Archive for the ‘non fiction’ Category

Our summer project: image We’ve made the how-to-build-billy-cart youtube video, written Dirt Busters, Book 2 of our Cracker & Gilly Middle Grade Mystery Series, and now that school’s out for the summer it’s time to work on our non-fiction book, how to write middle-grade fiction.

We have quotes from great authors, examples from illustrators and wise words from readers…and now it’s time to share.

Over the summer we will upload chapters, quotes and advice from successful authors…but we also want to hear from you, so let us know what you think as we share our work with you.

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Photo on 25-09-14 at 12.51 PM

The other day I shared my experience of working through a set of tutorials to learn Scrivener, delivered by Joseph at http://www.learnscrivenerfast.com.

I had no intention of doing another post on this but a funny thing happened on the way to completing the course…I cheated and skipped to the end to the Bonuses and found a great podcast by Joanna Penn (of http://www.thecreativepenn.com fame).

The podcast is all about organising your projects.

In my ideal world – let’s call it, say, Fantasyland – I decided to devote 2014 to getting half a dozen projects to completion with the grand idea of having something to market in 2015. Well, in my haphazard way I’m halfway there with three books completed and – remember, this is Fantasyland – selling.

But after listening to Joanna’s podcast on getting organised I realise I’m only a whisker away from having the other three done.

Back to Joseph and learning Scrivener. In my Scrivener binder I now have the final three projects for 2014 racing towards the finish line – Joanna even talks about daily word counts and a gizmo that does this in Scrivener – and yes, it looks like I can reach my goal of six completed projects for sale by the end of the year. If I wanna be clever I can double that because all are in both ebook and print formats (and I’m learning about audio books fast).

Twelve products for sale, me??

Joseph’s Learn Scrivener Fast has jettisoned my writing business out of Fantasyland and into the real world with one swift kick. Now all I need to do is go back in and finish the course…

Ah, I can hear my family laughing as they read this post. Me, finish anything?? In the infamous words of Eliza Doolittle, ‘Just you wait, ‘enry ‘iggins, just you wait’…

Anyone else doing Joseph’s course and loving it? Let us know your successes…

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Another journey….Scrivener. I’m currently working my way through a set of tutorials by Joseph at http://www.learnscrivenerfast.com so that I can take control of my writing in a way that hasn’t been possible for me to date.


This program promises that not only can I organise my writing and keep count of my progress but I can take control of my output too…and herein lies the secret for me, being able to format my books as ebooks and print books, and upload them to the appropriate retailers in the right format. Sounds simple??


Let me tell you, it’s not…I’ve been blessed with the support of Australian EBook Publisher (AEP)…but now it’s time to learn at least a bit of the process for myself and that’s where Joseph and his ‘learn Scrivener Fast’ tutorials come in…he is my Scrivener coach and can be found at http://learnscrivenerfast.com…

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In order to look at the figures to decide whether indie or traditional publishing is the best option for our books we have to first find the figures – and it just got a little easier – see http://www.jakonrath.blogspot.co.uk or http://www.AuthorEarnings.com (this site had crashed this morning due to overload)…in ‘A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing: Me, Hugh Howey, and Legacy John’ some interesting figures (for some of us) come to light…not only is this article funny as all hell it is also the first time I’ve seen an open comparison of data on indie versus traditional publishing.

On the same topic, sort of, I contacted a literary festival co-ordinator here in North Queensland about our  middle grade reader novels being published in April and the woman told me that if I wanted to be part of the festival I needed to contact my publisher, or better, get myself an agent…wonder if it would help if I sent her a link to Howey’s article?

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On finding your voice…

There’s a fair bit of information out there nowadays about collaborative writing…the good, the bad and the downright ugly…and one of the biggies is finding an authentic voice for your story. Not only did we combat that particular problem early on (because we were so naive we didn’t know there was supposed to be a problem in the first place) it has actually turned out to be one of the biggest strengths for our series of middle grade mystery novels.

Our boy/girl approach is quite a hit with kids and ‘boys against girls’ competitiveness is something that happens naturally around the ages of 9-12…luckily for us, it seems, my brother and I never grew out of it. What follows is an excerpt from our upcoming ‘Growing Up Writing’ non-fiction book that’s taking on a life of its own as the focus leans more and more towards collaborative writing and the pure joy of sharing the writing process with another person…and the boost to your creativity this sharing of ideas encourages.

I asked Richard what he felt about co-authoring having written three books together…yeh, it was a brave question and I had a faint worry that what he said would be unprintable and that there may never be a fourth mystery novel to fight over…but being the blogger of our duo, I could always delete the bits I didn’t like…for my part how much more fun can a middle aged woman have than beating up on her brother and making money out of it?

Out of the mouths of boys…

I have written three novels, collaboratively, with my younger sister, Lindy.

These novels started with Lindy sending me the first chapter of the first novel with the instruction, ‘your turn.’ The story commenced on a cliff top with a rather dangerous track running down it that my sister(s) and brother and I raced up and down as children. We knew the place extremely well. Set at Malua Bay, near Batemans Bay, the South Coast of NSW we had grown up there, and this area is the setting for the three novels.

There are a number of positives inherent in writing collaboratively, the first being, in my view, I am at last getting a glimpse of situations from a female perspective. A glimpse that seems, at times, cluttered and meandering and at other times cold and clinical. The female interpretation on a given occurrence or ‘happening’, when written, is surprising and certainly adds a fullness to my own stumbling efforts. Things that seem clear and exciting to me are rushed over while other things are seized upon and embellished.

Sharing with a female, a sister, as strong willed and as intelligent as mine is daunting, demanding and educational. I am sometimes amazed at the clarity and descriptiveness which my sister brings to each task. Secondly, it is good for me to have someone with talent and education who can bring sense to my childish dabbling’s, someone who has the ability to construct sentences correctly and speak in the correct idiom although the novels are set in a ‘years gone by’ era and I am allowed speak in an ‘Australianism’ that perhaps is sadly, fading away to be replaced by Americanisms.

There are of course negatives to collaborative writing. Heated discussions about who is responsible for progressing the story line, what direction the plot should head, down to the paragraph settings on the computers we both use. She in Far North Queensland and me in Southern NSW. Conflicting ideas on who should edit the stories are something I have great difficulty with, when I have written something it’s finished with – maybe that’s a male thing, I just cannot go back and change things. Hats off to Lindy, she is a great editor. Secondly, I think sometimes females fly off on an unimportant tangent that does not follow a logic, not one that I can see. Maybe I’m just dumb (happily so).

The three novels, to me, are gentle tales from not so long ago, when we made our own fun by having adventures. The stories are warm and familiar, are an attempt, at least on my part, to encourage readers, no matter where they live, or what age they are, to look on the bright side, to take what’s at hand and go with it, to never give up and never settle for anything other than giving one hundred present to everything.

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