TWINE Wrap-Up Party!

This Thursday will be our LAST meeting of Teen Writers of the Inland Northwest (TWINE)! Pat yourselves on the back for your outstanding writing, participation, and paper game artistry. It's been an honor hearing your amazing words each month. To celebrate, we're turning our last meeting into a big celebration party, with cake, a chance for you to read your favorite pieces out loud, and a few last rounds of the paper game.

Although TWINE is ending, keep your eye on the SCLD website in the next few months as we're working on new writing workshops (for adults, but open to teen writers 15 and up who want to participate!) We're excited about some of the activities and experts we'll have on board and we know you will be too.

--Sheri (Youth Collection Development Librarian and TWINE Leader)

Inlander Short Fiction Contest

Did you know The Inlander's annual short fiction contest is open to all ages? Submissions will be accepted until Nov. 21, and should reference at least one Inland Northwest landmark. They should also be less than 2,000 words, and be based on the theme "spirits." For more information, click here, or come to our Nov. 6 meeting.

Truth or Dare

"Ghost Stories #Camping" by Bonnie Bogle.
October's TWINE writing challenge is inspired by the story Erin wrote last month in response to the writing prompt, "write a story in which a character begins a sentence 'I hope you're all happy, because now  (fill in the blank)..."  Erin wrote a scene in which a game of Truth or Dare goes off the rails. It got us to thinking about Truth or Dare and how such a simple childhood game can show us so much about the people playing. So here's your writing challenge for this month: Write a scene where the characters are playing Truth or Dare. Does your main character choose "truth" or "dare." What happens next? Set a timer for fifteen minutes and write! As always email us your best effort and we'll post it right here on the TWINE blog. And take a look at Erin's great scene here:

These are your shoes...

Woman's silk damask shoes with buckles, 1740-1750, England. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, M.81.71.1a-b.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird    

A great trick for getting to know your characters is to think about the kinds of clothes they wear and why. For instance, do you have a main character who runs around in jeans and T-shirts? Or is she wearing a frothy, fabulous ball gown? If a man is wearing tights, does it mean he's a Shakespearean actor, or is he some kind of wrestler? To practice getting into character, try this exercise: look at the shoes above and think about who would wear them and why. Then set a timer for ten minutes and write from that person's point of view. Who are you? Where do you live? What's important to you? And where are you going in these shoes? As always, email us what you come up with and we'll post it here!

I Can't Believe, by Kaitlin

"I Have Seen Stars" by Casey
Based on Heather Wright's writing prompt, where you start a scene with a snippet of dialogue and build from there.

"I can't believe he gave that to her!"

"I can't believe she took it!"

Jasmine skulked back to her listening place behind the bookshelf and drew a shaky breath in. Why shouldn't she have taken the necklace from Jason? He had been so sweet, setting up that romantic dinner before showing her that dazzling necklace. What could be wrong with it?

She knew that Jason wasn't the best kid in school but she believed that he was just misunderstood. She crunched her eyes closed and thought back to when he gave her the necklace, trying to remember anything strange. His face hadn't given any signs of bad intention the whole night. Wait... when she asked where he had gotten it, he had started stuttering and quickly changed the subject.

She knew he had been accused of stealing things before, but never something this big. If he really had taken it, he was in big trouble. Big trouble indeed.

She decided that when she saw him tomorrow she would confront him and demand the real story...

I Can't Believe, by Erin

"School Hallway" by KFIU Public Radio
Based on Heather Wright's writing prompt, where you start a scene with a snippet of dialogue and build from there.

"I can't believe he gave that to her."

"I can't believe she took it."

Penny wasn't deaf -- she could hear the whispers. It wasn't like they were exactly hard to hear: in the hallways, out on the grass, and even in the classrooms. She had heard them before, always about different people. Never once had she dreamed the whispers would be about her. But now they were and she had no idea what to do.

It wasn't like they were wrong. Yes, she had accepted Jake's gift. So what? Was it wrong to say thank you and accept a gift? Did middle schoolers really have to take every interaction between a male and a female as some sort of relationship?

Well, technically, Penny and Jake did have a relationship, but...

Someone stopped her in her thoughts. Penny blinked and flinched in surprise. "Who's there?"

Jake smiled sheepishly "Uh, hi?"

Penny stared at him before grabbing his arm and dragging him to the side of the hall. "What are you doing?" she hissed.

He seemed confused. "Saying hi?"

"We can't be seen together." Penny's face flushed.


"Haven't you heard the whispers?"

Jake nodded. "About me giving you the hockey book? Yeah, why?"

Penny took a shuddering breath in. "They think that one, I'm a weirdo for liking hockey, and two, that we're in some sort of relationship."

Jake shook his head. "Why can't you tell them the truth?"

