You're the Voice: Beth on people-watching and pitching your writing
My exclusive coverage of the Younger Young Writers' program continues, with a Day 2 report proudly brought to you by Beth, from the Hunter School of the Performing Arts in NSW.
I’m Beth Traynor. I’m 16 years old and I lived in England for 2 years of my life, returning to Australia just in time to start High School. I have always has enjoyed theatre and I’m referred to at school as the “Shakespeare Nutter” which I am proud of.
Younger Young Writers' Program: Day 2. Newcastle.
On Friday of the YYWP we had a lot of free time. It was great - we got to spend time with people we were just getting to know and walk around the Mall. I spent my free time, as I know many others did, searching for inspiration. One of my best friends was an awesome help in this search. She took me to ‘The Roof’ (the top of a really high building) and we just watched the people below us - scurrying mindlessly between the shops searching for a bargain, or just meandering down the road taking in the sights and sounds of Hunter Street Mall. The characters we assigned to these people and the conversations we made up for them inspired me for the rest of the workshop, on that day and all the others following.
The rest of the day focussed not so much on how to write, as it did on how to get into the business of being a writer.
A 'Youth Group' panel with Heidi Pett, Tom Wilson, Katherine Jayne Sullivan and Fiona Dunne looked at how, as a young writer, it is difficult to get into the business, and even after you have gotten into the industry you have to continue to prove yourself against those who doubt you. They also discussed how good it feels when you do start to be respected, not only as a person, but as a writer. After lunch we saw another panel: 'Why Write?' with Sam Cooney, Chris Somerville, A.H. Cayley and Jessie Cole, who chatted about why they write, and what inspired them into enter the challenging world of writing.
We got to meet Robbie Coleman from The Thousands, and Broede Carmody from Voiceworks who explained to us how to get published, including the most important - the Pitch. Robbie explained to us (using many cat analogies) what a pitch is: a summary of your story and the intended audience... but you have to do it in in TWO SENTENCES! We were given half an hour to come up with pitches and then we went straight into 'Story Speed Dating', where we got 2 minutes to pitch our story to another person at the course and hear their story in return, before we had to move onto the next person! We were rewarded in the evening when we got to pitch 3 ideas to real-life publishers and/or full time writers (Fiona Dunne, Johannes Jakob, Robbie Coleman (again), Lex Hirst and Amy Gray), who each picked their favourite pitch and told us why they thought that idea would be effective. The ideas that were picked shocked me and the other members of the group I was put in - it really expanded my view for a writer can do/write.