Book Chat: #YAmatters

“That magical, magical moment when your character starts to whisper in your ear – that’s why I write.”

Laurie Halse Anderson

Today I spent another wonderful day at the State Library of Victoria for the YA Matters conference listening to some brilliant writers. Broken up into four sessions, we heard authors speak about science fiction, pop culture, contemporary fiction and fantasy. A special thanks to the State Library, the Centre for Youth Literature and the featured authors (and random actor): Amie Kaufman, Sean Williams, Clare Atkins, Will Kostakis, Matt Testro, Laurie Halse Anderson, Sara Farizan, Sally Gardner and Jaclyn Moriarty!


I thoroughly enjoyed each session and have many invaluable notes of inspiration, advice and tid bits to think about. I have compiled my favourites below!

Just because it has been done before doesn’t mean you can’t do it again.

Science fiction: Imagining how people will engage with cool new tech.

Plotters vs Pantsers – those who plan and those who fly by the seat of their pants!

Write what you love!

 Read widely!

 Want to write? Practice.

 Fan Fiction: A great way to practice writing by taking worlds and characters that already exist and bringing to life the ‘what ifs’.

 Write about who you know – just give them some warning first.

 When writing pop culture references, how do you do it with out becoming dated?

 Building characters: Start with the archetypes and add the shades of grey.

 How do you get contemporary right (on the criticism spectrum between too fluffy to too graphic)? Don’t worry about it!

Write what you want to understand.

 Learn to write about those who are different by getting to know people not just reading about them in the library.

Artists are called on to push the boundaries so they can open doors for those who can’t do it themselves.

 How do you get out of your own way? Just write, don’t think.

 Fantasy: Feeds souls and changes lives.

 Fairytales talk to the beat of our souls and understands our fears.

 Fairytales are the start of the yellow brick road to fantasy.

 Great writers know the art of what to leave out.

 Days and seasons in your writing are important to know.

 Make something extraordinary happen!

 Want more? Follow the hashtag #YAmatters on social media for all the fabulous YA conversation.


2 thoughts on “Book Chat: #YAmatters

  1. Thanks, once again, I can always rely on you to keep me up-to-date with what’s happening. So many new books have come across my desk, I don’t know where to start – Jandy Nelson, Sarah Dessen, Freedom ride by Sue Lawson is coming, Pieces of sky by Trinity Doyle looks interesting, the new Matthew Reilly book – Troll Mountain – different from his usual books. I have also just bought Just like a Queen by Jane Caro, Pandora Jones – Reckoning by Barry Jonsberg and Outcaste by Ellen Renner. Bring on the holidays and some quality reading time! I printed the list about all the different genres of books and I am widening my reading, yet again, to try and read as many different types of books as I can. But, as always personal favourite authors keep popping up. Keep up the good work. P.S. Our niece who is a primary school teacher, avid reader, mum of a toddler rang last week with the exciting news – she is having her storybook published. Who knew! Exciting times ahead for her.


    • Oh Sandra, your reading list sounds as wonderful as my own – there are many books in that pile I want to read as well! I am looking forward to the long weekend.. I am going to snuggle up in bed for the whole weekend and read! Congratulations to your niece – I would love to see the end result!!


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