One stormy Sunday afternoon, eager writers trudged into the Queensland State Library to exercise their minds and be brightened up by the art of words.
On Sunday 16th June 2019, Kathryn Apel shared her insights into "Poetry Verses Prose: Learning how writing in verse develops writing muscle and sparks creativity." and her journey to becoming a published author.
Kathryn began writing verse novels when she found a gap in the market for engaging books for boys. They were enjoying the short sharp scripts of verse novels, yet the topics were more female oriented. So, Kathryn wrote books for boys in mind to reengage the reluctant readers.
Also, writing in verse allows words to be physically manipulated on the page as the location of the words add action to the poem and aids the flow of the narrative. Words can also be used to create a physical shape on the page to become artistic within themselves. Kathryn demonstrated how she used these within her own books "Bully on the Bus", "On Track" and "Too Many Friends".
"Words are powerful - but so is silence. White space gives your words strength." ~ Kathryn Apel.
The traditional poetic tools (e.g. onomatopoeia, rhyme, alliteration, etc.) can be incorporated into a verse novel and the author can have more flexibility in their writing, bending the traditional rules often found with poetry.
When shaping a poem, Kathryn described her process in three stages. First, she's a body builder: toning and tautening the words. Second, she's a gardener: pruning and shaping the words. Third, she's a clumsy clown: releasing the colourful balloons of relaxed fun and play throughout her work.
Then Kathryn put our writing muscles to the test! She demonstrated a range of different poetic styles, how she used them, how to write them, then gave us challenges for us to use our creativity and a lot of muscle power to write in each style. We explored Didactic Cinquians (only 11 words long!); Haikus (only 3 lines with less than 17 syllables); Solages (for a joke) and Zentangle Poems as a form of Erasure Poetry (using a pre-existing text, finding a free verse poem within, then creating zentangle designs to emphasize the poem by disguising the unused text).
The two hour workshop culminated with the exploration of how www.storybird.com can be used to inspire writing through artworks. This tool can be used by writers alike, not just the poets at heart, by utilizing the stored illustrations and writing prompts to create new inspirations.
Once the sun had set and apparel had dried, the eager writers departed smiling with sparked inspirations and more tools of the trade in their kit to exercise their ever developing writing muscles.
On behalf of all 21 poets-to-be in attendance, I would like to express appreciation to Kathryn Apel for sharing her time and knowledge with fellow authors and to BookLinks and The Queensland Writers Centre for coordinating and hosting a creative escape in which we got to further develop our professional writing skills.
For more information about Kathryn Apel and her collection of books, check out: https://katswhiskers.wordpress.com/
For more information about BookLinks for future workshops and events, explore: https://booklinks.org.au/
For more information about The Queensland Writers Centre, see: https://qldwriters.org.au/
Photography by Maria Parenti-Baldey and KRC Photography.
Author Bio of KR Clarry:
KR Clarry is an OP1 graduate of Logan and a Teacher of 14 years’ experience with a strong passion for life long learning. She has taught in State, Catholic and Independent schools as well as having roles with a University and an International Education Company delivering ICT professional development to school administrators, staff and students.
KR loves to read, write and bring stories alive through modelled and shared reading and writing experiences. She is currently working on many exciting projects.
When she isn’t lost in a world of creative imagination, KR likes to do ballroom dancing, bush walking and photography, as well as volunteering for a range of different community charities.
KR’s ultimate goal is to make a positive difference in the world and works to inspire children to aim high to be the best versions of themselves that they can be.
Photograph by Special Memories Photography.
Blog coordinator: Lucy McGinley
We had a fun session playing with Story Sparkers created by Yvonne Mes. Yvonne was inspired by Rory's Story Cubes and decided to make some especially designed for writing for children. You can read Yvonne's blog about her Story Sparkers here.
It was fascinating how, with the same Sparks eg bear, fish, island, challenge authority, within 10 minutes we had a room full of different stories, some of them finished and read to rapturous applause!
Here are some of the 10 minute stories written by our members that day.