Penny sighed and placed her hands to her head. "Come on, Jake. Who's really going to believe that we're cousins?"

I Can't Believe, by Sierra

"Damascus Steel Ring (#126)" by Jon Fife

Based on Heather Wright's writing prompt, where you start a scene with a snippet of dialogue and build from there.

"I can't believe he gave that to her!" Jasper said, referring to how Sebastian had given Luce his family's ring.
"I can't believe she took it!" Emelia replied, shaking her head, her brown curls bouncing as she did so.

Word of the engagement had spread quickly through the high class people of London. They wondered why such a noble girl would ever want to marry Sebastian. He was a disgrace to his family and would bring shame to Luce's name. But they didn't know the full story. They didn't know how he had saved the entire country...

The exact opposite

"Defining the Fleeing Retronym" by Derrick Tyson
This month we're thinking and talking about characters. What makes a character seem real or likeable? Are the characters in your stories just like you? Or are they so different from you that writing about them is like inventing an entirely new persona? Our writing warm-up prompt this month is all about getting inside the mind of somebody not like you at all and being able to bring them to life. Give it a try, and if you like what you come up with send it to us here at twine(dot)

Writing Prompt: If you were to describe a character who is the exact opposite of you, what would they be like? Would they be the same gender? Old? Young? How would they dress? What would they care about? Who would their friends be? Go ahead and list everything you can think of about this "opposite" character. Now, think about how you would go about making this character likeable to readers. When you've got some ideas, write a paragraph or two either having your character tell us who he or she is, or have someone describe this character. Go!

Starting with Dialogue

"Wedding Gift" by Julian Wylegly
If you've ever been to TWINE, you know we're big fans of writing prompts. Prompts are pictures, lines of text, or even lists of items that somehow suggest a story. They can get you moving again when you're stuck, and they can be a great daily warm-up exercise that works with your subconscious to create new and surprising creative ideas!

Heather Wright has some excellent writing prompts at her blog and in her book Writing Fiction: A Hands-On Guide for Teens, including using just a snippet of dialogue to suggest an entire scene or story.

Give this one a try:

Character 1: "I can't believe he gave that to her."

Character 2: "I can't believe she took it."

What do you think is going on here? Write for ten minutes, continuing the dialogue, or incorporating it into a scene that tells us more about who's speaking, who they're talking about, and what the mysterious "it" is! Share your writing by emailing it to us at twine(dot)

Seven Line Story Structure

"Sete" by Eurritimia


Here's a fun structure exercise we did at the last meeting of TWINE, courtesy of Andrew McMasters of Jet City Improv in Seattle. Try breaking down a story you already know (fairy tales are great for this) into the seven lines below. The seven line story exercise shows you how stories are made up of a beginning, an escalating series of events and consequences, and an ending. Try it as a brainstorming exercise, or use it for a story you're already writing.

1. Once upon a time...
2. And every day...
3. Until one day...
4. And because of this...
5. And because of this...
6. Until finally...
7. And ever since then...

Eavesdropping on TWINE

Erin used this photo and painting (from Girls Standing on Lawns) as the inspiration for her timed-writing piece, "Eavesdropper."

"Alicia is a very quiet girl. If you don't see Alicia, you might not even know she is there. But do not get me wrong, she is very intelligent. She might even have one of the sharper minds in the class. And she is so well dressed! Every day in her little white dress those adorable socks and sweet little brown shoes. However, I'm sorry to say she is just so quiet her class participation is little to none. Has she always been so shy?"
Alicia stared at the large wooden door in front of her, little white dress flapping in the breeze. Slowly she put her hand on the schoolhouse door, wondering if she should go in, wondering if she should tell her parents and Mrs. Hillis she had heard everything.
"No, actually. She can be quite loud at home if she wishes." Her mother's voices was actually surprised. "If she's quiet at school, she must have some sort of reason."
Alicia decided against it. Removing her hand from the door knob, she once again froze in a position as still as a statue.
Sometimes being quiet had its advantages.


Why Are You Standing There?

Who are these girls and why are they standing on the lawn?

This month we're taking our inspiration from an artsy new book by the same duo who wrote and illustrated the fantastic YA novel, Why We Broke Up. Daniel Handler, of course, is better known as Lemony Snicket. Maira Kalman is an artist and illustrator who's done everything from children's picture books to album covers.

Girls Standing on Lawns was inspired by a handful of candid photographs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection. Just girls, standing on lawns. But Handler and Kalman began to wonder, who were these girls? What were the stories behind the poses? Where did they live? And what do these pictures say about us, about changing fashions and the passing of time? What will our pictures say about us one day?

