Figment is “a community where you can share your writing, connect with other readers, and discover new stories and authors. Whatever you’re into, from sonnets to mysteries, from sci-fi stories to cell phone novels”, you can find it all at Figment – it’s like a social network for those that love to write or read original stories. Check out the contests, forums or blog while you’re there, or just oggle at how cool the webpage looks.
You never know… you could be discovered as the next Stephenie Meyer.
(Us folk here at Teen Blog are alway happy to receive your writing anytime too!)
The 4th annual Wellington Zinefest is on this Saturday 20th of November from 12-5pm at Mighty Mighty (104 Cuba Street). Zinefest is a market day where you can peruse and purchase heaps of local, national and international zines and self published music.
We will be bringing zines from our collection of over 1,000 to join in the fun at Zinefest and creating a comfy reading area for you to relax and recover from all the DIY excitement.
Come along! Wellington Zinefest is proudly sponsored by Wellington City Libraries.
What’s a Zine?
The word zine (an abbreviation of the equally elusive word fanzine) has come to describe DIY magazines of an independent nature. Fanzines don’t have the same commercial ambitions or restraints as magazines. Fanzines are often a labour of love. Some are collaborative, others are created by just one person. Some are comics, some cover obscure local bands, others pay homage to the hugely famous (though in a creepy stalker kind of way), some are art objects in their own right. This year Wellington Zinefest has also invited participation from those creating DIY music (records, CDs and tapes).
If you’re interested in crafting a zine then have a look at Whatcha mean, what’s a zine? by Mark Todd (a different Mark Todd to the one of Olympics fame).
Re-Draft, an annual competition for teenage writers is on again. Your work could be selected for publication by judges Tessa Duder and James Norcliffe. Check in your school library for last year’s copy of the Re-Draft book ‘Fishing for Birds’ and you’ll find the entry form in the back. Good luck!
Noted author, Tamsyn Murray, recently agreed to an exclusive interview with Teen Blog, which was nice. Born and raised in the UK, she’s got one YA book to her credit, My So-Called Afterlife (a colleague describes it as “gripping”, so it’s very good) with another on the way very soon. We asked her about writing, reading and cricket …
At what age did you begin writing? And when did you know it was something wanted to get paid for doing?
I’ve always loved writing stories and can remember dreaming up characters and scenarios from a young age. English was definitely my favourite subject at school but I didn’t start to wonder if I could write professionally until 2008, when I read a how-to-write book and everything fell into place. So I like to think I spent the first thirty-five years of my life learning how to write. Either that or I wasted them!
What other YA authors do you read and enjoy?
I’m an enormous fan of Neil Gaiman, who writes across a range of ages, and I loved The Graveyard Book. Other YA books I’ve read recently include The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, Wasted by Nicola Morgan and Girl, Aloud by Emily Gale – three very different books but all outstanding.
Where did the idea for My So Called Afterlife come from? I assume the title is a nod to Clare Danes…
The idea for My So-Called Afterlife came when I was wondering what would happen if the building a ghost haunted got knocked down and something else got built on top – would the ghost haunt the new building? What if was something like a toilet? Then the character of Lucy appeared in my head, stamping her Ugg boots and demanding I tell her story. The title arrived after the book was finished and, yes, I was a fan of My So-Called Life.
A lot of the readers on this blog are aspiring writers, and judging by the short story competition entries we receive, they are also very talented, give them some tips on getting that first book published.
The best thing I ever did was find my literary agent. She made suggestions on where I could improve the book and knew which publishers to send it to once it was ready. It’s thanks to her that my novel found a home so I’d recommend aspiring writers try to find an agent on the same wavelength. They might take a percentage of your earnings but without mine, I’d be earning a lot less!
My So Called Haunting is due to be released soon, what can we expect from novel number two?
A different main character, for a start! My So-Called Haunting introduces Skye, a fourteen year old psychic who moves to London to stay with her aunt, Celestine. As Skye struggles to settle into her new life, she’s also developing a crush on the most unattainable boy in the school, Nico.
When her aunt asks for her help with a troubled teen ghost called Dontay, she’s glad of the distraction. But then Nico starts paying her attention, and she’s soon facing a battle to keep her love life and her psychic life separate.