East bank of the river:
Saturday morning, Bryon the bear woke with a dream. Winter was on its way and he needed the perfect hibernation hut. The island in the middle of the river was the perfect spot. He had logs, mud, and wifi all ready to go.
West bank of the river:
Saturday morning, Florence the fish woke with a daring idea. The island in the middle of the river was the perfect place for her 15 metre diving board. Florence could do a double half-pike backwards somersault and not even make a splash. She had logs, mud and sunscreen all ready to go.
To the island they went.
On the east side of the island, the bear started to build.
On the west side of the island the fish started to build.
‘This is going to be the most comfortable hibernation spot ever,’ said Byron while he worked.
‘This is going to be the tallest diving board in the country,’ said Florence while she worked.
They were both so buy building, hammering, drilling and designing, that they didn’t even notice one another.
They didn’t even notice Charles the cat from the City Council, standing right between them, holding a very legal looking piece of paper and shaking his head.
‘Do you have a permit?’ he asked the bear and the fish.
‘I don’t need a permit to hibernate,’ said Byron.
‘I don’t need a permit to dive,’ said Florence.
‘Unless you have a permit to build,’ said Charles, ‘I’m afraid you are going to have to tear all of this down.’
Florence looked at Byron.
Byron looked at Florence.
‘Did you know?’ said Byron… ‘That cats can’t swim?’ said Florence.
The island in the middle of the river, is now home to one Olympic quality diving board, a sleeping bear – and excellent wifi.
JM Wisbey writes funny things for children, and for her own amusement. She doesn’t want to die one day with all of these ideas still stuck in her head.
Bear was sick of living on the island.
"I am destined to be on Broadway," he declared, "not stuck here with only you for company. Fish: do something amazing."
Fish leapt out of the water—as high as Bear's knees.
"Meh," said Bear. "That wasn't very high. Nobody would want to see 'Bear and the not-very-high-jumping fish' on Broadway."
Fish leapt out of the water again—as high as Bear's chest.
"Better," said Bear, "but still not very impressive. Nobody would want to see 'Bear and the somewhat-high-jumping-fish' on Broadway."
Fish leapt out of the water again—as high as Bear's nose.
And before Fish could fall back into the water, Bear opened his mouth and swallowed Fish whole.
"It was a silly idea to take a fish on Broadway, anyway," he said.
Annaleise Byrd is an aspiring children's author who talks all things bookish at The Byrd and the Bookworms.
Science Report Following the Crash of Bear’s Boat on Fish’s Island
Prior Knowledge: Bear is an idiot. Who else would sail their boat directly into a storm?
Aim: Build an aeroplane to fly Bear off island.
Prediction: Bear will weigh us down unless we can create enough lift.
Observation: Searched the island and could not locate pieces to make an engine or wings. Bear laughed at me.
Result: Unsuccessful. Wrong pieces.
Aim: Build a raft using bamboo and parts from the wreckage from Bear’s boat.
Prediction: Bear will weigh us down and probably sink the raft.
Observation: Located bamboo and a sharp rock. Successfully cut down bamboo into raft size pieces. Used rope from the boat to tie the bamboo together. Raft looks good.
Result: Unsuccessful. Bear too heavy.
Prediction: I am a fish. I can swim. I will get off the island in no time.
Observation: Bear cried when I said my plan, but then he walked with me to the shore.
Result: Unsuccessful. Couldn’t leave Bear behind.
Sophia is a multi-tasking ninja by day and an author in the early hours of the morning. She has one published book (so far) with 3 more on the way in 2019.
Follow Sophia on Instagram @sophia_evans_author or Facebook @SophiaEvansAuthor for updates, written words and random thoughts.
Illustrations by Justine Lawson
Justine wrote and illustrated her first picture books for Children's Book Week when she was in primary school, and she's been writing and drawing ever since. Justine lives in Brisbane near a lovely creek where you will often find her communing with nature. Justine's picture books express her keen observation of life and her delight in understanding who and what and where and when and how and why! While her creative interests stretch far and wide, melding words and pictures into a story has Justine captivated.