Try this writing exercise: grab a copy of Girls Standing on Lawns, browse through the library's photography books or dig through your old family photos and find an image of a person that intrigues you. Then set the timer and write for ten minutes. Who is this person? What year do you think the picture was taken? What are they wearing and why? What do they like or dislike? Where are they going next after this picture is taken? Send us what you come up with (and a scan of the photo you picked) and we'll post it here on the blog!

More love letters

"Incredible scenery on the road in Banff National Park" by Alaskan Dude

Last week we posted about the Love Letter Project, a project where you pen and post your own letter of encouragement to someone who is going through something you've gone through. Here's another love letter, from TWINE member Licia!

Reaching Your Goals

It's a long walk from here to there,
and the light is growing dim.
This road stretches on for endless miles,
and my patience is wearing thin.
He doesn't understand,
and I fear he never will.
If I can make it to the top,
it might just make him see.
The mountain so far off
is inviting, yet scary all the same.
Filled with my sadness,
my pain,
and my hope,
if I can get there they'll all believe.
All of us have been through something. It could be something major, like watching your parents go through a divorce, or having someone you love die. It could be something so personal no one around you even knows you're struggling with it, like depression or sexual orientation. Or it could be something as seemingly minor (yet weirdly challenging) as getting sick the weekend of prom, or being completely unable to parallel park. The point is, you've probably been through a challenge or two and come out stronger.

The Love Letter Project invites you to share your experience and help someone going through the same thing by writing a letter of encouragement - a love letter, if you will. Inspired by the Love Letter Project, TWINE penned a few love letters of our own and we'll be sharing ours here over the next few days, starting with "Dear Depressed Teenager," by Anonymous.

"Dear Depressed Teenager,

I know it's hard. Trust me, I get it. I went through probably exactly what you're going through. I know, I don't know you personally. But you are extraordinary. You are unique. You have strengths and weaknesses and fears, just like the rest of us. Every battle you overcome, every move you make, builds your character and makes you more spectacular.

I believe in you. I truly do. I know it seems odd, coming from a total stranger, but trust me on this one: you do not want to miss out on life. You have a purpose, whether it be to explore space or to raise a child, YOU ARE HERE FOR A REASON! You have come so far already, please don't give up now.

Imagine your life as a wheel, an ever-spinning, infinite wheel of events and possibilities. Whatever you are going through now is a minuscule bump. You have SO many great things ahead of you.

Look around you. Look at the birds, the threes, this wonderful earth. I don't know what happens after you die, but surely it isn't better than this.



Poets unite!

April is National Poetry Month and TWINE waxes poetic with activities inspired by the words of Sherman Alexie, Emily Dickinson, Raymond Carver and more! Don't worry if you're not a big poetry fan -- you can have never written a word of poetry and still enjoy the April meeting.

If you were at last month's meeting and submitted writing and are wondering WHY it hasn't shown up on the blog, rest assured it will be posted in the next few days.

And, if you prefer to follow TWINE online, here's your homework for the month: browse through some books of poetry or find some poems online. Find one that you particularly like and then think about why. What images do you see when you read the poem? What words does the poet use that are particularly effective in creating a mood? What is the poem "saying"? Write your responses and include the poem that inspired you and send it to twine(dot)scld@blogspot(dot)com.

It's March!

"Red Fox Pup(s) Morro Bay, CA 27 May 2008" by Mike Baird

Hurrah for Spring! This month we're writing about reinvention.
Writing Prompt 1: Write a scene or a story with the following three elements: a fox, a birthday cake, and something new.
Writing Prompt 2: It's your job to reinvent Riverfront Park. What would you keep? What would you add to make it better? (Think big: you have the power to add a sports complex, a wildlife preserve, more rides.... whatever you want.)
These are the prompts we'll be doing in our in-person meeting at Spokane Valley Library on Thursday, Mar. 6, and online anytime. If you're participating from home, set a timer for seven minutes, and write! Email us your writing (twine(dot) and we'll post it here on the blog.

Together, Forever?

"Togethr" by Luke Hayfield Photography on Flickr

This month's TWINE is all about love - from musing on the best-ever love scenes in books and film, to sending out some love to those who need it most. So let's get started!

1: You've no doubt seen J.K. Rowling in the news recently, talking about how maybe putting Ron and Hermione together in the last few Harry Potter books wasn't her best idea. What do you think? Let's consider other favorite couples in literature and movies. What makes them "work" (in terms of being believable). Which pairings don't work? Discuss by leaving a comment here!
2: Our next assignment is to think about love, especially all the different kinds of love that aren't necessarily romantic. Sometimes just showing appreciation for someone or giving a compliment on a rough day are ways to show love. Sometimes just sharing your story is a way to be loving. Think of someone you know or have seen that could use a really nice love letter. Now write them one! You can post it here, or if you're feeling extra daring, you could give it to them or leave it where you know they'll find it.
These are the prompts we'll be doing in our in-person meeting at Spokane Valley Library on Thursday, Feb. 6, and online anytime. If you're participating from home, set a timer for seven minutes, and write about couples in books and movies (and discuss why they work -- or don't!) or write a love letter to a stranger, or try both! Email us the results (twine(dot) and we'll post them here on the blog.


