Summer Reading Club
space craft special edition 2017

‘Michael Panckridge’ Posts

The Final Post

Posted on: January 28th, 2018 by michael -

Hi everyone – sad to say but this is my final post for the SRC blog. I’ve had so much fun doing this over the summer and even better has been knowing that there are some wonderful, dedicated readers and writers out there who have been writing thoughtful and interesting responses. Thank you!

Our routines are about to change in that school is just around the corner. But don’t make it that the classroom is the only place you learn. The whole world is your classroom!! Have your eyes open all the time (okay, maybe not when you’re sleeping!) and be ready for anything. Good writers notice things… they see little things happen and grow ideas; they meet interesting people and develop rich and engaging characters; they visit lots of different places and build ideas for cool settings…

Hey – and keep reading. It’s one of THE best ways of learning about the craft of writing…

Thanks so much to the SRC team for having me on board to do my weekly little blogs and thanks especially to each and every one of you who have made the effort to post comments for us all…

I hope the start of the school year goes well for you and all the best for a wonderful, exciting, fun 2018 with plenty of reading and writing happening…






Info text – the scores and stats!

Posted on: January 21st, 2018 by michael -

Hi everyone – I struggled a bit with my reading as a youngster. I was just too busy doing important things like kicking the football around the back garden, from dawn till dusk… literally! My dear Dad probably worried a bit about all this – you see he LOVED LOVED LOVED reading.

So he did a very clever thing…

He was a librarian and ordered two copies of a magazine called Football Life. At the start of each month, he would bring home a copy of Football Life for me. For ME!!! 🙂

He told me I was probably the first kid in Victoria to be reading it. I felt very special. It was full of interesting things like cool photos, team shots and lots of stats and scores and numbers… you know, how many goals a player or team has kicked; scores of matches; positions on ladders…. Oh wow – I SO LOVED those magazines. They’re probably how I learned to read.

(I’ve still got some of them!!)

So, that little story probably explains why I put quite a few scores, stats, quizzes, maps, statistics, results, ladders etc etc into some of my sporty books. I guess you could say the whole Legends series is built around a humongous sporting competition at the school. Heaps of kids vying to be crowned ‘Legend’ of each of the sports. And all the scores are there!

So, your challenge this week is to find a really REALLY interesting stat, fact, score or snippet of info about a sport of your choice and share it with everyone. I promise, PROMISE that I am really going to enjoy reading every answer as I haven’t lost my passion for stats!

Here’s a picture of the cover of one of those Football Life magazines… it’s probably one of my favourites as it has the mighty CATS on the front.. haha!!

Until next time… go well and thanks for reading.


Building a Character

Posted on: January 14th, 2018 by michael -

Hi everyone – so this week I’m chatting about building your characters. It’s so good if you can get a really good feel for your main character, even a couple of your main characters before you start your story. Sometimes I’ll actually write a page or so just on my characters. We really want our readers to feel something for our characters. We want them to love them, hate them, get frustrated with them, feel sorry or angry with them, hope for them, wish something on them… just feel something! If your reader doesn’t care what happens to your characters, then you haven’t hooked them in. If they do care… wow… you’ve probably written a great story!

I’m writing a story at the moment about a boy called Dexta (I know, dodgy spelling!) and he’s likeable but pretty rough; talks rough, looks rough (he has 4 different hair styles – shaved, curly, long, spiky.. depending which angle you look from), does some pretty naughty things; is not very smart, happy go lucky. I’m really enjoying writing with him as my main character (he tells the story) as he’s so feisty. For a balance to the story, he meets a girl (Florence) who’s kind of opposite. Super intelligent and always does the right thing. Of course, as the story progresses, they’re going to change each other a little bit. I’ve spent a bit of time thinking about these characters, so it’s making it easier (and way more fun!) for me to write this story. To be honest, I think it’s the funnest time I’m having writing any story I’ve ever written! Whoa… I’m just wondering if I should change the genders around… so the naughty one is a girl and the smart one is a boy… what do you think??? Any thoughts welcome!

So, spend a little bit of time before you start your next story thinking about your main character. Jot down some notes. If you find that hard, think of someone you know. Don’t tell them of course or use their name, but you can pick up lots of interesting characteristics as I’m sure you all know heaps of people. That way, you don’t have to invent everything. Even if you pick up on just a couple of little traits, cos inventing is fun too, of course!

Okay, awesome writers. This week I have a little task for you. Describe a character for your next story and share! Not just what they look like, but what they are like! Good luck and happy writing… and reading!