As things get ever more complicated, it looks as though Dontay’s past might cost Skye her future.
We enjoy haiku and you enjoy cricket, write us a cricket themed haiku.
Erm, ok. This is my first ever haiku and I suspect it’s not very good! But here goes:
Bowler sights pale stumps
a crack of ball on willow
summer is a game
* * * * * *
My So-Called Afterlife is available for issue on our catalogue, click on the title to place a reserve. For more Tamsyn Murray news, go to her website where she has all the details of her work, along with a link to her frequently updated and very interesting blog.
The Festival of the Arts begins on the 26th of February, and as usual it includes the Writers and Readers Week (starting with the Gala Opening on March the 9th). This year there are a couple of interesting young adult authors attending, namely Neil Gaiman (The Graveyard Book, Coraline etc) and Margo Lanagan (Tender Morsels), including one session together being interviewed by Kate de Goldi in which they discuss what makes a book children’s (or young adults’) literature (and is it not as worthy as ”adults’”?). We might go and report back on what the answer is.
Other interesting writers to be featured:
We announced this year’s Short Short Story Competition (maybe it will be an annual thing!) yesterday. There are some great prizes and here are some photos of them.
These are the books:
Only authors are allowed to write in books! And sometimes librarians.
And as well as the books there is a t-shirt and a bunch of movie passes to see Cirque Du Freak : The Vampire’s Assistant when it opens on January 7th 2010.
Here’s a photo of the lot! Thanks, Paramount!
All this could be yours! Only if you enter the competition. All the details are here.
[Ed: some of the bunch of movie passes will go to excellent short stories that weren't the winner but were fabulous anyway]
Update: the competition is now closed. Tune in some time early next year to find out who won.
Are you aged somewhere between 13 and 18? Can you write a good short story?
It’s back! The 2009 Short Short Story Competition is here: write an excellent short short story and you could win a Cirque du Freak prize pack, including signed copies of the first six books in The Saga of Darren Shan series, a limited edition t-shirt and movie passes (thanks to the people at Paramount). It’s a fantastic prize, and it’s all very simple really.
So what do you have to do? 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 (think outside the box: is the word a noun only, or can it be used another way? Can it be added to, for example -ish or -ed?):
Your story can be about anything. We will be particularly impressed if:
Send your stories to email@example.com before 5pm on Monday 21 December 2009. Please include your name and your library card number (very important!). The winner will be announced early in the new year.
You must be aged between 13 and 18 to enter 12 and 18 to enter. You must also be a Wellington City Libraries 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.
Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, in cinemas January 7 2010. Go to www.thevampiresassistant.co.nz for movie info.
If you’re 13 to 19 and a bit of a writer, we have the perfect competition for you : “Re-Draft” – which is run by the Christchurch School for Young Writers. The best entries each year are published in the school’s annual publication ’Re-Draft’, and your work might be chosen as the title of the book. That’s right your words, in bright bold colours on the front of the book…
This competition is open to all, and you can enter up to three pieces of work on any subject matter, poems or stories. Jump onto their website for info on the competition and details on how to enter.
Markus Zusak, who wrote The Book Thief (one of our Most Wanted books for, like, ages), was recently at the Hay Festival in the United Kingdom (which seems to be a celebration of books and chairs, from what I can tell), where he was interviewed while relaxing in a comfortable-looking deck chair. He talks about how he works, what inspired him to write The Book Thief, what it means to have death as a narrator, and a few other bits and pieces. The interview is here (from the Guardian website).
Incidentally, if you’re interested in strange narrators and you liked How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff make sure you read Just In Case, which is narrated by fate – it would make a very interesting point of comparison.
If you’re into creative writing you might be interested in this:
There are two special school holiday creative writing workshops happening next Wednesday 22 April at Katherine Mansfield Birthplace (25 Tinakori Road, Thorndon).
Run by award-winning author Janice Marriott, the workshops are a great chance for secondary school students aged 13–15 to develop their skills and ideas in creative writing.
Workshop 1: 9.30–12.30am
Workshop 2 (repeat): 1.30–4.30pm
Cost: $25 per student
Spaces are limited so bookings are essential. To book, call 473 7268 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.