I heart festivals, and the writing for kids and young adults festival (or KIDYA!) at the NSW Writers Centre is one of the best. It’s a huge love-in between readers, writers, authors and publishers. 

When I’m around my favourite authors I gush like a schoolkid! I absorb everything they say, writing notes during their talks like a nerd hehe

But I’m watching these writers speak, dreaming that I’ll be up there on the panels, someday. 

Here are 7 pearls of wisdom that I collected on the weekend.

Do your research: If you’re going to send your manuscript to a publisher, make sure that they’re the right one for you! Check publishers’ websites for submission guidelines-it’ll save time for you and them!

The writing speaks for itself: Don’t get too carried away with the covering letter attached to the manuscript. Your story should be your passport. A writer’s personality shines from their writing voice.

Smash your story: Let me explain hehe. If you decide to adapt your story into a comic, play or movie, you need to tear your story apart. Then you rebuild your narrative, using the rules of comics, plays and movies. The story is constant, it’s only the medium that changes.

There’s no secret ingredient (old proverb from Kung Fu Panda keke): When you write with passion, you’ll discover that X-factor, something that sets you apart. Don’t follow the trends, set your own.

Being around kids can feed your own voice: If you’re lucky enough to be a teacher, a parent or find yourself surrounded by kids. Hanging out with your audience offers you insights of how kids speak. I was shocked to find no-one says cowabunga anymore 🙁  

SHOW DON’T TELL: There’s a reason why this gets mentioned at every festival-I fall into this trap all the time. Watch the ‘he felt, she felt’ lines, find different ways to show how your characters think and move. More on this later.

Your book is your ambassador: Promoting your book can only get you so far. Old fashioned word of mouth is still very powerful. If your book is wonderful, then readers will be drawn to it. Write what you love, and people will love what you write!

My inspiration batteries are recharged!

Have you attended a festival and heard your fave author speak? How have they inspired you?

Til next time, cowabunga dudes and dudettes 🙂



About the author

I'm an author, stand-up comedian and teacher. My books include Thai-riffic!, Con-nerd, Punchlines and The Other Christy. I'm a massive Nintendo fan and love eating burgers. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @oliverwinfree


  1. JoeyDel says:

    11/07/09 @ 11:01 pm 

    Hello Mr Winfree!

    I was in your stand up class today and after our chat I thought I would check out your blog.

    I found it very enjoyable and informative. I will keep an eye on it in the future.

    Good luck in all of your quests. I look forward to getting to know you more as time progresses.


  2. Oliver says:

    12/07/09 @ 6:41 pm 

    Hi Joey
    It was great to meet you yesterday, you’re shaping up quite nicely and you’ve got already got a strong structure to your set.
    All the best with your writing projects too. Check out the NSW writers centre, it’s a good place to start for new writers.

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