Working Together

Posted on: January 7th, 2018 by michael -

Writing is a bit of a solitary occupation – it’s just you and the laptop or piece of paper. But it doesn’t have to always be that way. Some of the best times I’ve had have been when I’ve been sharing and discussing ideas and writing with a co-author.

The sharing and discussing of ideas is so important. It’s great feedback for you to get the views of others and you’ve got nothing to lose by sharing your ideas – you’re writing can only improve. And it’s so special to have someone in your life who is interested and keen to help. Find that someone, truly – ask that person to be your writing mentor!

I co-authored the Clued Up  6 series with Pam Harvey. The planning of the story plots was probably even more fun than the actual writing. As you’ve probably gathered, I love all the ideas stuff that comes before the writing! When it came to writing the stories, we shared out the chapters. We knew pretty much how the story was unfolding and so we shared the writing by dividing up the chapters. Hopefully when people read a Clued Up 6 book, they don’t see two completely different writing styles!

I was very excited to co-author the Toby Jones series with Brett Lee and the League of Legends series with Laurie Daley. Wow – do those two guys know heaps about sport! Having the input from those two international stars was a thrill for me. They both added their expertise in their sports – cricket and rugby league. They helped out hugely with all the specific cricket and rugby info and were happy to read over my work and offer suggestions.

So… if YOU got to write with a sports star, who would you choose and why?

Till next week, thanks for reading! Michael

Writing A Thrilling Climax!

Posted on: January 1st, 2018 by michael -

Happy New Year everyone. I hope 2018 is a wonderful year for you all.

So this week, I’m thinking about writing a thrilling climax. You’re reader is absolutely going to love reading your story if you can keep them on the edge of their seat wondering how it’s going to finish. It’s probably one of the big tests of whether a story is a good’n… having a reader who wants to find out what happens.

It’s true that sometimes we know (or we think we know!) how a story is going to end. If it’s a happy ending for a character that we’ve come to really like, then that’s okay. It’s satisfying for us.

But imagine if you could write a ripper story where the reader just isn’t quite sure how it’s going to end? Have you ever taken a sneaky peak at the last page of a story or book just to see???? Haha – I have… You know it’s a good story if that happens…

So… funnily enough, the best tip about writing a cracker of an ending is to get the first and middle part of the story right. I know, that sounds a bit weird, but if you set your story up really well at the start and in the middle, then it kind of follows that you’ll have a fantastic finish.

Make sure your main character is very much involved as that is the person we’ve come to love – or hate! We need to feel something for this character. If your character can ‘grow’ a bit as a result of their journey or adventure, then that’s really good. Publishers will really admire you if you can do that.

And if you can put a bit of a twist in there too, well…. WOW… that is a huge bonus. A twist is something that we just didn’t see coming. A surprise. It makes us want to go back and read your story again. Because you’ve been so clever, you’ve maybe popped in a couple of little clues that we didn’t pick up!!

One more thing; not sure about you, but I like a story that ends and tidies things up a bit so you’re not left wondering. Of course, it’s entirely up to you, but I feel a bit cheated if I have to make my own conclusions. (Maybe I’m just a bit lazy!!)

Well, have you got any tips about what makes a good ending to a story? Please do share on the blog!

Byeee, Michael


Big Bash League Books

Posted on: January 1st, 2018 by michael -

Hi people – I mentioned in a blog post recently that I’d written another set of 4 Big Bash League books, so thought I’d pop them up for you to see! Each book is separate, so they’re not a series. The characters and settings are different for each book. Each of the 4 features two BBL  teams!

Do you follow the BBL or WBBL? Who’s your fav team? I guess you’ll probably barrack for the team from your state.

Well I’m in Victoria so have two teams to follow. My first is the Melbourne Renegades and my 2nd is the Melbourne Stars. My third favourite is the Hobart Hurricanes. I really like Tasmania, my brother lives in Hobart AND I love the colour purple that the players wear!!

My favourite sports to write about

Posted on: December 24th, 2017 by michael -

Howdy everyone… can’t believe it’s only a few hours till Christmas. I hope everyone is tucked up in bed right now feeling little tingles of excitement with the day ahead about to break!

So, being a bit mad-keen on sport, there are heaps of sports I love to write about, but my two favourites would be football (AFL) and cricket. I guess they’re the two sports I played and followed quite passionately when I was a youngster. I spent hours and hours kicking a footy around the back garden, or if it was too dark or too wet out there, I’d be inside kicking a pair of socks around the house or playing with my footy cards or learning how to read with a Football Life magazine… seriously, I think that’s how I actually learnt to read.

