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Amra Pajalic has a great new newsletter for young writers.

Amra is a novelist, short story writer, and conducts writing workshops. She has been a writer in residence in high schools funded by Arts Victoria in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Her debut novel The Good Daughter won the 2009 Melbourne Prize for Literature’s Civic Choice Award. Her website is www.amrapajalic.com

I’ve had the privilege of running creative writing workshops for young people through libraries and high schools where I meet so many passionate and interested young writers. These workshops usually end up being a lot of fun for me where I get the chance to talk about my favourite topics: reading and writing with other like-minded individuals.

They are also a revelation for my students. They don’t usually have the chance to explore their passions with others and I love seeing the excitement in their eyes as they look around the table and recognise people like them.

These students remind me so much of me when I was young. I was a life-long nerd, with my nose always stuck in a book, and had no friends who loved reading as much as I did.  It was only when I graduated from high school and found a writing course that I first discovered people like me.

Doing these workshops also underlined the fact that young people don’t have to wait to seek publication. These days there are so many opportunities for young people to seek publication or get involved with the written word, but in most cases they don’t know where or how.

Teachers and educators are also at a loss about steering their students toward these opportunities. At one of my last workshops a girl named Rachel came to the last session when her teacher told her about it, and was so disappointed about missing out.

So I decided I’d do something about it. I’ve developed the Young Writers’ Newsletter. Young writers and teachers can subscribe to the newsletter and find out information and opportunities for young people including industry news, publishing opportunities and resources. I will also include some writing tips in each issue.

You can view the newsletter here. If you like the newsletter don’t forget to subscribe so you receive the next one. I will be sending them out a few times a year as I find relevant opportunities and news.


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Are you ever stuck for story ideas?

Here are where some of my best story ideas come from:

  • Things that have really happened to me or to people I know;
  • Memories of people, events or places;
  • People I see on trains and buses;
  • Conversations I overhear;
  • Newspaper articles;
  • Other books;
  • A picture in a magazine;
  • A place I have been to;
  • A smell, sound or feeling;
  • A problem or dilemma being faced by someone I know;
  • Playing with two words that don’t quite go together eg Flower attack;
  • Using the last line of a story I have written as the first line in a new piece of writing;
  • Thinking of a secret that someone might want to keep and what would happen if it was discovered
  • Imagining getting a letter or email from someone I have never met

If I’m still stuck, I think of a character/name and match them with an action to try and get me started.

For example:

  • Ashley fell
  • Ashley twisted
  • Ashley tumbled…
  • Ashley rocketed…
  • Ashley flew…
  • Ashley leapt…
  • Ashley shook…
  • Ashley dropped…
  • Ashley shivered…
  • Ashley bobbed…
  • Ashley soared…
  • Ashley is…

Then I ask myself:

  1. Why did this action happen to Ashley?
  2. Where did this action happen?
  3. When did this action happen?
  4. How did this action happen?
  5. What happens next?

I hope these suggestions help you to come up with great ideas for stories.

Don’t forget our ‘Belonging’ writing competition.

You could win great books by Wendy Orr and Amra Pajalic

Happy writing:)

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