Blog coordinator: Lucy McGinley
Meet the Publishers at Book Links StoryArts Brisbane Festival 19-20 October 2019.
Join TOP publishers, authors and illustrators. Pitch to a publisher or a literary agent. Learn how to write and illustrate a children’s book. #BSAB19 festival presented by Book Links Brisbane.
As an excited committee member, I’m thrilled to announce a two-day festival for writers, illustrators, teachers and librarians that promotes excellence in children’s literature.
#BSAB19 offers quality, affordable workshops and master classes and the opportunity to obtain face-face feedback on pitches, manuscripts and portfolios. Learn from key panel sessions with editors, agents, authors and illustrators including focused sessions with book creators.
Book Links offers a Mentorship to Book Links members with the well-renowned Robyn Sheahan Bright… Applicants are invited to submit a synopsis and the first two chapters or first 6000 words. $10 Only
Pitch to a Publisher: Saturday 15 mins OR Sunday 20 mins
BOOK one-on-one feedback with publishers Clair Hume (Affirm Press), Susannah Chambers (Allen & Unwin), Rowena Beresford (Yellow Brick Books), Emily Lighezzolo (Wombat Books, Rhiza Edge), Sarah Davis (Walker Books) or literary agent, Justine Barker (Mayfair Literary Agency)
For feedback sessions, you MUST be booked into either Saturday OR Sunday program.
All pitch sessions are filling up fast! I’m already booked in! I can’t wait to pitch to my chosen publisher.
Go to the page … Scroll down to choose your publisher or agent …
Saturday 19 October Program
Come to Saturday’s program, consisting of panel sessions with creators, publishers and agents and choices of sessions with authors and illustrators.
Feedback sessions for writers and illustrators can be booked separately.
MEET publishers Allen & Unwin, Affirm Books, Wombat Books, Yellow Brick Books and MORE.
MEET authors: Lisa Shanahan, Frané Lessac, Mark Greenwood
MEET illustrators: Sarah Davis and Heath McKenzie
Check the FULL program here on the Book Links website. The registration desk opens at 8am outside Auditorium 2, Brisbane State Library. Tickets include morning tea and lunch on Saturday only.
$95 members (Book Links and CBCA Qld Branch members)
Sunday 20 October MASTER CLASSES
Sarah Davis – Masterclass – Sunday
StoryArts Brisbane presents Sarah Davis ‘Illustration Toolbox’: An intensive day designed to give you the essential tools for illustration; Beginning with a shared prompt, participants will work individually to create a finished illustration and in the process learn how to brainstorm and develop a concept, design a character, and explore basic principles of form, colour, line, composition and personal style. $60 – $90
Lisa Shanahan – Masterclass – Sunday SAB19 10:00 am
As part of StoryArts Brisbane we are offering this masterclass in the art and craft of writing chapter books and middle grade fiction with award winning author Lisa Shanahan.
Fierce, Funny, True: The Art of Writing for Children
Where do captivating ideas for children’s books really come from?
What does it take to write a novel that lingers and lasts?
Join award-winning writer Lisa Shanahan for an engaging and interactive writing workshop. Explore the essential narrative requirements for writing junior novels and middle grade fiction, including the key differences. Discover how to create convincing, believable characters and how to develop a strong, dynamic voice. Study the important fundamentals of structure, setting, plot, dialogue and emotional resonance.
Participant requirements: Bring your favourite children’s book
Limited spaces available. $60 – $90
Full day festival with panels and break-out sessions.
State Library of Queensland
South Brisbane, Qld 4101
Contact Details: Jenny Stubbs email@example.com MOB 0409 266 78
Karen Tyrrell Author
Karen Tyrrell author won 3 awards, 4 grants, 3 sponsorships and a mentorship from Society of Editors QLD.. Karen’s kids books, Bailey Beats the Blah and STOP the Bully, are endorsed by Kids Helpline. Harry Helps Grandpa Remember won a RADF grant and is endorsed by Alzheimer’s Australia.. Recently, Karen won an Arts Queensland grant for picture book, Ready Set Discover Logan.
Blog coordinator: Lucy McGinley