...from our 1.2.14 meeting:

With this writing prompt and just 10 minutes to write, TWINE members produced some amazing pieces of micro-fiction! If you couldn't make it to our meeting, try this one at home. Set a timer and go (then email us what you come up with and we'll post it here!)

The Glow, by Licia
While running from crazed supernatural fans, Drew accidentally in his panic created another portal to another world. Seriously, it was not his fault. After his secret of sorcery leaked to the entire city, people had been following him like he was a boy-band member. Drew would've preferred to be hung and burned. So anyways, a few psychotic fans fell through his accidental portal after chasing him from the Wendy's on 5th and Parker. Usually he hated world-jumping, but he'd never harm a mortal. Unless it was his little brother, but his brother was a werewolf (if you wish to remain sane, don't ask.) Drew climbed into the portal and disappeared into the white. Then the portal slammed shut. This is why world-jumping is not fun.
Half Past Midnight, by Aisha
     "Jakob, I don't think we should be doing this," Christa said, walking slowly behind him.
     "Don't be a baby. It'll be fine," Jakob answered.
     Christa said nothing so they continued to walk through the snow-covered forest. It wasn't just that Christa thought it was a bad idea to be in a forest at half past midnight, but it was also cold.
     Jakob didn't seem to mind. With his fur-lined coat he walked briskly through the trail. Christa was much less covered with a dress that went only to her knees and a barely-there coat. She hadn't known they'd be hiking through the forest when she had gotten dressed earlier that night.
     Jakob had sprung it on her after they'd finished seeing Catching Fire in the cinema. It was their first date and Christa had wanted to seem brave. But now while she walked through the bushy woods, she was sure this would be their first and last date. They had only come out here because everyone at school was talking about an orb of light that seemed to remain in mid-air. Rumors had spread across the school like wildfire...



January Meeting Recap

"Villain" by stoneflower

We were a small but enthusiastic group this first meeting of 2014! We did the following writing prompts, which you are welcome to try at home:

1. Think of your favorite villains from fiction, TV, or film. Now choose one and write your villain's list of New Year's Resolutions. Extra: Read your list to someone and see if they can guess which villain it belongs to.

2. Now try the same exercise, but with your favorite hero or protagonist.

Here are a few of ours:

Online TWINE: Live Your Life, Freely

by Anonymous, Moran Prairie
LAX, by Drukelly

My short story features two elements: Lost luggage and a rainy day. 

“The winner of the Live Your Life, Freely contest sponsored by Nike Free Run 2013 is none other than… Kara Jenson! Kara, we hope you had your bags packed, your flight leaves at five! The winner will receive a call shortly informing her of where to pick up her ticket and how to live free! Thanks for entering, everyone.”
     I sat there in shock with this announcement. How could I have won? There must have been some mistake. I wheeled my pink suitcase fully packed for a trip to L.A. back to my room, only to hear my cell phone ring in my pocket.

                Call from: DJ Hot & Spicy
My heart skipped a few beats as my trembling fingers struggled to press the answer button.
     “Kara! I’m sure you heard, but you ARE the winner of the Live Your Life, Freely contest! Congratulations! In an hour a car will come to take you to the airport where you will begin your adventure. Additional Nike items will be provided in the car. Thank you for playing, and have fun!”
     I took out my suitcase and repacked everything. It seemed like only minutes had passed when a black stretch limo, emblazoned with the Nike symbol pulled up at my house and honked the horn. I ran outside and hopped in, to find enough Nike items to build a castle. I was in awe as I started looking through the items. Duffel bag, shoes, running shorts, sweatshirts, sweats, t-shirts tank tops and even socks had all been provided. I shouldn’t have packed.
     At 5 PM I boarded my nonstop flight to LA and sat down in first class to make myself comfortable. After we were safely in the air, one of the stewardesses asked me where my carry on was.
      I responded quickly. “I left it in the car, the driver was supposed to bring it!”
     The stewardess, Nancy, just shook her head. “Sorry honey, it appears none of your luggage made it on this flight.”
     My eyes watered as I struggled to compose myself. I packed nearly all my belongings in my suitcases! Nancy just handed me some water and left.
     As the plane touched down, a hard rain started pouring on the otherwise perfect Los Angeles day. Could this day get any worse? I thought. I neared my Nike limo and got inside, completely distraught. The driver smiled at me sheepishly and pointed at the trunk. I looked and to my amazement my luggage was there! My day brightened significantly, and so did the sky. The rain stopped just as we left the airport, and I couldn’t be happier.