13th July, 2016
Like most writers, I am often asked for writing tips. So, below I’ve collected my top writing tips for beginners. For those who are further down the track in terms of writing knowledge, you can find some more advanced information in my On Writing section above.
My number one tip is to read as much as you can. Good stuff, bad stuff, books and stories of all kinds and all genres. But don’t read them just as entertainment – think about why something works as a story for you, and why it doesn’t. That is the beginning of becoming a good writer.
My second tip is to read some books about the craft of writing, or if you have the resources, take some writing classes. Learn about the craft of constructing stories. John Marsden’s book “Everything I Know About Writing” is a good basics how-to book.
And, of course, my third tip is to write. Get in front of the computer or the page and write, write, write. Practice is essential. Don’t be too hard on yourself in the first draft, just let the words and ideas flow. Then, when it comes to rewriting (and all serious writers rewrite their work) bring in the craft that you have learned from books or classes or your own ideas about writing.
In terms of actually putting words on the page, my top tips are:
- Use the five senses in your writing. Most beginner writers only use sight when they are describing things, but we have five senses and if you use them in your descriptions, your work will be more vivid. Of course, you don’t want to use them all at once in the same sentence!
- Show Don’t Tell. This idea is best explained by example.
Here is an example of telling: John was angry because he lost the tennis match.
Here is an example of showing that same piece of information:
“Out” the umpire called.
John pivoted on his heel and glared at the man. “Are you kidding me?”
The umpire crossed his arms. “It was out.”
John slapped his hand against the strings of his racquet. “It was in. I can see the mark from here.”
The umpire shook his head.
“You just want me to lose,” John yelled.
So, as you can see, while the “telling “ example gives the same information, it has no “life” or drama in it. The “show” example, on the other hand, is dramatic (in the sense that we can visualise the action and things are happening between two characters), engages you as a reader, and creates emotion through conflict. As a writer, you want your reader to feel something as they read your work. By using dialogue, action and descriptions you can create emotions like suspense, excitement, and laughter.
- Be specific. For example, instead of writing:
A dog ran into the room.
A black poodle ran into the room.
Your reader will be able to visualise the world you create more easily.
- Find Unique Detail. Often a beginner writer will use a cliché or an overused way of describing something. Try and push past those banal ways of describing things and write your own unique way of seeing the world.
- Most good stories are about a character with a goal who has to solve problems and get over obstacles to achieve that goal. There should be some kind of conflict in every story. There are three kinds of conflict:
- between your main character and other people (external).
- Within your character e.g. his or her morals, beliefs etc. (internal)
- Between your main character and society or the environment e.g. a character battling to survive in a huge storm.
The best stories always have some kind of inner conflict within the main character, as well as one or more of the external conflicts.
I hope some of that is useful in your writing!
Cheers for now,
9th July, 2016
Pics from Supanova Perth
Supanova Perth was just as brilliant as Supanova Sydney: lots of signing and chatting to fans, plus I got to go to the James Marsters concert and hang out with the other authors including Tamora Pierce and Glenda Larke. Here are some pics, including a little montage of ‘Terrier’ that Tamora signed for me – yes, I am totally fan-girling!
James Marsters in concert; with the lovely Glenda Larke; my favourite tree, Groot.
23rd June, 2016
Off to Supanova Perth this weekend & pics from Supanova Sydney
WOW, Supanova Sydney was fabulous. So much fun! I signed many copies of Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club, Eon and Eona, met some lovely fans and welcomed loads of new readers into The Dark Days Club.
As you can see in the pics, I also met the very wonderful James Marsters from Buffy, and John Noble, Sherlock’s Dad in Elementary.
I’m off to Perth Supanova this weekend, at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre. If it is anything like the Sydney weekend, it is going to be a blast!
Hope to see you there.
Cheers for now,
15th June, 2016
I’m off to Sydney this weekend for Supanova Expo (Friday 17th June to Sunday 19th June). I’ll be signing books at the official Expo bookshop, so if you are heading in, do drop by and say hello. I would love to meet you.
Today, I got the roughs for the Australian cover of Lady Helen and The Dark Days Pact, the second Lady Helen adventure (it will be called The Dark Days Pact in the USA, UK and Canada). I can’t give you a sneaky peek yet–it has to be finalised–but I can tell you that it is gorgeous and features the same lovely gal who is on the cover of Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club (and who is featured on this Supanova pic)! Lady Helen and the Dark Days Pact is set in Brighton during the summer season, so that might give you a hint about the colour palette.
