CategoryWords

The Written Word, Writers, Fiction and Non-Fiction.

Writing Poetry: Tips and Tricks

Everyone can write a poem – but it takes craft and practice to make a good one. If you’ve never written a poem, or want to revisit the form after dabbling in it in school, there are a few tips worth trying to help you begin (again) on a solid foundation. Here they are…

Read More

Expand your references and read a lot of poetry. This will help you understand the craft better and figure out the styles and structures you like (or dislike). Check out the Poetry Foundation’s website for some of the world’s best poems.

 

Write

The only way you can improve is by practicing and developing your portfolio. If possible, make a habit out of writing every day. Experiment by following new forms or sticking to reliable favourites. You can also take notes throughout the day of inspirations and observations on a journal.

 

Be Intentional

Before you start a poem, think about what you want to say. What message, theme or idea do you want to get across? Why do you want to write about it? With clear intentions, your poem will have a direction for the readers/audiences to navigate.

 

Count on All Senses

Rather than simply telling a message as is, use imagery and action. Besides sight, leverage other senses (smell, touch, taste, hearing) to create a more vivid reading experience.

 

Get into the Rhythm

In poetry, the rhythm and pacing are as important as the words. It doesn’t necessarily have to rhyme, but every good poetry has an identifiable flow and/or musicality. To enhance the poem’s rhythm, try using active sentences (“I hold the pillow” rather than “the pillow is held by me”) or breaking the passage in different ways.

 

Team Up

It’s time to take your poetry out to the world. Join a poetry community, watch readings, participate in workshops, and get some feedback on your work from your peers. Afterwards, you can go back to writing with redrafts and revisions.

Creating and Publishing Your Digital Stories: Tools to Help

It’s 2018 – while Tim Winton might argue that books are the supreme form of writing, there is indeed a movement away from the conventional paperback to more interactive media that give the readers a fresher, more involved paper-free experience. Here are a few open source tools that you can try to make your own story book – no publishers or agents needed.

Twine

“Twine is an open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories.

You don’t need to write any code to create a simple story with Twine, but you can extend your stories with variables, conditional logic, images, CSS, and JavaScript when you’re ready.

Twine publishes directly to HTML, so you can post your work nearly anywhere. Anything you create with it is completely free to use any way you like, including for commercial purposes.”

 

Squiffy

“Squiffy is a tool for creating interactive fiction – that is, multiple choice games that focus on text and story. Players navigate through the game or story by clicking links. Sometimes these kinds of games or stories are known as gamebooks.

Squiffy is free and open source. It creates HTML and JavaScript, so you can upload it to your own website, or you can upload your games for free to textadventures.co.uk. You can also turn your game into an app using PhoneGap.”

 

Quest

“Quest lets you make interactive story games. Text adventure games like Zork and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Gamebooks like the Choose Your Own Adventure and Fighting Fantasy books. You don’t need to know how to program. All you need is a story to tell. Your game can be played anywhere. In a web browser, downloaded to a PC, or turned into an app.”

 

Storybird

“Storybird lets anyone make visual stories in seconds. We curate artwork from illustrators and animators around the world and inspire writers of any age to turn those images into fresh stories.”

Ways to Self-Publishing

Gatekeeping has become less and less prominent these days, with everyone being able to create and share content with a touch of fingertip. It’s the same with publishing. For aspiring writers, self-publishing has become more and more popular in the recent years – what’s more enticing than the idea that you can make your own story book and have it in stores for others to read?

If you’re decided, there are a few paths towards self-publishing that you can consider.

DIY

The first is to organise everything yourself – copyediting, typesetting, formatting, designing, printing and marketing. This method gives you the most freedom, creative- and budget-wise. You can also reap the largest proceedings from the sales, since you don’t have to share the profits with anybody else (apart from any distribution-related costs, such as online retailer fee for e-books and print on demand for paperbacks).

 

Assemble a Team

You can hire external help for assistance in regards to various aspects of your book. This might include editors, proofreaders, illustrators, designers and publicists. This will lift off some tasks from you, but it can also be a lot pricier.

 

Hire a Publisher

There are a lot of hybrid publishing companies that you can hire to take on the “publisher” role for you – that is, they will take care of the design, formatting, editing/proofreading, copyright filing, marketing and more. You will have full ownership of your work, although in some cases the profits might be shared.

 

Which path are you most interested in?

Writing Children’s Book: Tips and Tricks

Writing children’s book might be a creative pursuit that you’ve never considered before, but why not try? Children are avid readers, and the market is thriving – in the US and the UK, the growth of children’s book industry outstripped that of the overall print book market, with ever-increasing sales in 2017. Personalised children’s book is also on the rise, with more and more companies offering the customisable service/item.

Interested in joining the industry? Here are a few tips from established writers on creating a children’s storybook.

 

Research the Category

What kind of book do you want to publish? Children’s book could be divided into six categories:

Source: Kindlepreneur

After you’ve decided on the category, it is a great idea to look into two demographics: the child readers, and their guardians who will purchase and read the book with the children. “Your book will have to please parents and teachers just as much as children,” says author Eevi Jones. She recommends spending time with parents and teachers to get to know the buying audiences better. Don’t forget to read up on other books in the same category as yours to find out the popular themes, vocabulary and layouts.

 

Make Attractive Character(s)

This applies to all writing in general, but it’s especially important in children’s books to have appealing, multi-dimensional characters. “If you’re bored with a character, your reader will be, too,” say Lisa Rojany Buccieri and Peter Economy, co-authors of Writing Children’s Books For Dummies. Make sure your characters are relatable to kids and serve a purpose to the story’s development and/or message.

 

Keep It Simple

Keep sentences short and easy to follow,” says Alan Durant, author of Daddy, I Can’t Sleep. In writing your story, Durant recommends a focus on rhythm or repetition to “make the language sing… Remember you are writing for an older reader (a parent or sibling perhaps) and a child listener.”

 

How will you write your children’s book?

Event/Exhibition: Brian Reed: We Need to Talk About S-Town

Can’t get enough of podcast? This event is for you.

Sydney Opera House presents Brian Reed: We Need to Talk About S-Town, a talk with the senior producer of This American Life and the host and co-creator of investigative journalism series S-Town. Reed will participate in an in-depth conversation about the groundbreaking podcast and its consequences. Attendees will also have a chance to ask questions in the Q&A session.

Tickets start from $50.90. For more information, visit Sydney Opera House’s website.

Saturday, July 29, 7.30pm | Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney

Event/Exhibition: Bankstown Poetry Slam featuring Rupi Kaur

As a part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival, Bankstown Poetry Slam’s May edition is bringing the internationally acclaimed poet Rupi Kaur to the show.

The event, which also features Bankstown local Iman Etri, is also opening a callout for performances and youth open mics. Registration for attendance and performance closes on May 5.

For more information, head to the event’s Facebook page or email info@bankstownpoetryslam.com.

Wednesday, May 24, 6.45-9pm | Bankstown Arts Centre, 5 Olympic Parade, Bankstown