Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Search options

Teen Blog

Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Tag: Writing Page 1 of 3

Tell us about good books!

Dear readers, if you are between the ages of 13 and 18 and enjoy (shock! horror!) reading books, the editors of this venerable blog would like to invite you to share your thoughts with us in the form of reviews.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You read a book (physical or digital, whatever)
  2. Have thoughts
  3. Write them down and send them to us (click here to find out how)
  4. We publish your reviews on this blog
  5. ???
  6. Profit!!

How exactly does one profit, you may ask? You shall become rich in the eternal respect and admiration of your peers, of course, as well as gaining the widespread fame associated with writing for this most respected of publications.

Now, when you send us your reviews, make sure you include the important information: the title and author of the book, your name (or pseudonym, if you prefer), a haiku about yourself (it’s the law, if you want to publish on the Teen Blog), a promise to name your first-born child after one of our librarians — you know, the usual.

Remember, writing a good review entails more than just a plot summary. Give us some juice! Spill the tea! Tell us what you think about the book and why you think it! Did it make you cry? Did it make you laugh? Did it make you feel super weird? Did it remind you of another book, or a movie, or a song? Did it inspire you in some way? Would you recommend it to someone else? Would you re-read it? Would you rather yeet it into the ocean and never have to think about it again? All reactions valid, all reactions wanted. Just keep the language PG (this is a family site, after all!) and we’ll be all good.

So what are you waiting for? Time to get writing!

Ready or Not, Let’s Get Writing!

This time next week people from around the world will be working on novels – moreso than there normally are. Some have been planning for weeks, others are jumping in with only a vague collection of ideas. Some have targets of 50,000 words; others 10,000. They’re writing contemporary YA, adult scifi, children’s fantasy, adult romance, and many more genres besides. But whether it’s their first novel or their twenty-first, these people all have something in common.

They’re all participating in Camp NaNoWrimo.

An off-shoot of the famous National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short), Camp NaNoWriMo challenges people to get that novel out of their heads and onto the page. But unlike the stricter classic NaNoWriMo, where to win you have to write 50,000 words of a new draft, Camp NaNoWriMo lets you set your own goals and even work on an existing draft. Need that one bit of motivation to get the last 10,000 words out? Camp NaNo! Just want to get past that middle part? Camp NaNo! Want to write alongside people from all around the world, but think 50,000 is too big a target or you’ve got exams in November? CAMP NANO!

Last year some staff and a bunch of teen readers leaped into Camp NaNo, as something to do with all the extra hours lockdown gave us. There were varying levels of success, with some reaching five (and even six!) figure word goals! Others learned more about fiction writing in general, to be more prepared for the next go around. And then there was me, getting some words down but mostly brushing up on my napping skills.

So if you’re wanting to join in yourself, head on over to the official NaNoWriMo site! I’m sure you can do better than me. And for tips and tricks, have a read of the two official NaNoWriMo books: No Plot? No Problem! and Brave the Page. Budding writers, keep an eye on the blog for more writing-related goodness and lists in the future.

Last Chance to Submit to Tūhono!

Today is November 30th, which means it is officially the last day to submit your poetry to Tūhono, our new poetry journal for kids and teens in Wellington! If you’re still looking for inspiration, check out our poetry starter kit here. We also put together a list of excellent poetry collections for young people here. What better way to unwind (or distract yourself) from your exams than to write us a wee poem? We don’t normally encourage procrastination, but in this case we are in full support of any writerly actions you might take.

To find out more about Tūhono, check that your work meets our criteria, and submit your poem for inclusion in the journal, check out this post.

UPDATE: The submission link is now closed. Thank you to all the wonderful poets out there who submitted their work! The publication will be available soon.

 This could be you! We believe in you!

Books to Help You Set Your Inner Poet Free!

If you’re as excited about Tūhono, our new poetry journal for young Wellington writers, as we are, you’ll have been working away furiously on your submission piece for weeks already. But we all need a bit of inspiration from time to time, so I asked the arcane sorcerers (and sorceresses) who stare into the metaphorical crystal ball of publisher summary releases and buy our books to choose some of their favourite poetry books from the YA collection for you to sink your claws into and extract whatever poetical life-force you need.

 Amen.

 

Some of these books come from the deepest, darkest depths of our collection warehouse — feel free to place a reserve, and our shelf-hopping minions will locate the book you crave and send it forth to whichever library location you choose. Some call it magic; we call it the Dewey Decimal System.


