Sep 11, 2010

Secrets of Sheryl Gwyther

My last post was about Angela Sunde and her new book Pond Magic, Matilda was so wrapped with this story she read it in just 3 days and has reviewed it already on Paper Dolls. For today's post I'll be digging into the writerly advice from Sheryl Gwyther at the CYA Writers Conference.

Sheryl spoke to us about her journey as an author and spoke about her books. Her latest, Charlie and the Red Hot Chilli Pepper promises to be a fun read for kids. But, it was when she spoke of her children's novel Secrets of Eromanga that I sat upright. A novel about a twelve year old girl on a dinosaur dig in outback Queensland? OMG, my eldest is twelve and guess what she loves more than anything else in the world??? DINOSAURS. Yep, Emily has since pre-school had paleontologist on her future CV. And, until her pre-teen years, she always had a room decorated with dinosaurs and fossils. I had to get a copy of this novel!
After Sheryl's talk I quickly asked her where I could get a copy and lucky for me, she had a couple on her. Sheryl even wrote an inscription for Emily and posed for a picture with her book. I can't even begin to tell you how much Emily treasures that book! She'll be reviewing it on Paper Dolls soon.
"For Emily, Aussie dinosaurs Rule!!
Best wishes Sheryl Gwyther 2010"

Sheryl's advice to writers included:
  • STUDY the format of the genre you wish to write for. What works, what doesn't?
  • Get first hand EXPERIENCE where possible. Sheryl volunteered on an actual dinosaur dig in Queensland.
  • READ as many books as you can. I know, it eats into writing time, but reading improves your writing.
  • Write DAILY. Anything. (Here's a previous post I did on Ways to Make Yourself Write)
  • Get used to the idea that your manuscript needs many REWRITES.
  • Acquire writerly friends (check - I have you guys!).
  • Take notice of SUBMISSION GUIDELINES. Don't waste time sending your manuscript to the wrong people.
  • Never give up. (I never will - which is why I'd make a brilliant stalker).
You can visit Sheryl's website and blog at:

When our dog had puppies, just days after Emily's 4th birthday, she decided the first born was present and named her Fossil (after we suggested Diplodocus was a bit hard to call out at the park). There are days when I'm ready to make this mutt a real fossil.


  1. Charmaine, had to tell you how thrilled I was to hear Emily loves my book! Next time I'm down in country New South Wales, I should call in on you and bring some of my own fossil finds to show Emily and you.
    Emily, keep at your studies and never give up on your goal - I'm not a palaeontologist, but I know the world of dinosaur fossils in Australia is BUZZING! And we need more scientists in the future. :P

  2. Fossil is a great name! Love it :)

    What a great story - and Sheryl sounds like a wonderful person and author!!

  3. That's wonderful advice. I will try and use it. Also, what a cute puppy.


  4. Sheryl - you're such a sweetie! You and your fossils are are quite welcome for cuppa in Yass any ol' time. :-)

    Jemi - It does sound like a great story, I can't wait to read it myself (once I can pry it from Emily's fingers).

    Clarissa - Not so cute with the postman, or other dogs, or suspicious looking bushes... acts more like a velociraptor.

  5. Good advice I hope to follow. Thanks always. When I read your blog, I always feel encouraged.

  6. thanks for introducing me to another great author! Look at that photo! Such a cute Cheeky Monkey face!

  7. Great writing advice. I especially like: Get used to the idea that your manuscript needs many REWRITES.

    Fossil is an awesome name :)