magic, you can try to use the same techniques in your own writing.

Other writers might tell you the secret to success is more about figuring out the type of story you are really meant to write. Sometimes the kind of stories we write aren’t the stories we SHOULD be writing. (If that makes sense?) Often when we start writing, we want to write the kind of stories we like to read. When I started I wanted to write adult stories. Publishers always said my writing was good, but they never published my story. Luckily I wasn’t pig-headed enough to think I knew better than the publishers. So I didn’t keep writing the same kind of stories, I kept trying out totally different stories. I wrote a science fiction novel, then a “literary” novel, then a sort of non-fiction story, then a historical drama before finally trying to write a story for kids. I was as surprised as anyone when the publishers wanted my story! And even today, when I think about it, I’m very surprised to discover I’m pretty good at writing stories for kids. I never dreamed that’s what I’d be doing!

Anyway, my time as Star Author is rapidly ending and an exciting new Star Author is banging on my door, anxious for their turn. So I better hurry and finish. It’s been great fun. And thanks to the amazing Zac for making this blog such an exciting place to hang out!!

OK, so the real secret to my success is ……………………………….

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Happy Moooooooooooooo-nday!

Hi again!

Well, I don’t normally like Monday mornings much. Do you? But I’m liking this Monday, because I arrived in my office to find the drawings for my next picture book sitting in my Inbox. The book’s called Mooncow, and the amazingly beautiful illustrations are by Deidre Copeland who lives in Cromwell. Deidre has drawn the MOST BEAUTIFUL cow IN THE WORLD. At least I think so. What do YOU think? Have a look and let me know.

I like cows. Even though they’re pretty clumsy sometimes. And Icertainly DON’T like them when they walk across my creek and start trampling my vege garden! My wife, Marion, thinks cows are her favourite animals. She even likes it when they lick her hand, too. But I think that’s totally gross!! What’s YOUR favourite animal? I think mine’s a kangaroo. It would be great to be able to hop a long way and carry all your stuff in a pouch on your belly. Hmmm, but it might all start falling out if you jumped really fast. I wonder what kangaroos keep in their pouches? Maybe a mobile phone and an iPod. Any ideas what you might find in a kangaroo’s pouch … especially if it was an imaginary kangaroo.

Anyway, my story, Mooncow is about a cow called Milly who wants to be friends with the moon because she thinks they are very similar. Like Milly is big and round and pale, and so is the moon. And Milly is a bit lonely, too, just like the moon. (Or at least she imagines it must be pretty lonely floating in the sky.) So Milly tries to get the moon to like her by keeping it company, and talking to it, and even juggling cowpats to entertain the moon. And it seems to be working, too, because the moon is getting closer, and closer each night …

OK, I won’t tell you what happens. The book will be in the shops in November, I think. In the meantime, let me know what your favourite animal is, and I might just write a story about it. If I DO, I might even name it after YOU!!

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a new story to read, check out my brand new FaBo mystery story (and a couple of cool stories by this week’s winners) at www.fabostory2.blogspot.com  This week the challenge is to write a thriller with a clone as the main character! Hmmm, not sure if I’d like to have a clone. Though it might be useful if I have to do something boring, then I could send my clone along instead. And ideas what you’d do if YOU had a clone? Or 10 clones??

Have a lovely Mooooooo-nday!

Kyle

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The dinosaurs are coming!!

Hi again!

This morning I was walking to work and saw a poster for the amazing “Walking with Dinosaurs” show that’s visiting New Zealand. They’ve got lots of life-size robot dinosaurs. WOW! It would be so amazing to see that. But unfortunately it’s in Auckland. That’s too far to go, even to see a dinosaur.

But seeing that poster made me remember when I was in North Dakota in the United States last year and got to PAT A REAL DINOSAUR!! OK, it wasn’t an alive dinosaur. I don’t think I’d be brave enough to pat a live dinosaur. Would you? Hmmm, maybe I would pat a microceratops or something really tiny… Anyway, the dinosaur I patted was the only mummified dinosaur in THE WORLD!! They found it a few years ago just inside the border. It had been caught in a mudslide and was buried for millions of years. But because the mud stopped the air getting to it (or something), the dinosaur got turned into a mummy. The only problem is, the mud slowly turned to rock, so the dinosaur is locked inside a giant boulder. Experts at the museum put the whole boulder through all sorts of special scanners and managed to see inside. They were very surprised to find they could see EVERYTHING like its organs and bones and everything else. That’s how they know what sort of dinosaur it is, and exactly what it looked like.

Dinosaur experts all around the world are very excited. Because nobody has ever been able to look inside a dinsoaur before. Now a team of people with tiny drills is slowly uncovering the dinosaur. They have been working for four years, but have only uncovered a small bit so far. It’s slow work because they have to be very careful not to damage anything.

Anyway, while I was in North Dakota, I met someone who was working at the museum, and he took me into the basement and let me pat the dinosaur’s scales. I was very surprised that the scales were so small. The dinosaur was at least 4 metres long, but its scales were smaller than my thumbnails. It was very exciting!!! And I started to imagine what it would be like to live when the dinosaurs were everywhere. It would be very scary, I think, but very exciting, too. What do YOU think it would be like?

That made me think about writing a book about dinosaurs. I didn’t want to write a true story, because that would mean researching all about dinosaurs and what it was like at that time. And I HATE research. I don’t read non-ficiton unless I really have to!! So I decided to write a funny and very GROSS story instead. I also decided it would be funny if dinosaurs and people lived together.

So my idea was to write about a boy called Arg who has a much bigger brain than the other cave people. He feels a bit lonely sometimes because there’s nobody to talk to that understands him. But one day he meets a talking T-rex called Skeet. When Skeet tells Arg the dinosaurs are becoming extinct, Arg decides to help save them. The story was so exciting, I couldn’t stop writing them. So now I’ve written FOUR books in a new series callled DINOSAUR RESCUE. The first book is called T-wreckasaurus, and is coming out in August. I think the stories are very exciting, and they have lots of totallly GROSS things happening. There’s also a lot of poo, vomit and snot … oh, and Arg’s mum likes pipcking her nose and eating it, too.

I was very lucky that the amazingly talented illustrator Donovan Bixley wanted to draw pictures for the series. He is a total dinosaur NUT!! Every page has got amazing cartoons, and there’s lots of really useful information about brontosaurus poo and stuff.

What’s YOUR favourite dinosaur? If you let me know, and tell me why, I’ll get Donovan to draw it in the next book! Wouldn’t that be cool?

OK, enough dinosaur talk. I better do some proper writing.

Kyle

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