Poems to live your life by
In this gorgeous anthology, award-winning illustrator (and friend to libraries — yeah, we love this guy!) Chris Riddell has selected 46 poems to live your life by. Poems by both classic and modern poets sit alongside each other, including works from Shakespeare, Carol Anne Duffy, Neil Gaiman, Nick Cave, and W.B. Yeats. The poems are dividing into sections covering musings, youth, family, love, imagining, nature, war, and endings. A great place to start your poetic journey.


Poems to fall in love with / Riddell, Chris
Look, we admit it. We’re suckers for a good old love poem, okay? And we’re suckers for anything by Chris Riddell. This is, you guessed it, a whole anthology dedicated to LURRRVVVEEEE. Selected and edited by our boy Chris, this is another beautiful book that you won’t want to return to the library any time soon! Featuring classic love poems alongside more modern offerings, this book is an inspiring and heart-warming celebration of love in all its forms. <3


Overdrive cover SLAM! You’re Gonna Wanna Hear This, Nikita Gill (ebook)
If you’re not familiar with slam poetry, um, get enlightened, folks. It’s a form of performance poetry that combines elements of performance, writing, competition, and audience participation. In this eBook collection, Nikita Gill brings together a group of well-known and emerging poets from the spoken word scene who share their poetry and tips for creating awesome, inspiring, high energy slam poetry!


She is fierce : brave, bold and beautiful poems by women
This is a powerful collection of 150 poems written by women, that was published to celebrate the centenary of women’s suffrage. A range of different voices are represented — suffragettes, schoolgirls, slam poets, mothers, kitchen maids, and activists. We couldn’t recommend it more highly!


For everyone / Reynolds, Jason
This inspirational long-form poem was written and performed by Jason Reynolds as a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. and Walter Dean Myers. Like the title says, though, it is for everyone — everyone who is a dreamer, who dreams of being more than they are, and wants to make their dreams come true. Sometimes your dreams take time to take shape. You just have to remember that sometimes, all it can take is a poem, a nod, a nothing to lose.


I thought I’d finish by sharing with you one of my favourite poems of all time, by the late, great Tom Leonard. Read it out loud — as all poetry should be read. Read it to someone you love. It just might change your life!

A Summer’s Day

yir eyes ur
eh
a mean yir

pirrit this wey
ah thingk yir
byewtifl like ehm

fact
fact a thingk yir
ach a luvyi thahts

thahts
jist thi wey it is like
thahts ehm
aw ther iz ti say

(© Tom Leonard, 1996)

Camp NaNoWriMo April Challenge 2020 is Done and Dusted!

So, Camp NaNoWriMo April 2020 is officially over. We’re super thrilled that so many of you took part in one way or another, whether you joined our classroom forums, contributed to the conversation, hung out over on our Discord, chatted with Elizabeth Knox, or took part in the Camp NaNo Challenge itself. Around 30 novels were started, and many of them were finished — together, we wrote well over 100,000 words. A lot of us learned something about writing and life along the way. Be proud. However you participated, you reached out in this time of isolation and helped create something really special.

If you don’t want it to end, or worse, weren’t able to take part in the first place, all is not lost. Our NaNoWriMo Young Writers’ Programme classroom will probably be fairly quiet until the next challenge comes along, but the Discord is still just as busy as ever, with author talks, writing games, stuff to learn, people to meet, and of course, the highest quality banter this side of the equator. If you want to join, just get in touch on Facebook or by email. We’d love to have you. Also, keep your eye on the Event Calendar so you don’t miss any upcoming events!

Hear Other Humans: Live in Conversation with Elizabeth Knox

So, you’ve joined our excellent Camp NaNoWriMo online writing classroom. You’re mid-way through your debut novelistic masterpiece. Things are going well — your 10,000 – 50,000-word goal is within reach. But still, you crave something… more. Your bedroom is starting to feel more like a cell of imprisonment than a swell of inspiration. Weeks of hearing only those voices of the humans within your bubble (and possibly the ensuing voices in your head) are starting to grate.

Fear not, we have you covered. The ludicrously talented, multi-award-winning author Elizabeth Knox has agreed to join us for a live Ask Me Anything session ~with voice chat!~ this Friday at 4.00pm! So prepare your best, most burning writerly questions and prepare to have your minds blown by one of the most successful authors this country has ever seen. Sound like your kind of thing? Click here to register.

This is an opportunity you don’t want to miss. Photo: Grant Maiden.

If you’re not familiar with Elizabeth Knox’s work already, you should be. Her incredible career has spanned the publication of thirteen novels (including the wildly popular The Vintner’s Luck and Dreamhunter Duet), three novellas, and a collection of essays. Her most recent masterwork, The Absolute Book, rightfully garnered huge attention overseas, particularly in the US, when it was published in 2019. It’s a daring, epic, intimate and oneiric journey of a read, which needs to be experienced by any lover of fantasy and the magic of everyday life.

