Writing Tips – From Illustrator to Author

KevTalented and popular illustrator, Kevin Burgemeestre recently made the transition from illustrator to author with his debut YA novel, Kate.

Today Kevin shares his insightful writing tips:

Hey Dee. Thanks for letting me visit. As a prelude, could I say how much I love writing and chasing my characters across the page. I love it when they say unexpected things and want to go where I hadn’t imagined they would go. Bonkers!

  • Write a killer opening. It’s like setting the scene in an image that you need to draw (pun intended) people’s attention.
  • End each chapter with a hook that makes people want to get to the next chapter – similar to ending an illustration on the far right so that people are compelled to turn the page.
  • kate coverThink about the best way to impart information. As an illustrator, I’m inclined to overstate when I’m writing. Cut it right back and then add what’s needed to make it understood.
  • Allow the characters to interact. I wrote a whole end chapter to Kate that had a cast of thousands, but once I had blocked out that extremely complicated scenario, I realised that all I needed was to let the characters talk to each other and it created a much more impactful ending.
  • And, the biggest lesson for me – allow your characters to get hurt! I spent so much time protecting my dudes that there was a danger nothing was going to happen at all. That would create awesome fiction wouldn’t it? (not)

I just wanted to add that whilst writing one of the chase scenes, I was writing so fast to keep up with what I was thinking and so anxious about what was happening that I think my heart rate went up to about 150 bpm. I’ve NEVER had that happen when I was illustrating.

See Kevin’s work at http://www.kevinburgemeestre.com or at The Style Filehttp://www.thestylefile.com/show.php?illustrator_id=59&image_id=389

Kate is published by Morris Publishing.

Morris Publishing Australia – http://www.morrispublishingaustralia.com
Dennis Jones and Associates: http://www.dennisjones.com.au
James Bennett library suppliers: http://www.bennett.com.au

Find out more about Kevin and his new book by visiting these great blogs:

Tuesday 3rd Dec – 10  writing tips https://deescribewriting.wordpress.com

Wednesday 4th Dec – Interview http://www.buzzwordsmagazine.com

Thursday 5th Dec – Interview http://www.alisonreynolds.com.au

Friday 6th – article  http://sherylgwyther.wordpress.com

Saturday 7th Interview http://bookmusterdownunder.blogspot.com.au

Sunday 8th Dec www.jackiehoskingpio.wordpress.com

Monday 9th Interview http://www.kidsbookreview.com

Monday 9th Interview http://UncommonYA.com

Tuesday 10th Review http://www.melissawray.blogspot.com.au

Wednesday 11th Review www.karentyrrell.com

Thursday 12th Interview http://www.sallymurphy.blogspot.com

Friday 13th Interview http://lorrainemarwoodwordsintowriting.blogspot.com

Saturday 14th Article http://clancytucker.blogspot.com.au

Sunday 15th Dec Interview http://www.morrispublishingaustralia.com/news-update-blog.html

Monday 16th Dec Interview http://diannedibates.blogspot.com.au

Tuesday 17th Dec Interview http://elaineoustonauthor.com.au


23 thoughts on “Writing Tips – From Illustrator to Author

  1. Hello Dee White, newbie Burgemeestre here, thanks so much for hosting us and putting up a description of my novel Kate. Hello to Elaine Ouston, from Morris Publishing Australia for having the (I was going to say balls) to publish. It’s a novel, yeah, but it’s got pictures! It did freak some others out, the idea of having words and pics in a chapter book. Don’t scare the horses! K

  2. I imagine that it sounds unexpected to have an illustrator writing, but as I see it what I do is tell stories and that the only things that change are the platform. A couple of years ago I experimented with writing short plays for the Short and Sweet competition. It was a direct extension of the character voices that had become evident whilst I was doing the complex illustrations for my book B is for Bravo. (Either I was drifting towards writing or I may need some serious therapy).
    My plays were not selected for production but I sent one of them to a local short play competition and had the pleasure of producing a work I had written. I very interested in taking story across a number of platforms and finding the best way to communicate to an audience.
    Drama is important because it allows us to move inside of our characters and imagine what they are thinking and feeling. It’s what has driven my illustration for years.

    Cheers Dee, Kevin

  3. Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for visiting. I love that you are doing something a bit different with Kate – it’s good to shake up people’s ideas of the norm. That’s the thing about creativity – it is just that – and anything should be possible:)

    Good luck with Kate and I hope she finds her way into many homes and libraries.


  4. Not that unexpected to be honest:) We all like to explore our creativity. I’m a writer who is just starting to dabble in illustration – so I’m doing things in reverse.

    Funny thing is, that I started out writing plays and had one of mine produced – and it was such a fabulous experience seeing it performed and seeing the audience response.