Cheers for now,
3rd June, 2016
The Little Free Library and
Lady Helen Book 2 News
It was my pleasure and honour to be asked by my fellow author Juliet Sampson to launch The Little Free Library at the wonderful French cafe Le Petit Lapin in Caulfield, Melbourne recently. The cafe will be the home of the library and I couldn’t think of a better place for it. Le Petit Lapin has great coffee, a delicious French menu including freshly baked croissants and cakes and, now, free books. . .that is surely heaven!
Juliet and her mother Jillian organised the library and asked local authors, including myself, to donate signed copies of their books. Readers can take one of the books and either return it when they have finished or replace it with another book. It is such a lovely idea that has really gained a lot of support across the world and Juliet and Jillian have done a brilliant job creating this lovely addition to the Little Free Library collective.
In other news, I have returned the completed edit of The Dark Days Pact, the second Lady Helen adventure, to my publishers! Now we go into copy edit – where the nitty-gritty stuff is checked – so all is on track for a January 2017 release. Huzzah! There has been a slight hold up regarding the Lord Carlston novelette, but stay tuned. As soon as I know when and how it will be available, I will post the details here, on Twitter and Facebook. You can link into all my social media above via the usual buttons. I’d love to hear from you!
Finally, I will be signing books at Sydney Supanova and Perth Supanova this month. At each expo, I’ll be at the official Supanova bookshop with quill* in hand ready to sign Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club (the Aussie title of The Dark Days club), EON, EONA and of course good old Singing the Dogstar Blues, my first novel which, would you believe it, has been out and about in the world for nearly 18 years!
*actually a Sharpie (quills are a bit messy)
25th May, 2016
More Lord Carlston goodness on its way and Japanese Eon/Eona covers!
For those lovely readers who have been asking me for more Lady Helen and Lord Carlston, your pleas have been answered! I’m currently editing a novelette that is from Lord Carlston’s point of view. It slots in to Chapter 5 of the first book, The Dark Days Club, when Lady Helen and Lord Carlston meet for the first time and has a whole lot of extra Lord Carlston, Beau Brummell and Deceiver action. It will be available soon, so stay tuned.
In others news, I will be heading to the Sydney and Perth Supanova’s as a guest at the official Expo bookshop. If you would like to say hi or get your Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club, Eon, Eona or even good old Singing the Dogstar Blues signed, do come along. I would love to meet you.
Speaking of Eon and Eona, they have just been published in Japan in the most exquisite little two volume sets. As you can see from the pics at right, when you put each set together, side by side, the dragons becomes visible. The two Eon volumes are across the top, Eona is across the bottom. Gorgeous.
Finally, all is on track for The Dark Days Pact, the second Lady Helen book, to be released as promised at Christmas/New Year. I’ll be getting some cover designs soon too, so when they are finalised, I’ll be able to give you a sneaky peek.
Cheers for now,
24th April, 2016
Thanks to all the Melbournian Lady Helen and Eona fans who dropped by to say hi and get their books signed at Supanova, and a big welcome to the Dark Days Club for those who bought it at the Expo. I hope you enjoy Lady Helen’s adventures. Here’s a few pics of the two days.
The great news is that I have been invited to be a ‘Supa-Star’ author at the Sydney and Perth Supanova’s in June too. Huzzah!
I’m also going to be a guest at the Clunes Booktown Festival on Sunday May 1st. I’ll be taking part in a panel about writing teen fiction with Fiona Wood, Emily Gale and Glenda Millard. We’ll be in “The Warehouse” at 1pm. Hope to see you there!
In other wonderful news, the French edition of Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club will be released by Gallimard on my birthday, August 18th! What a great pressie. The title in French will be LADY HELEN Le Club Des Mauvais Jours. Sexy, hey? But then everything sounds sexy in French. A cover reveal will be coming soon.
On Twitter, I have started a Writing Tip of the Day (WTOTD) with an emphasis on nuts and bolts writing craft, so if you are would like to follow, my Twitter name is @AlisonGoodman.
I am currently working on the edits for the second book in the Lady Helen trilogy –The Dark Days Pact – and working on Book 3. I’m also close to finishing a longish short story from Lord Carlston’s point of view, which will soon be available for purchase from this website! It’s all happening here, folks!
Cheers for now,
14th April, 2016
I’m off to Supanova in Melbourne
It’s Melbourne Supanova Pop Expo this weekend at the Melbourne Showgrounds and I will be at the official bookshop both days to sign Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club, Eon and Eona!