But this isn’t all we’ve got going on. This fantastic event with Elizabeth Knox is part of a series of events taking place over on our Discord, which we’re calling Hear Other Humans. We’re taking advantage of that sweet, sweet voice chat function to chat about our writing, share terrible book covers we want to collectively mock, partake in a near-continuous stream of witty banter, and play interactive writing games together. It’s a great way to keep connected — we can’t wait to see you there!

Got A Month? Get Writing with CampNaNo!

Today is the first day of April. That means a lot of things for a lot of people: pleas for no pranks, people ignoring those pleas, and the sixth day of lockdown here in New Zealand.

For many around the world, though, it is also the start of CampNaNoWriMo, which itself is a spin-off of the November National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo for short. Unlike the classic NaNoWriMo, where the goal is 50,000 words of a new draft, CampNaNo is far more flexible. You can continue a project, write multiple short stories, do editing and rewrites, and set your own goal for the whole thing. Think 50,000 words is far too much, and just want to get a solid start on that novel? 20,000 is grand. Struggling through that finale? If you’re sure it’s just 10,000 between you and typing ‘the end’, set that for your goal.

Best of all, you don’t have to go it alone. Unique to CampNaNo is the cabin feature – writing groups where you can discuss your project and cheer each other on. So why not gather up a group of your friends and get writing socially even when you are distanced physically? There’s plenty of resources available for teens as well, from workbooks to pep talks from famous novelists.

Whether you’re the next teen author like Hannah Moskowitz or Kody Keplinger, or feeling a little like teenage Mary Shelley when she created Frankenstein and the Monster during the Year Without A Summer, each novel begins with an idea and putting words on the page.

We’ve set up a WCL Teen Writers classroom group as well as a Discord server if you want to join us on our month-long writing journey – we will be writing as well, so you won’t be alone. If you are interested, either Facebook message or email us with your details (if you’re a WCL member, include your card number — if not, let us know which library you belong to), and once confirmed we will send out an invitation. We look forward to hearing from you!

Summer Scribes at Karori Library

Do you ever look outside during these idyllic summer months and think to yourself, “What a perfect opportunity to go to the library and hone my writing skills?” Many of us at the library (especially this librarian, who promptly burns to a crisp upon setting foot outside between the months of December and March) sympathise — so during the month of January, we’ve arranged the perfect programme for you.

Summer Scribes — following on from the immensely popular Winter Writers series of workshops held last year — is a series of writing workshops for teens designed to help you develop your individual voice in writing, whether in prose, poetry, or any other writing style you please. Check the details below:

What? Summer Scribes
Where? Karori Library, 1st floor nonfiction area
When? Every Tuesday in January, 3:00pm

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

I’ll leave you with the aptly-titled — and, as you’ll see, totally gorgeous — poem by the late Tom Leonard (it helps if you read it with a strong Scottish accent):

A Summer’s Day

yir eyes ur
eh
a mean yir

pirrit this wey
ah thingk yir
byewtifl like ehm

fact
fact a thingk yir
ach a luvyi thahts

thahts
jist thi wey it is like
thahts ehm
aw ther iz ti say

(© Tom Leonard, 1996)

(Disclaimer: We promise not to make you write in Scots. (Well, maybe a little. (Trust me, it’s so much fun to read out loud!)))

Winter Writers at Karori Library

Looking for a way to stave off those winter blues? Come and get your writerly juices flowing at Winter Writers, a new creative writing programme for teens starting up at Karori Library next week! Learn about everything from short fiction and poetry to scriptwriting and more at these fortnightly meet-ups during the winter months. Check the details below:

Where: Karori Library, 243 Karori Road, Karori
When: Every second Thursday, 4:00-5:00, from the 31st of May to the 26th of July
What: Creative writing workshops for teenagers, focussed on developing your command of language, ability to evaluate and critique your own writing, and — most importantly — create whole new worlds with a stroke of your pen.

Registrations are not required. If you’d like more information, call Karori Library on 476 8413, or talk to your local librarian.

Hark, what worlds from yonder pencil spring?

 

Creative Writing Workshops with Anna Mackenzie

Is there something you’ve always wanted to say, but you’re not quite sure how to say it? Or perhaps you know how to say it, but you’d like to learn how to say it better? Maybe you like how you say things, but you’re searching for ideas on what to talk about?

