Have you read a book lately that you think other people should read? Or maybe you’ve read a book that you don’t think anyone would want to read? You can review them here, on our newly created and simple-to-use review form.
We will publish all the good reviews (and good bad reviews) that we get.
Patrick Ness is the author of the recent award-winning YA book, The Knife of Never Letting Go (his latest book, The Ask and the Answer, is on order). He is also the first ‘online writer in residence’ for the British charity, Booktrust. Normally a writer in residence gets a house in a nice part of the world to live in and write for a year, a la the Katherine Mansfield prize. An online writer in residence doesn’t get all that, sadly, but Patrick Ness has a very nice blog going. You may also want to check out his tips for new writers.
Just Write is a writing programme with a difference. Each year Just Write supports ten young writers around the country to develop their writing and media literacy skills and increase their understanding of global issues, such as poverty, human rights and sustainability. We offer a programme of training and support, including writing workshops and one to one mentoring from a local media professional.
There are lots of benefits to being in this programme. To be eligible you must be between 14 and 18, and live in New Zealand. You can download the application form here (.pdf) by 5pm, Monday, the 16th of February. Which is, oh, only two weeks away.
Last year I did a post about authors who blog (regularly). I’ve dredged up some more, which are rather enlightening (to varying degrees).
Megan McCafferty of Sloppy Firsts fame, has an interesting take on blogging. She’s called hers a (retro)blog, and she includes writing assignments and essays she produced in school (going back to the 1980s). You’ll also find articles she’s written on the Twilight saga, containing a hint that Marcus Flutie (from Sloppy Firsts, not Twilight) is based on a real person (or persons).
Susan Beth Pfeffer, author of the horribly harrowing (really, really) stories about what happens to the earth when the moon is knocked out of orbit by an asteroid (The Dead and the Gone, and Life As We Knew It).
Brent Hartinger updates his regularly (the key to keeping a good blog, that).
Robin McKinley, author of Beauty and Sunshine (for those vampire fans). I love what she’s called her blog.
And for those Bear Grylls fans, keep up with what the Bear is up to: http://beargrylls.blogspot.com/
You’ve got almost exactly one week to get your short stories into us! Remember that the close off time is 12pm on Wednesday the 24th of December.
Some things to remember: make sure you include the following things (exactly); “forks”, “a swan” and “red carpet”. Make sure your story is no more than 350 words long too. And don’t forget to include your name and your library card number with your entry.
By the way, you can enter more than one story, but remember that we’re not pulling names out of a hat; you’re just as likely to win with one entry as with ten, so make sure it’s as good as you can get it.
By promoting creative writing as a past time, the site seeks to encourage creative thinking, proper grammar, and better writing.
Today, the Young Writers Society is proud to boast well over 3,000 members, over 10,000 poems and stories, and a review to story/poem ratio of nearly 6 to 1. The average age on the site is 17.5, and the site receives over 400 posts per day on average. There is no other site for young writers on the web that even comes close.
Here’s the prize pack for the Short Short Story Competition. There is a copy of the book (the movie cover version), the soundtrack to the film (featuring a track by the sparkling Robert Pattinson), and a sixteen-month calendar (I’m unsure what that means). The total value is $90 or thereabouts – I’m no mathematician.
Check out the competition’s rules etc. here, or click on the competition logo to the left.
It can be difficult writing a short story, essay or whatever, when there is a limit to the number of words you can write. But sometimes it’s fun to challenge yourself and embrace the difficulty. Drabbles, for examples, are short stories that have exactly 100 words. This post is a drabble, and so is this Christmas story by Neil Gaiman.
One sentence stories are perhaps harder to write (though it’s amazing how much meaning can be jammed into only a few words); see also these ten-word reviews of just about anything. Do you think you can write one yourself?
Can you write a good short story? To celebrate the end of the year, and to thank our readers, we’ve got a Twilight pack (including the Twilight soundtrack and more) to give away to the best short short story. It’s a most excellent prize – a must for any Twilight fan and very useful for trading if you’re not. We will also have internationally-acclaimed illustrator Gavin Mouldey illustrate the winning story!
So what do you have to do? Just write a short story, not more than 350 words (it can be as short as you like), that includes each of the following three words or phrases (exactly as written – think outside the box: is the word a noun only, or can it be used as a verb/describing word?):
¹note that this is a small f, so we’re not looking for place names.
Your story can be about anything. We will be particularly impressed if:
Send your stories to email@example.com before 12pm on 24 December 2008. Please include your name and your library card number (very important!). The winner will be announced soon as in the new year (so you can get the most out of your calendar).
You must be aged between 13 and 18 to enter. You must also be a Wellington City Library member. Judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into etc etc., although we do like getting emails and comments. The winning story and any others that are particularly special will be published on the teen blog, so if you send a story in be prepared for it to be published.
Good luck! Tell your friends to enter too, to make the competition more worth your while (healthy competition is a good thing)!
Last sentences this time. Stopping is harder than it looks, believe me. Some writers apply the brakes slowly (very slowly), others come screeching to a halt. Personally, I like both (although neither if they’re badly written).
Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights: again, I had to learn this for an exam. I inserted it precariously in my short term memory: in my mind it goes: “I lingered blah, blah, blah and wondered how anyone blah blah unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.”
How it actually goes: “I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths fluttering among the heath, and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.”
George Orwell, 1984: “He loved Big Brother.” Awesome.
Herman Melville, Moby Dick: after such a calamitous time is had by all, the last sentence swallows all the tragedy up, spits it out, dusts itself off and carries on like nothing has happened: “Now small fowls flew screaming over the yet yawning gulf; a sullen white surf beat against its steep sides; then all collapsed, and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago.”
Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle: memorably and mushily, “I love you, I love you, I love you.”
Then from some soon-to-be-classics:
Philip Pullman, Northern Lights: “So Lyra and her daemon turned away from the world they were born in, and looked toward the sun, and walked into the sky.” There’s a certain symmetry to the first and last sentences of Northern Lights which is extremely pleasing. We like this.
J K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Not quite so much success here (never mind that the whole last chapter is horrid). The last sentence reads, “All was well.” The penultimate sentence is, “The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years.” Bring back the Dursleys!
Stephenie Meyer, Twilight: (didn’t want to ruin things by sticking in the last sentence of Breaking Dawn, you understand) “And he leaned down to press his cold lips once more to my throat.” ‘Oh,’ the reader thinks, ‘does he bite her?’ and, ‘when can I read the next one to find out?’
Marcus Sedgwick, My Swordhand is Singing: “Wait! I’m coming with you!” Incidentally, if you like badass vampire books and you’re sick of the romantic sap then read this one; it’s of the more chilling variety.
Meg Rosoff, How I Live Now: “And that’s how I live now.” Well, that’s one way to finish, with the title. Actually, that reads badly on its own (a bit like an old granny sitting with her quilting, with her glasses perched on the tip of her nose, saying, “and that, gentle listener, is how I live now.”). It’s better in context.
Scott Westerfeld, Peeps: “We’ve got your back.” Nice. Another less mushy vampire one, btw.
Laura Whitcomb, A Certain Slant of Light: “And when we kissed, the garden rocked, floating upstream.” Ah, lovely. A ghostly romance. For the record the first sentence reads, “Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation if you’re dead.”
So, my fifty cents’ worth for writers: short or long last (and first) sentence; it doesn’t really matter, as long as you can justify every word, and it reads well on the page (and also out loud).