Posts by Kayla

Balance by Ashley G.

Posted by on Jan 28, 2015 in Feature | 0 comments

This post was written by student blogger Ashley G.

If you want to become an author, I believe every inspiring author should know this: the balance between dialogue and details.

I know from experience that after a while your story starts to get boring. It’s mainly from no inspiration, but mostly by having too much dialogue or too many details. Too much dialogue could lead to confusion by having too little details. Before you know it, your whole book is filled with dialogue and no detail. Mainly, it’s turned into a movie and a book is not a movie. You and your reader will be confused and you don’t want that.

Also, make sure when you do dialogue make it sound natural like how you would talk every day. Add a few common relaxed pronunciation words or contractions like: wanna, gotta, whatcha, you’re, y’all and ain’t. It’ll make it flow instead of stiff and proper. Stiff and proper is not what you want all the time. It’s okay to change up your writing style from time to time. Make it feel like you’re talking to your friends and family. Make it seem like that person is actually alive instead of a robot.

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For the young who want to… by Erin W.

Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in Feature | 0 comments

This post was written by AYWI student blogger Erin.

My world literature class recently wrapped up our Poetry Out Loud competition, a local level of a national poetry recitation competition.  The poem that one of my best friends chose is “For the young who want to” by Marge Piercy.  The first time I heard her recite this poem, I laughed, amazed, because this piece spoke to something deep inside of me.  In a nutshell, “For the young who want to” is a sympathetic piece, deftly recounting an aspiring writer’s experiences.  And so many of these experiences that Piercy wrote about, well, they could have been written for me, about my life, except that I’m still stuck in the “beforehand” of her poem, striving to be published.

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Top Five Books of 2014 by Ashley G.

Posted by on Dec 23, 2014 in Other Writings | 0 comments

Today, AYWI student blogger Ashley shares her top five reads of 2014 in no particular order!

These are the top five that I recommend to read for 2015.

ASHFALL by Mike Mullin

An apocalypse. Super volcano. Ash. Snow. Disaster. Alex has to deal with a volcano erupting and having to get to his parents and sister who are only 3 hours away in another state, but with ash and obstacles all around him it takes months. Along the way he meets Darla, a girl with a farm to attend and mother to care for. The super volcano blacks out the world. Ash covers everything. It’s a grey world. The erupting volcano shut down electricity. Alex and the whole world have to convert to the olden days where there was no electricity to survive. Darla and Alex have to deal with people trying to kill them and a group called FEMA. Though along the way, Alex meets people that help him. For the months they travel, danger is their newfound friend.

ELEANOR AND PARK by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor is a red haired, curvy girl who wears weird clothes, and Park is Korean with comics to read and music to listen to. They may have been mean in the beginning but over the months they gradually become friends and eventually a couple. To say the least, Eleanor isn’t perfect. Her mother deals with abuse. Her stepdad wants her in the worst way possible. She has bullies at school and siblings who have to deal with their stepfather and mother. Park has been different since birth. He never really hung with the popular kids but is considered one. He reads comics. Father disappointed but mother happy and proud. Eleanor and Park make a dangerous couple. But somehow make it work until they no longer can. It’s a beautifully heartbroken story. It’s real.

SHADOW SOCIETY by Marie Rutkoski

She doesn’t remember her past. Afraid of fire. She has gone from foster home to foster home. But one school day, Darcy meets Conn, a new guy at school. In a few weeks he builds Darcy’s trust only for that to shatter when he arrests her. Waking from being drugged, she find she’s from a different dimension. Conn was only there to bring her in. She’s considered dangerous in the other dimension. She’s a Shade. She doesn’t understand who these “cops” are that interrogate her about why she was in the other Chicago (the normal Chicago). But one thing Darcy knows is that for her to go home she has to spy on her own species to see if they may be planning a terrorist attack on the Other Chicago. She has to report to Conn if she finds anything on the attack. Along the way she wants to know her past. She wants to know who she was before she was found outside a firefighter building. She’ll do anything to get it. And that may mean that she has to trust Conn again.

HEREAFTER by Tara Hudson

On her birthday, she died. For a century, she walks the earth, having the same nightmare and waking on top of the same grave. One night changes everything. A boy drives off a bridge. It’s the same bridge that Amelia jumped off from (or so she thinks). She doesn’t want him to die like her so she tries to save him only she can’t touch him. But then he opens his eyes to see her. For seconds they look at each other. Amelia is surprised to know that this boy can see her. He can exactly see her. Surprised, she yells at him to swim, and he does. Days later he meets her again. Immediately, they connect. During their time together, a ghost tries to stop Amelia from knowing her past. But Amelia and Josh will do anything to find out who she is and end the ghost that haunts her.

GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers

Ismae has a scar of poison on her back that shows what the Hebrew witch did when her mom wanted to cast of her out. Fourteen years old she was arranged to a man but she escaped. Three years later she is trained to kill by Death himself. Now she’s trained as a deadly machine to kill only by Death wishes. One assignment changes everything. She has to deal with Gavriel Duval, a bastard from a King who died. His fourteen year old sister now rules the country, Brittany. Ismae and Gavriel now have to deal with a situation which involves another kingdom, many lives on the line, an old bachelor, his sister, a young bachelor, Duval’s mother and brother, and many more. It’s a mystery that needs to be solved before the coronation for Duval’s sister.

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In Defense of Fanfiction

Posted by on Dec 18, 2014 in Other Writings | 0 comments

For those who don’t know, “fanfiction” (“fanfic” or “fic” for short) is essentially any fiction based on an existing work. People write fanfic for pretty much any show, book, movie, play, etc. you can think of, and they write it for any number of reasons. There are even entire sites that exist solely to provide a platform for people to post and share their fanfic.

Because fanfic is based off of copyrighted material, some people find it distasteful. While I don’t want to get into the whole debate here, I will say I’m firmly on the side of fanfic being awesome (assuming no one tries to make money off it).

Today, though, I want to discuss some of the writerly benefits of writing fanfic, and encourage all of you to try it!

You Don’t Have to Build the Playground Yourself

One of the hardest parts of starting a new story is that you have to create everything from the ground up. What’s the world like? Who are the characters? What are they like? Are there dragons? How do the dragons affect the political situation? DO THEY BREATHE FIRE? Etc. There are a million questions to answer before you get to play in your world and actually write the stories happening there.

With fanfic, all that work is done for you. The world and characters already exist. (The original material is called the canon, by the way.) You can jump in and play. Which leads me to point number two!

Exercise Your Imagination

Perhaps my favorite thing about fanfic is that people take the original material and mold it however they choose. You can move your characters to the wild west or outer space. You can explore a relationship between two characters who rarely interact. You can start a zombie apocalypse and see what happens! The possibilities are literally endless.

It can be incredibly freeing to take characters whom you already love and see how they react in different situations. It also encourages some intense critical thinking. It forces you to think deeply about these characters. You have to take what you know about them and extrapolate from there. I find it fascinating to see fanfic authors change characters in significant ways, but maintain their essence. It’s a terribly difficult trick to pull off, but wondrous when it works.

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Updates and Announcements!

Posted by on Dec 12, 2014 in Feature, Newsletters | 0 comments

We’ve got a lot going on here at AYWI, and we always want to keep you all in the loop! So below you’ll find some updates on ongoing projects and announcement of new endeavors!


Reading critically is one of the most important skills for writers, but it’s often neglected. In our book club, we’ll discuss why a book succeeds or not. We’ll analyze the techniques used in crafting the story. We’ll break down narrative structure, character development, exploration of themes, worldbuilding, and so much more.

Our first book is WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart.

Our first meeting will be Saturday, January 17, 2015. Location TBD.

Please RSVP by emailing


We are so proud to announce our new partnership with Agnes Scott College. Agnes Scott has been instrumental in AYWI’s programs in the past, particularly in providing a physical home for our summer writing programs.

We’re excited to expand the relationship between our organizations.

For instance, we’re currently looking into ways to participate in Agnes Scott’s 44th Annual Writers’ Festival next year. We’ll be sure to update you on our participation as we have more information.

LIT! UPDATE: The submission period for our “Nostalgia” issue has ended. Thank you to all who submitted. Our staff is busy reading your work, and we cannot wait to publish each of your wonderful pieces.

The issue, which will be our first all-poetry issue, will go live on New Years’ Day!


Our second annual NaNoWriMo seminar was a success! Every week, our students met to discuss their progress, troubleshoot problems from plotting to researching, and, of course, to WRITE!

Each of the students worked diligently toward his or her writing goals for the month. And had a lot of fun while at it!

Thanks to everyone who participated. We’re excited to host the seminar again next November!


Update: The Summer Writing Intensive is now FULL. We’ll be starting a waiting list. There is still room in the Workshop.

We’ll begin accepting applications for our summer programs February 1, 2015!

The 2015  Summer Writing Intensive will be held the weeks of June 8 and 15. The 2015 Summer Writing Workshop will be from June 22-26. We’ll be posting more information as we have it!

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