Well, you’re in luck. The wonderful Anna Mackenzie is coming to Wellington City Libraries to run two creative writing workshops for all you creative folks out there!

Dates and Times:

Karori Library, Thursday May 3, 4:00-6:00pm
Johnsonville Library, Friday May 4, 4:00-6:00pm

You can register either in person at the Libraries where the workshops are taking place, or by calling Karori Library on 476 8413, or Johnsonville Library on 477 6151.

Anna Mackenzie

Māwhai Tuhituhi online Te Reo writing competition for Te Wiki O Te Reo Māori

Hei whakanui i Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori 2014, kei te mahi pakiwaitara tuhituhi ā-ipurangi Te Matapihi ki te Ao Nui, ā, ka taea e koe e tō kura rānei ētahi taonga te wini.

Kua oti kē i te kaituhi rongonui haere nei a Paora Tibble te whiti tuatahi te tuhituhi, ā, māu e āpiti atu ō tuhituhi ki te pakiwaitara ia rā, hei te 21-25 o Hūrae.

Ka whiriwhirihia kotahi te whiti ia rā (tae atu ki te 200 kupu), mai i ia reanga, ka mutu hoki ngā pakiwaitara hei te ahiahi o te Paraire te 25 o Hūrae.

Ko ngā Reanga: (Kura) Tau 1-8, me te Tau 9-13

Ko ngā taonga ia rā he pēke whare pukapuka, he kāri koha, he haki pukapuka hoki.

Ko ngā taonga mā ngā toa tuhituhi kotahi iPapa mō ia reanga, ā, he haki e $250 hei hoko pukapuka mō ngā kura o ngā toa tuhituhi.

Ko te kura hoki he tokomaha rawa ana kaituhi ka wini hoki i te haki pukapuka e $250!

Kia whai wāhi koe ki te wini, tūhono mai ā-ipurangi ka tuhituhi mai rā: wcl.govt.nz/mawhaituhi

 

To celebrate Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori 2014, Wellington City Libraries are weaving an online story, with the chance for you and your school to win some cool prizes.

Well-known author, Paora Tibble, has written the first paragraph but we need you to continue the story each day, from 21-25 July.

A paragraph (up to 200 words) will be selected, daily, from each age group, and the stories will finish on Friday afternoon, 25 July.

Age Groups are: (School) Year 1-8, and Year 9-13

Daily prizes include library bags, concession cards and book vouchers.

The prizes for overall winners include an iPad for each age group winner, plus $250 of book vouchers for the winners’ schools.

The school with the most contributors will also win $250 of book vouchers!

For your chance to win, join us online and weave your story: wcl.govt.nz/mawhaituhi

How is a book made?

Ever wondered what goes into producing a book? Lauren Oliver, author of the bestselling Delirium trilogy, explains all about it in this series of videos, from coming up with an idea to printing and promoting.

Free Writing Workshop with Mal Peet

Mal Peet, award-winning author of Tamar, Exposure, and Life: An Unexploded Diagram is in Wellington this month, and he’ll be the guest star at a free, one-off workshop at the central library. The details are:

Sunday 16 June, 1 to 4pm
Wellington Central Library
To register, email sarah@bookcouncil.org.nz

“Most of us learn to write by stealing from other writers. This event is an invitation to aspiring writers to do some serious shoplifting.” (Mal Peet)

A short post about short stories

We promise, absolutely and completely, that this is our last post about New Zealand Book Month. For this year at least. We hope you’ve read something New Zealand related this month or better yet, been to an event! If you haven’t, never fear, there’s still time (and a long weekend) to do so. Why not check out some New Zealand short stories, it will take mere minutes and the library has some great collections!

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEssential New Zealand Short Stories, edited by Owen Marshall

The contents page of this collection reads as a who’s who of New Zealand writing greats including Katherine Mansfield, Janet Frame, Patricia Grace, Joy Cowley, Maurice Gee, Frank Sargeson and many, many more. The collected works span 80 years which demonstrates the way short stories, as a genre, have changed over time (or not). In his introduction Owen Marshall says the reason short stories can be found right through New Zealand writing history is because “they form a resilient genre with its own idiosyncratic pulse of literary energy.” We have to agree! There’s a certain charming idiosyncrasy right through this collection and all the others as well.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEarthless Trees, edited by Pauline Frances

This collection features the work of several young refugees who came to New Zealand seeking security and freedom with their families. From an escape through mountains on an overloaded truck, to living through an explosion in urban Kabul, these stories touch on universal themes: survival, family, home and friends. We love that this collection gives a poignant and, at times, heartbreaking, insight into the lives of some of our refugees.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLike Wallpaper, edited by Barbara Else