    I hadn’t thought of drama as being like that in relation to illustration – it’s really interesting – thanks for sharing that perspective.

    Happy writing, illustrating and creating:)

    I look forward to your next venture.


  5. Hey Dee, that’s great to hear that you are expanding your realm.
    The way I see it all story began with acting out, just like in a corroboree, roles were taken to illustrate the meaning. Music was added to give it rhythm and aid the memory, and image was added to record the information. We are all extensions of that original premise. It’s mad how important story is to human history and culture.
    Live theatre still has a massive impact on me, and I easily find myself laughing or crying in sympathy with the characters. I love that humans will suspend disbelief to become engaged in a story.

    Really nice website by the way, cheers & christmas beers, Kev

  6. Thanks to Kelmac for entering the conversation, and thanks for your encouragement. I want to take this book around to schools and pump the kids up to write some of their own experiences down. Young people were responsible for inspiring me to complete the novel. I was in Southern NSW at Moulamein Central School on a grant talking to children in the district and their amazing tales about hay sheds, paddock cars and secret adventures clarified what was going to happen in my story. Thanks to those little dudes and their hair-raising adventures! Kev

  7. I know what you mean Kev about live theatre,

    It affects me in a way that no other medium does. I’m not sure if this makes any sense, but I come out of a good live production feeling bigger than I am, feeling anything is possible and that the world is an even more amazing place than I first thought – and that there is so much more to people.

    And like you say, story is so important in so many ways for expression, creation, tradition, knowledge, inspiration…

    Thanks for your nice feedback on my site.

    Cheers and Christmas beers to you too – can’t believe how Christmas is already almost upon us:)


  8. Kids are so inspiring aren’t they Kev?

    I run a writing competition for kids at my other blog and this time I received almost 600 entries. Kids have such great stories to tell.

    I’m sure they will find you very inspiring.


  9. Kids are a major inspiration, Dee. I think that’s what motivated me in the writing of Kate, growing up means making mistakes, and it seems in our time we seem less tolerant of mistakes our children make. Most of us outgrow our mistakes and become better adults because of them. Kate works hard to make the best decisions she can, but she is way outside her comfort zone for much of the story. She does grow and adapt.

    Wow, awesome to hear that so many kids were inspired by your competition. We were just at a lit fest with Ford St at Catholic College in Bendigo. They’ve built an amazing writing culture in the school and involved other schools. It’s remarkable how quickly you can teach the fundaments of writing. Some of the things they read out were incredible. It made us all double-take.

    Cheers Dee, (did I say what a good stocking filler Kate would be?)

  10. Totally at one with your comments on live theatre Dee(I missed that post briefly). It is truly magic how a theatre experience can transport you. Sometimes even the most basic sets are enough.
    In Kate there is a scene where Kate and her road buddy Mal paint an old paddock car with large images of snakes. They entwine the images, echoing their fates. I saw this as a theatrical scene, where they are literally and figuratively throwing their lots in together.
    Theatre always shapes what i do.

    And back to your site, it has so many great tips and inspirational points for writers. It’s like a corner shop, with cool people dropping in. Keep up the good work,
    Cheers Kev

  11. Isn’t it great when we get so close to our characters – I can see that Kate has become an important part of your life:)

    Sorry I didn’t get to meet you in Bendigo. I would have gone, but life is ridiculously busy at the moment – I have two teen boys who have lots on both at school and out. Those festivals are great.

    I hope Kate fills many stockings:)


  12. Stop Press! Hazel Edwards & Danny Fahey review Kate on Good Reads.

    Fahey:”Everything seemed seamless until suddenly I was at the end, and then came that dreaded moment, I knew this story was coming to an end and I did not want it to.”

  13. Hey Dee, thanks for putting those links up. You are right-Kate’s my girl. I love her persistence. Without giving too much away her dog Wilde becomes a multiplier for her skills. Our animals make us so much more. Imagine trying to pull a moose down on your own! It is something Kate has cause to reflect on. (FYI-no moose were harmed in the making of this book.)
    As to Bendigo, I’m sure we’ll catch up some other time, hope you have fun with your boys at Christmas.
    I’ve got your link up on my Facebook page and working on getting it up on my website.

    Cheers Dee, been lovely to chat & all the best with projects.

  14. Such an interesting post, Dee and Kevin.
    I especially enjoyed the point about allowing your characters to be hurt!
    I can be downright horrible to my characters. They probably all hate me.
    Good luck with Kate, Kevin. It’s getting lovely reviews. Looking forward to reading it!


  15. Kevin, good for you putting pictures in a YA – who’d have thought, haha. Why not? I say! And love your excellent tips for writing too. Dee, good post, mate!

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