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Archive for the ‘Teen Fiction’ Category

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At school this week one of my students told me she was up to 35,000 words of her NaNoWriMo project…do the rest of us have any excuse if a fourteen year old can achieve such a result on top of school work, assessment and end of year co-curricula activities?

My student is aiming for 50,000 words and beyond. This is her first novel. And my excuse for not writing? I’m too busy…

What’s your excuse?

 

 

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imageSedgwick has written a story in four parts that can be read in any order, so the author says…one section written in verse, one about witch hunts, another set in a mental asylum in the nineteen hundreds and one set in the future.  How does it pull together as a cohesive whole, is the question. And the answer?

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Okay, I admit I don’t write fantasy…but I defy you not to love this book!!!

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And the reason I set this challenge??? Well, I’m trying to write a how-to-write book. I even have a title, ‘a (non) writing instruction book for young writers’….


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Stay tuned for my first chapter…but how I compete with ‘Wonderbook’ I’ve no idea…

 

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Part of my role as teacher is to mentor young writers and illustrators. My young friends, Therese and Brianna, share their work with us. The question: who gets the chocolate frog for best illustration?  Let the voting begin….

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gilly

The teacher begins:

Today, class, you’re going to write a story. Not just any story. A good story. And in order to write a good story you must follow the rules of story writing:

A story?

1.  You must be disciplined.

…I’m not…

2.  You must work hard.

…I don’t…

3.  You must be organised.

…I never have been…

4. You have twenty minutes to write your stories, starting now.

…and so I stare out the window…

I’m a writer…I live in my head…I dream…I  think of somewhere else, anywhere else, where the world makes a kind of sense that it never does in this room…this room with its four walls and it rows of desks and a clock that ticks so slowly that it has to gather its energy to to continue its tedious journey around and around in ever meaningless circles…and I wonder who came up with such a punishing existence and called it…learning…in this classroom where we all stare out the window……dreaming…I close my eyes and begin to write.

Chapter One

…once upon a time…

 

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I dare you not to be inspired by my young friend, Briana’s, story…what do her illustrations suggest…

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My mind is racing….who is the girl…what are her motivations…what is her journey….

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Give her some friends and a setting…and suddenly I have a plot for a story…

I didn’t expect it and I didn’t ask for it…but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt, inspiration comes when I least expect it.

Who is the girl and how will her story unfold…

 

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soldier for web
soldier for web

Ideas for stories are all around us. In my local newspaper today is a story about a little known role of Australian soldiers in WW1.

It made me think about our recently released middle grade novel, Dirt Busters, and where our inspiration came from – although my co-author and I disagree about whose idea it actually was – to save fights I’ll use the words ‘we’ and ‘ours’ – but the more I think about it the more I realise our idea grew – as ideas do – like topsy.

 

medal for web

We found an article and we liked the idea of an old medal and we already had the setting – a development site – and an old professor turned up and we found him a shack to live in and we started to ask questions like what was the professor doing down the coast in an old shack and – boys being boys – our characters, Cracker, Trann and Bone had to follow him to see what he was up to…and our girl character, Gilly, being Gilly, had to have plans of her own and so a billy cart race was born with the race taking place – yep, you guessed it – at the development site.

As ideas go, it’s turned out to be a good one as so far the response to our novel has been great and we keep getting asked when is our next book being released.

And here’s the article that inspired it:

Moruya Examiner, 23 August, 1919:

On Friday night last Pte, Frank Stewart was the recipient of the usual Shire address and a presentation from the Bay to honor him as a returned Australian soldier. The occasion was rather unique, in as much as the ceremony too place during the interval of a picture show. To this entertainment about 50 of Private Stewart’s friends and relatives from the Aboriginal Reserve had been invited. The presentation was made y Mr D F Mackay and was received by much acclamation and to the accompaniment of the indispensable leaf strains of music…

(Please note, the aborigine pictured in this blog post is not Frank Stewart…)

 

 

 

 

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