For NaNoWriMo this year I'm hosting some write-ins specially for teens, in Melbourne, at the State Library of Victoria. (Details here.)
This Saturday 1 November, 12pm-2.30pm, I'll be joined in the Library Dome by special guest author Allyse Near. As well as taking part in the furious writing process, Allyse will be on hand to help answer any writing questions you might have!
I've gotten in first, though, with a few key questions of my own...
Hi Allyse! Who are you? What's your book about?
I'm 25 years old, and my debut novel is Fairytales for Wilde Girls. It's a gothic slice of YA pulp and it's about bodies in the woods, ghostly guardians, the oppression of weird women, and cute next-door neighbours. I'm really into fairytales and it's basically an attempt to translate a traditional fairytale into a modern setting. It's been successful beyond my wildest dreams, winning Best Horror and Best Young Adult Novel at the Aurealis Awards, and Honour Book of the Year at the Children's Book Council of Australia Awards, as well as being shortlisted for the Norma K Hemming Award, and just recently, the Gold Inky!
So. NaNoWriMo. Have you ever done it?
A large part of my role as wonder-dog is to hobnob with awesome authors. So throughout this year's Melbourne Writers Festival I got to hang out with, and probe the minds of some incredible Australian YA writing talent.
Hear from our country's awesome YA talent on subjects like:
- recommended YA titles
- the solution to writer's block
- the collective noun for writers
- the definition of young adult literature
Whoooo's ready to write a novel? NaNoWriMo is nearly upon us! Come join the challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel during November. And teens are blessed with the option of setting your own smaller-but-still-challenging word-count in NaNo's Young Writers Program.
Why is NaNoWriMo brilliant?
1. You get to write a novel.
2. With LOTS of support, incentives and cheer-squads.
3. And with lots of chances to meet other writers from around the world or from your own neighbourhood, online or in person!
This year I'm hosting some write-ins specially for teens, in Melbourne, at the State Library of Victoria.
I'll provide the snacks, you provide the words.
As Halloween draws ever closer, I am reminded of the things that make October special. Nonsensical fluctuations in temperature and sudden downpours when it’s supposed to be twenty-six degrees. Heat that makes hiding under a blanket the most unpleasant experience known to man. A depressing lack of jack-o-lantern pumpkins. All of these things symbolise a very special time of the year for me - a time when running around in costumed gangs is totally acceptable, as is terrorising your friends with horror stories and purposefully making life difficult for others.
Cards on the table: I love Halloween. The mood, the purpose, the history - I love all of it. If I’m honest, that’s why I’m writing this article. I’m getting pumped. For the purposes of seeming as though I have a purpose, however, let’s assume that I’m investigating scary stories.
If you’re anything like me, then you’ll spend October the thirty-first organising an exchange of horror tales that have either been devised, overheard or dredged up from the bottom of the nightmare closet. Being a part of such a gathering is special, to say the least. It’s like watching thirty-two horror movies in one sitting, or making your way through a poorly written compendium of literary thrills.
There are a number of reasons to like scary stories, I think. For one thing the medium harkens back to a time when humanity relied on spoken word to pass down history. We hear, memorise and spread scary stories just like our ancestors used to. (I don’t care if the tale of Blue Bonnet isn’t really important or historical, because it sure scared the hell out of my eight year old self.)
Another, related reason is the dependence upon words and speaking techniques to tell a scary story successfully. Here there's no jump scares or creepy scores. It's just you and your words and your voice. And it makes every telling unique. If you turn off a few lights, invest in a good torch and really take yourself seriously, then there’s no end to the amount of nightmares you might cause.
I got to cuddle up to some authors and listen to them talk all about me! And you. (But mostly me.)
I like it.
This week was the ALMIGHTY CULMINIATION of this year's Inky Awards. The part where there's a massive celebration and the winners are announced! If you've never been to an Inky Awards party, or thought about throwing your own, here's the inside scoop on what went down...
All of the Gold shortlisted authors talked a little about their books:
L-R: Claire Zorn, Allyse Near, Ellie Marney, Amie Kaufman, and Will Kostakis.
It's my most favourite day of the year! When all the books, all the authors, and all of you - dear Inkyites - join together in that most holy of states: the Inky Awards.
Today it's my enormous pleasure to announce the winners of this year's awards, as voted for by YOU.
2014 Gold Inky Award
There are a number of reasons why teenagers seem disinterested in the work of William Shakespeare.
1) It was in the past.
2) It’s hard to understand.
3) We’re forced to read it at school.
4) It was in the past.
5) It doesn’t seem to be relevant anymore.
I can’t understand any of those reasons. Perhaps put it down to my love of linguistics, but I adore Shakespeare's use of words and language more than anything else. He’s one of my favourite parts of the English curriculum, yet nobody else seems to agree. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of reasons to love Bill Shakespeare, or to at least give him a chance.
Firstly, his words are incredible. Not only did he make them up, but he crafted them into household terms (like ‘household terms’, in an alarming twist of meta-layers) and into some of the most famous soliloquies, monologues and segments of dialogue in the English language. Even if you don’t understand them, that’s okay - they are two hundred years old, and some of them are made up, and it doesn’t make you an idiot. (Relax.)
If words aren’t enough, then what about the way he positions them? Iambic pentameter (i.e. one of his fancy poetic styles) is a sensational way of story-telling. When I read Shakespeare it feels more like music than words.
It's that time of week again - Inky's Choice! Where the only opinion that matters is my own! Now let's get to it...
3 reasons to read Falling into Place by Amy Zhang:
1. NaNoWriMo is nearly upon us! For those who argue that it's a waste of time and doesn't result in anything....you're wrong. Zheng wrote the first draft of her debut novel throughout her 2012 NaNo effort. She edited it over two months and sold it shortly thereafter. How's that for a success story?
2. The perspecive is not typical, which makes it both surprising and fantastically awesome. I would say more but I don't want to spoil it!