Young Writers Should Continue to Perfect Their Craft

by Asyika Suri, Diploma in Mass Communication | Republic Polytechnic

Writing should be taken seriously even after one has left school. In fact, there is a range of career options available to aspiring writers and they can continue to hone their craft.

These were the points made by Mr Kenneth Quek, festival director of the All In! Young Writers’ Festival 2017 as the event drew to a close after three days. The annual event was held at *SCAPE for the first time and was abuzz with youthful energy. The 2017 event also witnessed a record number of speakers who shared their expertise across a range of genres.

CREATING LAUGHS: Creators of the comic Yellow Princess Wayne Ree (left) and Gene Whitlock (right) were among the speakers who spoke on the third day of All In! Young Writers’ Festival at *Scape. (Photo: Asyika Suri)

Aside from the Festival’s staple offering of sessions geared towards fiction writing, this year’s Festival also organised sessions and workshops where industry experts talked about comedy writing, song writing and digital film writing.

These sessions would help to dispel the notion that writing should only be done in school or as a hobby. “Some students think they must be lawyers, doctors, and engineers and then writing becomes a hobby. Then they tend to leave it behind,” said Mr Quek.

He added: “You don’t have to give up writing, once you’ve progressed out of school.”

On the final day of All In! on March 12, the Festival provided aspiring writers with opportunities to voice their stories. An example was a session helmed by a team from Unseen Magazine. With the theme ‘Wonderland’, Unseen Magazine wanted to provide a platform for young literature writers to express themselves from their perspective and connect with other literature writers.

Youths were encouraged to share their ideas and opinions during the session. For those who were more reserved, they were urged to share their ideas through e-mail.

AISEC Singapore, an organisation aimed at developing the leadership potential of youths in Singapore through experiential learning, volunteer experiences and professional internships, also organised a conference at All In!.

Ms Sing Suen Soon, one of the speakers, guided youths on how to create a social movement that would tackle social stereotypes. This workshop was suitable for students who aspire to make a difference in their community through writing.

There were also light-hearted sessions too.  All In! invited Mr Wayne Ree and Mr Gene Whitlock, the creators of the comic Yellow Princess, to talk about their partnership. The duo reminded aspiring writers that writing is not all about expressing pain or celebrating grief. Instead, they choose to celebrate all the positive moments in their life.

Mr Ree and Mr Whitlock said they create comics for the fun of it and not for the money. Despite the move towards digital media, the duo insisted on making a physical copy of their comic. “It’s fun, that’s why we do it. We want to interact with our community,” said Mr Gene.

The final day of All In! drew to a close in the afternoon with a series of workshops helmed by award-winning filmmakers and comic artists.