Art in Writing

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Before you learned to write, you drew pictures to tell stories. And telling stories through art is every bit as valid as the words you put on a page.

This month, we’re trying our hands at using different arts to complement our writing and enhance your readers’ experience.

Now, I can guess what you’re thinking (because I would totally have thought that too!) – but I want to be a writer, not an artist!

Well, I’m sorry to tell you, but if you’re a writer, you ARE an artist!

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A Web of Shooting Stars

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Written by Emily Wu, age 13

I reach out to slam my laptop shut, but something stops me. The wall in front of me, plastered with fan art and letters and prints, fades. The thoughts are waiting in the shadows to reel me in. it won’t catch me like a net. It will trap me like a web. But I can’t stop reading the words. This author is sooo overhyped. They spin over and over again on the glowing screen; until they set themselves on fire and bore into my mind, setting my anxiety aflame. They brand me. They burn. I tell myself I love this life, the fame, the money. It’s all I’ve ever dreamed of. Overrated. Impostor. They burn. I am a star, a star, a celebrity.

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The Song of Lewis Carmichael

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by Sofie Laguna, Illustrated by Marc McBride 

“Matthew stood on the snowy peak and stared out at the world spread before him. Every picture in his books had been limited by the size of the page, contained within frames. Here, there was no frame. Here, the picture didn’t end. Beyond those icy plains, the sea, and beyond the sea, a land that floated on the ice, drifting northwards. Matthew put the binoculars to his eyes and saw valleys and cliffs and rivers all made of snow. Everywhere was white.”

Matthew has dreamed and read and thought about the North Pole for as long as he can remember. And he has done it secretly. It is a place that cannot be tarnished by the world in which he lives – a world in which he struggles to find answers and make friends, while everything seems to come easily to other children.

But one day, a crow called Lewis Carmichael lands at Matthew’s window – a crow who believes in Matthew in the most simple and ordinary ways. Soon, the unexpected voyage of a lifetime begins – and it will change everything…

An unforgettable adventure story from award-winning children’s book author Sofie Laguna, with enchanting illustrations by Marc McBride.

Lakesedge

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(World at the Lake’s Edge #1)

by Lyndall Clipstone 

A lush gothic fantasy about monsters and magic, set on the banks of a cursed lake. Perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Brigid Kemmerer.

There are monsters in the world.

When Violeta Graceling arrives at haunted Lakesedge estate, she expects to find a monster. She knows the terrifying rumors about Rowan Sylvanan, who drowned his entire family when he was a boy. But neither the estate nor the monster are what they seem.

There are monsters in the woods.

As Leta falls for Rowan, she discovers he is bound to the Lord Under, the sinister death god lurking in the black waters of the lake. A creature to whom Leta is inexplicably drawn…

There’s a monster in the shadows, and now it knows my name.

Now, to save Rowan—and herself—Leta must confront the darkness in her past, including unraveling the mystery of her connection to the Lord Under.

Barkly Mansion and the Weirdest Guest

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by Melissa Keil

An adorably funny series about a slightly odd house that’s turned upside down when a stranger comes to stay. 
 
There is absolutely NOTHING weird about Cookie, Kyle, Fizzy and Lady Delilah. Except that they live in a mansion — and they’re dogs. 
 
There’s NOTHING weird about their home on Sullivan Street either – until the day a gorilla named Edmund comes to live with them.
 
Then things do start to get a little weird … 

Metaphors

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We’re talking about metaphors this month; what they are, how to write good ones and how they can enrich your writing.

So, what’s a metaphor?

metaphor is a tool writers can use to paint a picture with their words. When you use a metaphor, you describe an object or action in a way that isn’t literally true; instead, you describe your object or action as if it was something else.

For example:

If I write “I feel sad today”, you’ll understand. Ok, I’m sad. 🙁 But, if I write “my sadness is an elephant sitting on my chest”, that’s a metaphor. You see, the sadness isn’t literally sitting on my chest me, but when I say it is, you can feel how heavy it weighs on me, can’t you? So now you, as my reader, feel what I feel. 

That’s the power of a metaphor!

Let’s look at some more examples.

I could write, “Everyone was happy to see you.” And I’d mean it too – you’re awesome! But if I write, “When you walked in, the room lit up!” it tells you so much more. You might imagine lightbulbs turning on, or a bright light flooding the room just because you walked into it. Even though it means the same thing, it gives the sentence a whole new meaning.

Here is a great example from Matilda by Roald Dahl:

“The parents looked upon Matilda in particular as nothing more than a scab. A scab is something you have to put up with until the time comes when you pick it off and flick it away.”

Ouch! Poor Matilda. Though he could have just written, “Matilda’s parents didn’t like her and wanted to get rid of her”, how much better is describing her as a scab?

Metaphors in Stars

We humans have always had a fascination with the stars. We have learned to read them and navigate by them. We see shapes in them and have told stories about them for thousands of years. We can see them, but we can never touch them; hold them. So, they are a mystery to us. And I think that’s why some of the most powerful metaphors are about stars. Let’s look at a few:

‘It’s written in the stars.” – people use this to describe a feeling of destiny or fate – that something was meant to happen. The stars are as old as time, and if something was written there for as long as there have been stars, it was meant to happen. Imagine that – isn’t is a beautiful idea?

‘My favourite singer is a star!’

Literal stars, the ones in the night sky, shine brightly. Stars are far out of reach. When you describe your favourite celebrity as a ‘star’, you conjure up an image of something that you see up high, something that shines brightly, something out of your reach. It is a way of showing how much you admire them without having to say, “I admire them so much!”. 

Meaningful metaphors

A great metaphor is one thing, but a great story is told with meaningful metaphors. 

What do I mean by that?

Let’s say I’m writing a story about a girl who writes comic books. One day, she’s walking to the comic book store when she sees a bird trapped under a heavy crate. She heaves the crate off and sets the bird free!

Now, I could write that she used “elephant strength to lift the crate”, which would create a powerful image for your reader. Elephants are super strong! But we already know that this girl loves comic books. A better metaphor, a meaningful metaphor, would be “She used Superman strength to lift the crate, freeing the bird.”

By using parts of your story to write meaningful metaphors, your readers won’t be pulled out of the story with strange images that don’t quite fit. 

Click here to see this month’s story contest!