Today I had a wonderful time at Robyn Opie’s place talking about how you can turn a 1200 word story into a 10,000 word published book. Robyn has so many great ideas and words of wisdom. Her final tip is below, but for the complete interview, go to Robyn’s blog

Dee: Robyn, can you give us a final tip for fellow writers who are trying to increase their word count to meet a publisher or competition requirement?

Robyn: I believe that Black Baron worked well because I wrote in layers. I wasn’t satisfied with my first draft. I didn’t simply go back and edit it, so I could submit it to publishers. I spent time, worked harder, pushed myself, to create a better story. I did everything I could possibly think of before I was satisfied with the result.

I lived inside my story and became my character – hence, why I fell in love with Black Baron. Jake loves him! I think it’s too easy to finish a draft and be so happy to have completed a story that we don’t go the extra mile. Go the extra mile.

Never settle on the first idea. Expand it. Add more ideas. Think of what you can do to make your original idea better. Brainstorm. Look for extra opportunities with your characters and their circumstances using cause and effect.

Unless you’ve gone over a manuscript many, many times, it isn’t ready. You haven’t thought of everything. You haven’t given it enough thought at all. In a nutshell, don’t stop working on a manuscript too soon. Give it time. Add layers, flesh and blood, and make your story come alive.

Don’t get caught up in the emotion of finishing a story and leaving it at that. Every story can be developed to its fullest, so keep going until there is nothing more you can do. Oh, and you can keep going even then! When you think you’re finished, do a bit more. Always do a bit more. Only then can you stop. One of the reasons I think some people have trouble getting a manuscript accepted for publication is because they think they’re finished before they really are and they don’t go the extra mile.

That’s great advice, Robyn. Thanks so much for being part of the Tuesday Writing Tips’ blog tour


Jessica, Angela and Mabel had more questions about point of view so we’ll be covering this in next week’s Tuesday Writing Tips. You’ll catch me at Angela’s blog where I’ll be talking about ‘head hopping’.

Hope to see you there.

In the meantime, happy writing.



When I wrote Letters to Leonardo, I found that the manuscript was like a canvas that I kept adding layers to.

I‘m not the only writer who does this. Today we’re off to South Australia to visit children’s author Robyn Opie and she’s going to tell us the secrets behind the success of her Black Baron.

What started out as a 1200 word story became a 10,000 word sensation – but not without a lot of hard work.

The Black Baron is a fun, fast-paced story full of great humour with lots of appeal for young readers, and Robyn is going to tell us all about how she wrote it.

Join me at Robyn’s blog today. I’m sure you’ll find her story fascinating.

When I get home, I’ll be posting a special tip from Robyn back here at my blog.

Hope you are enjoying the blog tour. Just in case you’ve missed any of it, here’s where we’ve been/are going:

In case you’ve missed any stops. Here are the complete tour dates.

2NDFebruary 2010 Claire Saxby Writing Picture Books – Leaving room for the illustrator.
9thFebruary 2010 Dee White Reviewing ‘There Was an Old Sailor’Reviewing vs Editing skills.
16thFebruary 2010 Sandy Writers Need to be avid free range readers
23rdFebruary 2010 Robyn How to make your story longer – adding layers.
2ND March 2010 Angela More about Point of View – head hopping.

Happy writing (and reading)


TUESDAY WRITING TIPS BLOG TOUR – Adding Layers to Your Story

Tomorrow at Tuesday Writing Tips, we’re visiting Robyn Opie’s blog to talk about how to turn your 1200 word story into a 10,000 word published book.

Robyn will share her experiences writing her highly acclaimed, Black Baron, published by Walker Books in their Lightning Strikes series.

Hope you can join us then when we chat with Robyn about how to add layers to your story.