To help you find me, my husband has designed this ginormous standing banner using the wonderful cover of the Australian edition of Lady Helen. I kind of think no one is going to miss me!
It has also just been confirmed that I will be appearing at Supanova Pop Expo in Sydney and Perth too, in June. Huzzah! The banner will be getting a good workout.
In other exciting news, the publishing rights to Eon and Eona and The Dark Days Club (the overseas title for Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club) have been bought by Russian publisher, Ripol Classic, who are also Russia’s publisher of John Green and Cassandra Clare among others. I am thrilled to be in such company!
Cheers for now,
13th April, 2016
Pics from PenguinTeen on Tour!
I’m back from my USA signing tour and it was such a blast. I was lucky enough to tour with five other wonderful authors: Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel of the Sands), Rachel Hawkins (Rebel Belle series), Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes series), April Genevieve Tucholke (Wink Poppy Midnight), with a special pop-in appearance by Karen Bao (The Dove Chronicles series). We clicked immediately and had such a hoot travelling across the USA together. Here are a few pics from the tour. If you would like more, check out my instagram account at @alisongoodmanauthor.
12th March, 2016
I will be signing books in New York City on Sunday 20th March!
I am very pleased to announce that I will be taking part in the Mega YA author signing day on Sunday 20th March. The signing is part of the NYC Teen Author Festival, (officially called the “No-Foolin’ Mega-Signing”) and will take place at Books of Wonder , 18 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011. The signing event lasts from 1-4pm, and I will be signing from 3:30 – 4pm. Here is the link to the details of the event. A ticket to all the signing sessions is issued with the purchase of any YA title. I hope to see you there!
In other news, the big USA tour for The Dark Days Club is coming up fast and I will be jumping on a plane on Monday! Check out the tour cities and times in my events section or the tour post below. There will be 6 authors on tour and we will be visiting Miami, Cincinnati, Nashville, St. Charles, St. Paul, Toronto, Dallas, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco.
7th March, 2016
I’m going to Supanova!
I’ve been invited to appear at Supanova Pop Culture Expo in Melbourne. Huzzah! Come along to the Dymocks stand, have a chat and get your Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club signed! April 16-17 at the Melbourne Showgrounds.
And for my US readers who are looking to have their copies of The Dark Days Club signed, I’m heading over to the States for the PenguinTeen on Tour very soon. Six authors, 10 cities and a lot of fun! The Tour starts on March 22nd to April 1st and we are criss-crossing the country. For more information, check out the Tour post below to see the dates and events. Some are ticketed, so best to get in early. Hope to see you soon!
Cheers for now,
21st February, 2016
Lady Helen shortlisted for two Aurealis Awards!
I am absolutely thrilled to report that Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club (aka The Dark Days Club) has been shortlisted for two Aurealis Awards: Best Fantasy Novel, and Best YA Novel. Wheeeee!
You can check out the full list of finalists here.
In other news, I am getting ready for the PenguinTeen USA tour alongside Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel of the Sands), Rachel Hawkins (Rebel Belle series), Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes series), April Genevieve Tucholke (Wink Poppy Midnight), and special guest Karen Bao (The Dove Chronicles series)! The tour starts on March 22nd and goes right through to April 1st. Check out the city schedule below – I hope to see you at one of the events!
11th February, 2016
USA Tour Schedule!
As promised, here is the schedule for my upcoming USA tour next month! I’m so excited to get the chance to meet my US readers, and I will be travelling with a wonderful group of fellow Penguin authors: Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel of the Sands), Rachel Hawkins (Rebel Belle series), Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes series), April Genevieve Tucholke (Wink Poppy Midnight), and special guest Karen Bao (The Dove Chronicles series)!
Tuesday, March 22nd —MIAMI, FL
7:00 PM @ Books & Books
265 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134
Wednesday, March 23rd —CINCINNATI, OH
7:00 PM @ Joseph-Beth Booksellers
5030 Oaklawn Drive, Suite B, Cincinnati, OH 45227
Thursday, March 24th — NASHVILLE, TN
6:30 PM @ Parnassus Books
3900 Hillsboro Pike Ste 14, Nashville, TN 37215
Friday, March 25th —ST. LOUIS, MO
7:00 PM w/ Karen Bao @ The Charles City-County Library – Spencer Road Branch
427 Spencer Rd., St. Peters, MO 63376
Saturday, March 26th—ST. PAUL, MN
6:30 PM w/ Karen Bao @ Red Balloon Bookshop
91 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN 55105
Monday, March 28th—TORONTO, ON
2:00 PM @ Chapters Brampton
Market Hall, 52 Quarry Edge Drive, Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, March 29th—DALLAS, TX
7:00 PM @ Half Price Books
5803 E Northwest Hwy, Dallas, TX 75231
Wednesday, March 30th—SAN DIEGO, CA
7:30 PM @ Mysterious Galaxy
5943 Balboa Avenue #100, San Diego, CA 92111
Thursday, March 31st—SAN JOSE, CA
7:00 PM @ Hicklebee’s
1378 Lincoln Ave, San Jose, CA 95125
Friday, April 1st—SAN FRANCISCO, CA
7:00 PM @ Books, Inc. Opera Plaza
601 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102
I hope to see you at one of the above events!