The authors featured in this collection are a combination of established like David Hill or Fleur Beale and stunning newcomers like Natasha Lewis and Samantha Stanley. The settings are New Zealand homes and flats, local schools and roads, beaches, rivers, cities. There is a mixture of tone, voice, and form. Issues addressed in the stories range across aspects of peer pressure and friendship. Parents and family relationships feature as do young romance, sexuality, and death. All in all, it’s a capacious collection with several quirky stories you’re bound to love. Hopefully ponder as well.

book cover courtesy of Syndetics50 short short stories by young New Zealanders edited by Graeme Lay

Tandem Press invited New Zealanders aged 18 and under to submit a short story (no more than 500 words) for a writing competition. This collection is the 50 best entries they received. They provide a much broader overview than Earthless Trees of what being a teenager is like in New Zealand and over the course of fifty stories, the themes covered include all the joys and concerns of daily life: peer pressure, rivalry, first love, and questions of identity and belonging; of moving or subtle relationships with friends and family. These are great to read if you’re an aspiring writer yourself because they give an idea of the kind of style and content that one publishing house consider to be good.

Think you can do better? Then a list of writing competitions in New Zealand can be found here including details about the Re-Draft competition. The winners of that are published annually, several collections of which the library has here, here and here. However they don’t get a blurb of their own because they include poetry and because we promised a short post. So there you have it. Short stories are the best! They get to the point within the time of my attention span, they’re often strange and quirky and, best of all, they leave you wondering. And there we will end our very last post about New Zealand Book Month. May you now dazzle your friends and family with your knowledge of homegrown literary talent!

Happy Easter!

R n R

Writing Workshop with Fleur Beale

If you’re interested in creative writing, then read on!

The Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie is hosting an afternoon’s writing workshop for teenagers with the great Fleur Beale on Sunday the 28th of April. Places are very limited, so be in quick and email books@thechildrensbookshop.co.nz – you can also visit their Facebook page for more information (time, cost etc.).

More successful teen authors

It’s well known that it’s very hard to get your book published. Some writers slave away for years before their first success, while some fortunate and talented people get published as teens. A little while ago we did an investigation into the teen publishing phenomenon, the result being this Top 10 list.

The trend is still continuing, thanks to the success of Alexandra Adornetto (Halo), Kody Keplinger (The DUFF) and others, as are spotlighted in this YALSA article.

The article has also got some suggestions for websites for aspiring writers, so it’s well worth a read if you love writing.

Which reminds us, it’s just one month from Nanowrimo (“thirty days and nights of literary abandon”), where you get to attempt to write a novel in 30 days (while still keeping on top of NCEA).

Re-Draft 2012

Re-Draft is an annual writing competition for teenagers organised by the School for Young Writers in Christchurch, and it’s now on!

Entries close on the 30th of September, and the entry form for the competition is here. The best entries get published in the annual Re-Draft anthology (which gets named after one of the stories in the collection).

This year’s judges are Tessa Duder and James Norcliffe, who are, we are told, really looking forward to seeing what this year’s entrants have to offer.

We have some previous years’ anthologies in the library.

Reminder- Writing Class With John Marsden

This has nearly sold out; only a few places left. Hurry, hurry.

Dets: Saturday 13th August, 10-12pm, Wellington Central Library (mezzanine room, near Clarkes Cafe), $30.

To book: 04 387 3905 or childbkwgtn@xtra.co.nz

A Writing Master Class with John Marsden

Wellington City Libraries, The Children’s Bookshop and MacMillan Publishers announce

A Writing Master Class for Teenagers with John Marsden.

Best-selling Australian author and teacher John Marsden (author of the Tomorrow when the War Began series) will be presenting a writing class for young writers as a fund raiser for Christchurch.

Saturday 13th August 10am to 12pm, Wellington City Library, Victoria St. (Mezzanine Floor), for 13-18yr olds.

Cost $30 -at the request of John Marsden all proceeds will go to the Red Cross Christchurch Earthquake Appeal.

Strictly limited to the first 30 people on a first come/first served basis- to book please contact the Children’s Bookshop, Shop 26, Kilbirnie Plaza, Kilbirnie, Wellington.  

t: 04 3873905

f: 04 3873288

e: childbkwgtn@xtra.co.nz

Creative Writing Workshop

Fancy yourself as a bit of a writer?

Register now for a place at the Creative Writing Workshop, places are limited, so be quick about it.

28th July at Karori Library, 10 am – 3 pm, $40. Email juliafletcher113@hotmail.com to book. For 13-18 year olds.

Page 1 of 3