Start on the day that’s different…

Posted on March 23, 2015

Readings Children's Book Prize 2015 shortlistLast week, I went to Somerset Celebration of Literature, a fabulous festival of children’s books and authors on the Gold Coast. During my time there, I spoke to around 500 kids about writing – where ideas come from, how to structure a story, how to write a book. And I talked about the importance of problems and surprise in a story.

“If your character gets up, goes to school, has a milkshake and nothing happens – do we have a story?” I’d ask. And 50 hands would shoot up in the air. “No.”


“But if we start the story on the day that’s different. The day the alarm doesn’t go off, or an alien flies past on the way to school, do we have a story?”

Yes, we do.

When you’re writing a story, don’t waste 1000 words telling me what life is normally like. You can probably cover that off in a few sentences as your story unfolds. Show us, instead, the day where everything changes. Where the earthquake begins or the aliens land.

Sundays are usually unassuming, uneventful days around here. We head to Nippers, we do a few chores, we get ourselves organised for the week ahead.

But yesterday was a little different.

Yesterday, The Mapmaker Chronicles: Race To The End of the World was announced on the shortlist for the Readings Children’s Book Prize 2015. That’s the whole shortlist in the image (courtesy of Readings).

So, we did all those chores, but we drank champagne as well.

Don’t you just love a day that’s a bit different?

Are you new here? Welcome to my blog! Iā€™m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and Iā€™m the author of two epic middle-grade adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher.

Ā You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.


  1. Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages

    Great advice to start on the day that is different, so simple but a good basic reminder. And cheers with the champagne, well deserved!

  2. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid

    Champagne and happy dances are the order of the day! Here’s to bubbles not troubles! Congrats!

  3. Pinky Poinker

    Well that is definitely a champagne worthy day! Congratulations Alison šŸ™‚

  4. Sandra Kelly

    Well that is champagne worthy different for sure! And little dance worthy! Congratulations šŸ™‚

  5. Helen K

    Very exciting news indeed – on a day that was ‘just’ a bit different!

  6. JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter)

    Oh my gosh I LOVE this advice – ‘start on the day that’s different’. So simple.

    And so thrilled for you making that special list. How exciting, but not surprising in the least. x

  7. Chris Bailey

    Congratulations! Your shortlist news is thrilling!

  8. J M Levinton (@JMLevinton)


  9. Annabel Smith

    Start on the day that’s different – what a brilliant piece of writing advice.

    And once again congrats on the shortlisting. perfect timing for the release of book 2.

    • Allison Tait

      Thanks Annabel!

  10. Suzie

    “So, we did all those chores, but we drank champagne as well.” < < LOVE this comment.

    Congratulations Al, what a wonderful Sunday indeed.

    • Allison Tait

      Thank you Suzie! It was a most wonderful Sunday. šŸ™‚

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