Tellin’ stories – Storylines 2012

CoverWell, the weather wasn’t warm, but the atmosphere inside the Storylines 2012 Free Family Day at Cathedral College last Sunday was very toasty. Numbers weren’t as high as usual, but those families who did make it were very enthusiastic. There was a wide range of New Zealand’s best children’s writers to listen to and many great tips for good reads.

Sandy Mackay, a Dunedin writer, has just released the second in a series, Mr Tripp Goes for a Skate a fun collection of three stories for junior primary readers.

Sarona Aiono-Iosefa, a Christchurch-based writer read us her wonderful Blackcurrant Jam short story (published in Out of the Deep) an anthology of New Zealand and Pacific stories published to celebrate 2007 Children’s Book Day and the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen.

Helen McKinlay read her hilarious Grandma’s Kiwi Christmas and told us to look out for her contributions to the Tuesday Poem, an international poetry blog based in New Zealand.

Melanie Drewery was visiting from Golden Bay and shared Fishing Fame, one of her younger fiction books based on Covermemories of growing up in the area and spotting sharks at Pooh Point where the run off from the sewage and freezing works was sure to attract these dangerous beasties and provide lots of excitement for sharp eyed children.

Finally, Tim Tipene from Henderson, shared his thoughts on the power of books to transform children’s lives with healthy messages. He is the author and facilitator of the community programme Warrior Kids which aims to help adolescents and children learn powerful and positive life skills.

Overall, the authors shared lots of great tips for budding writers. Many of them said they wrote about their own experience, but with a lot of exaggeration! The audience was advised to:

  • stick close to home,
  • reflect their own culture
  • show lots of persistence because rejection letters were by far the norm from publishers in these days of tightening budgets.

Christchurch City Libraries has lots of advice and helpful links for aspiring writers on its writing page.

And the publishers’ guide for children’s writers and illustrators is now online.