Cheers for now,
1st February, 2016
MaxPop Twitter Q&A and Upcoming Appearances
Lady Helen has now made her curtsy to Australia, the USA, Canada and the UK. Huzzah! It has been such an exciting few weeks and in the post below you can see some of the media that The Dark Days Club has received. A big thank you to those who have loved Lady Helen’s first adventure and posted about it – spreading the word about a book you have enjoyed is the best way of supporting an author!
I have some online and in-person appearances coming up, so if you’d like to have a chat about Lady Helen or my other books, here are the times and “places”:
Twitter Q&A session with Maximum Pop! Books: Monday 8.30pm UK time (which is 7.30am on Tuesday morning where I will be in Melbourne Australia). Check out the pic below for information on how to pre-send a question for me.
Book Signing at Dymocks Brisbane: I will be at Dymocks Bookshop in Brisbane to chat and sign books on Friday 5th February from 12 noon to about 1.00pm.
Radio Interview and Facebook Q&A: I will be interviewed on ABC Rhi on Sunday 7th February on the OZYA program and then at 8.00pm (EST), I’ll be answering questions on the ABCRhi Facebook page.
USA Tour: Yes, I am coming to the USA and I can’t wait! The tour dates are 22nd March to 1st April and the cities we will be visiting are yet to be confirmed, but as soon as they are, I’ll post here and in my other social media. Stay tuned for details: Twitter @AlisonGoodman, Instagram: alisongoodmanauthor, Facebook (where you can also contact me): AlisonGoodmanAuthorPage
Hope to see you soon.
Cheers for now,
19th January, 2016
Some Dark Days Club Media!
Below is a review of The Dark Days Club from SFX. I particularly love the line “The prose is as witty as Elizabeth Bennet herself and the whole book is a joy from start to finish”. Now, that certainly warms an author’s heart!
The Dark Days Club also received a starred review in the SLJ (School Library Journal).
And another starred review in Publishers Weekly.
It was one of the books voted as two hot reads for the New Year in The Bucks County Courier Times, Doylestown Intelligencer and Burlington County Times (the review ran in all three!).
It was one of three Hot Buzz books in the Booktopia Young Adult Buzz newsletter.
It was also one of the 13 books selected as Bustle’s Best January YA reads.
Leila Ann Roy writes about its themes for Kirkus Reviews.
And that is just a few of the lovely reviews, lists and articles!
The release dates of The Dark Days Club in the UK and the USA are rapidly approaching– UK is 21st January and USA is 26th January– and it is already out in Australia under the title Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club.
Also, for those who might be in London on the weekends of the 23rd and 30th January, you can pick up a free two chapter sampler on Oxford Street outside TopShop, Primark and New Look. Keep an eye out for the team in The Dark Days Club branded jackets. There is also a chance to win some shopping vouchers too.
Cheers for now,
12th January, 2016
Steampunk Quill and U.K. Release of The Dark Days Club
Happy New Year! 2016 is going to be a busy one for me: The Dark Days Club will be launching in the U.K. on the 21st January, and on the 26th January in the USA. Plus, I’ll be touring the USA from March 22nd to April 1st. The tour schedule is not confirmed yet, but as soon as it is, I’ll post it here and in my events section.
If you are in London, remember that you can get your free sampler chapters of The Dark Days Club on Oxford Street on the weekends of the 23rd January and 30th January. There will also be chances to win copies of the book and fashion vouchers to the tune of 150 pounds. The teams will be outside TopShop, Primark and New Look and will be wearing The Dark Days Club branded jackets so keep an eye out for them.
In other news, on the left you’ll see a pic of the magnificent Steampunk quill pen that Brisbane artist, Luke Barker, made for me. I am one lucky gal! It is a beautiful piece of art, and it can actually be used to write. Thank you, Luke. You can check out his wonderful paintings and artworks via the link above.
Cheers for now,