Then as autumn turned to spring and the footy finals came and went (maybe the Geelong Cats were playing, but I think back then, that was pretty rare) the footy would get put away into a cupboard to slowly deflate over the summer and out would come my cricket bat, pads and gloves!! Oh boy, did I LOVE my sport of what?

My footy cards were my absolute passion… you can check them out on my website but is it okay if I post one here too?

So, what are your favourite sports? Have you ever written a sporty story? Or do you have a good idea for a sporty story? (I promise I won’t steal your idea!!) Would love for you to share some sporty thoughts with us over the next week…

but I know it’s probably a busy time right now so if you’d rather describe one magical moment for you from Christmas Day, then I’m good with that too…:) 🙂

Merry Christmas to every single person who reads these lines… and pass that on to every person you see!

I’m still chatting and about, but if you’re not, then catch up in the New Year!


Getting Ideas

Posted on: December 17th, 2017 by michael -

Hi everyone, this week’s post is all about ideas… for me, the idea for a story is SO SO SOOOOOOOOOOOO important! It’s what keeps me awake at night; it’s what gets me so excited about story writing…. and it’s the one thing I really can’t help you with too much because ideas are personal; they came from each of us and that’s what makes them so special.

I mean, I could give you an idea and you could write about the idea and maybe write a really good story, but at the end of the day, it’s not YOUR idea… and that takes a bit of the magic out of it.

So – where do you get a good idea from? Hmmm… you can’t just walk into the supermarket and head down aisle 7 and pick up one from the shelf…. or can you?

I mean, just imagine you’re cruising down Aisle 7 in your local supermarket and you hear this small, frightened voice coming from behind the jars of marmalade. You pause. Was that really a voice you just heard? Dad has moved further down the aisle; he’s on the phone and didn’t hear anything. You step closer, bend low placing an ear against the jar closest to you. You sense people staring, but you don’t care.

‘Help me,’ the voice says. ‘Please?’ ….

So, ideas can come from anywhere… ANYWHERE!! We authors (that’s YOU and me!) see and build stories from the world around us and of course the world beyond us too.

Have a go. Sit down somewhere quiet and close your eyes and let yourself be taken somewhere. Anywhere. Then slowly start to create a story. Remember, your story has to have a problem; a reason we want to turn the page and read on. The more intriguing and exciting, the better…

Ideas can come at the weirdest time and often when you least expect it. It could be a random thought that drifts into your head, so make sure you have pen and paper or a device that you can tap or type on to get your idea down. I have a little pad and pen next to my bed!

So, this week…. I’d love to hear from people who’d like to share either WHERE you are when you get your awesome ideas for a story… or some cool ideas you have for a story!! Good luck…

Faster than Lightning

Posted on: December 11th, 2017 by michael -

So, here’s the cover for the first book in the Clued Up series…very similar to the 2nd… but VERY different to the rest of the series!!


Posted on: December 10th, 2017 by michael -


Hi everyone – thanks for stopping by. In this week’s blog, I’ll be chatting about setting a scene for your story. It’s really magical if you can set a scene that takes your reader off into another world and makes them wonder and imagine. If you’re a good writer, you’ll take your reader away from their chair, or couch or bed (or wherever their fav spot is to read!) and into the amazing world inside your story.

The first moment I really felt like I wanted to write was when I was sitting in an old commentary box at a football ground in Melbourne. The wind was howling and making that spooky, creepy noise when it goes through power lines and the whole box was kind of shaking. I sat huddled and cold and getting a bit wet from a drizzly rain and had all these amazing ideas flash through me about a little boy who goes back in time to a famous football match… a game where his dad was watching… as a kid!!

I think that old rickety thing has gone now, but it would have been just to the right and out of shot (I think!!) on this really old photo of the Collingwood Footy ground… aren’t old photos cool? I reckon we could write a story just from looking at this old photo…

I hope you don’t mind that a lot of my blogs will be a bit sporty related… BUT… I have written some spooky, creepy stories too. For the Vanishings, I actually went to an old railway station which has been turned into a house. The owners were REALLY nice and let me wonder around the place and take notes and get a feel for the place. I LOVE trains and I spent a bit of time on the platform, listening for that familiar tingle in the railway tracks that meant a train was coming.. even though you couldn’t see it yet. Here’s what the cover looks like. It’s a bit creepy…So, think about your setting; go spend some time there and take some notes. The more you know your setting, the better you’ll describe it and the more your readers will love being in it!!

Okay – so it’s your turn. Can you write a paragraph describing an amazing scene or setting? It might be sporty, it might be scary, it might be super close or very far away. But give it some atmosphere and make it so interesting that we want to go there….

I’ll be waiting to read them!