Write On: Parallel Ink
by Paean Yeo; edited by Edward Goh and Lee Russell

As a young writer at the age of eight myself, my eyes were wide with wonder at the panellists. Call me dramatic, but I had never seen such an amazing sight. Here I was, a nineteen year old sleeping through deadlines and rushing out assignments, and there they were, prim and proper: three eighteen year olds — three established and talented young writers — with a publication to their name.

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Parellel Ink, founder Jamie Uy explained, began when some of her friends were leaving for overseas. They wanted to create a writing project that would express their shared love for the written word. What started out as “a writing support group” suddenly transformed into an international publication heralded by a team of twenty-seven young writers from over six countries.

Today, Parallel Ink has published four e-magazines with over one hundred submissions in total.

Below is a brief summary of what transpired:

SUBMISSION TO PUBLICATIONS AND CONTESTS

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As editors, the panellists had their fair share of rejecting manuscripts.

They encouraged writers to think of rejection as petrol that fuels your progression in writing. Just as there can be no car without petrol (no matter how many holes it burns in your wallet!), there is no better way to push yourself as a writer than taking constructive criticism. It gives you the opportunity to write, re-look, and write again.

In addition, they urged young writers to submit to publications that suited their style and the social issues they were interested in. The panellists also emphasised on reading the mission statements of the publications/magazines before submission.

“It’s important to make sure your goal aligns with theirs,” Jamie noted.

COMPETITION

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“Don’t be afraid! Just submit!” the panellists urged. “It’s important to write for the sake of writing.”

“Every writer’s journey is different,” Jamie pointed out.

The panellists agreed that adopting a growth mindset is essential in writing. It reinforces your purpose as a writer. What’s truly important when writing is writing from the heart—never fake your emotions. After all, it lends authenticity to your writing, and that’s how you establish an intrinsic connection with your reader.

Sticking to your style of writing—regardless of whether you are someone who plans before they write or writes and plans at the same time. Nicole also advised reading works by writers whom you wish to emulate in order to improve your writing.

QUESTION AND ANSWER

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How do I come across as authentic when I’m writing about things I have not experienced?

The panellists stressed that it was integral for a young writer to take initiative. This can be done by interviewing family members who have experienced those feelings or asking friends. Secondly, they brought up research. With the vastness of the Internet and libraries, it is possible to gain multiple insights easily. Last but not least: just rely on one’s imagination!

How do you deal with writer’s block?

Nicole gave an interesting idea: she has a jar full of words (of places she has visited) and whenever she hits a block, she randomly draws a word and thinks about the experiences she had in that place.

I’m writing a story that contains multiple perspectives. How do I make it less confusing for the reader?

The panellists agreed that there needs to be a clear establishment of scenario/situation.

“You also need to keep the question in mind: why are you changing POV?” Nicole said. “If it’s to transpose thought, you need to do more research in order to fully grasp that style of writing.”

OPINION

W O W.

I was completely blown away by the panellists. Can you imagine starting a publication (and an international one at that!!) at such a young age? Other than the points raised above, they also gave some tips on writing cover letters which you can find below!

As a testament to Parallel Ink’s international diversity, their fourth panellist from New York, Shannon Sommers, periodically contributed to the panel via video. Although I felt that the videos were a bit disruptive in the course of the face-to-face discussion, all four panellists were engaging and tackled the audience’s questions head-on. I found their scope pretty wide: they managed to address most of the doubts in a young writer’s mind as well as provide interesting tips on writing!

This was absolutely my highlight of the day!


About the Panellists

Parallel Ink started with three friends, three countries and one dream. An international teenage publication for teenagers by teenagers. Find out more about them here!

Please look out for a future interview with Parallel Ink as well!

PARALLEL INK’S TIPS FOR COVER LETTERS!

  1. Keep it short.
  2. Address the editor: find out what’s her/his name!
  3. Be respectful.
  4. Indicated why you are interested in submitting your piece.
  5. Short biography of the writer at the end (unless publication indicates it as unnecessary)
    1. No more than 6 lines.
    2. Tone should be tailored to how formal/prestigious publication is.
    3. Remember the person to whom you are writing to.
    4. Third POV
  6. Submission guidelines must be adhered to!

All photos used in this article were obtained from the All In! Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/AllInYWF/

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