Australian Author, Jen McVeity

Smart, spirited and successful, Jen McVeity is the author of over 20 books and her novel Dreamcatcher is a popular Year 7/8 text in schools. A Churchill Fellow (in publishing), Jen has trained teachers and run her writing Book Boot Camps in over six countries and nine states in the USA. Jen’s Seven Steps to Writing Success program has proved to rapidly improve students’ writing skills and get them engaged in writing. Now in hundreds of school in Australia and the USA, the Seven Steps program has helped make significant increases in students’ national tests scores. Jen and Schoolyard Stories have a common goal—to encourage children to read and write and to have fun doing it. We have outlined the Seven Steps to Writing Success below, but for more information on how to implement the Seven Steps Program in your school please visit

Parents can go to

Jen has also designed a wonderful Chatter Box Game and other useful handouts.

Step 1: Plan for Success

A joke, a movie, a TV sitcom, a book a great story—what they all have in common? They all fol-low the same ‘story graph’. Start with a bang, slowly build up the tension and end on a real high point.

Step 2: Sizzling Starts

Start where the action is. Not at the beginning of the day where nothing is happening. Begin when the volcano starts oozing lava or as you walk in the door to the big disco competition.

Step 3: Tightening Tension

You must believe the hero (male or female) will fail. The tornado is too strong, the villain is too evil, the black forces of depression are too overwhelming. Yet, through strength, talent and de-termination, somehow our hero wins.

Step 4: Dynamic Dialogue

Think of dialogue as a mini play in the story. Let your character walk, talk or even stalk – that’s how we get to know them.

Step 5: Show Don’t Tell

If I tell you I am generous, do you believe me??? No way. But if I buy all 20 raffle tickets to help cancer research, are you more convinced? Actions really do speak louder than words.

Step 6: Ban the Boring Bits

Everyone gets up, gets dressed, travels to school…it’s not exactly exciting. So why write about it? Ban all mention of the ‘boring B’ words—beds, breakfast and bus trips. Think like the movies, the heroes never travel, they just arrive.

Step 7: Exciting Endings

Would you tell a joke without knowing the punch line? If you want to build to a big climax you have to know where you are heading.