Two of George McDougall High School's creative writing students joined the ranks of published authors this week as their recent works are now available on Amazon.
Grade 10 student Kaylee Yu and Grade 11 student Sadie Tranter said it was surreal to have an assignment they began in their creative writing class at George McDougall progress to this point.
“I’ve been working on the novel since last year, but it was never really quite finished until we went to our teacher, (Lora Salloum’s), creative writing class,” said Yu, whose book is entitled ‘Loose Screws.’ “She said we had to publish some work we would be proud of, and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to finish and publish.”
Tranter said the creative writing class project also helped her focus on what she really wanted to write about.
“I really struggled finding what I like to write, and it ended up being poetry because I really found I could develop what I was feeling, those emotions, into that,” she said.
According to Yu, “Loose Screws” is a fantasy story about two magical queer boys who must face off against the “Tail Monsters,” which are little creatures that follow around the two main characters and reflect their emotions. In the story, the two boys are the only ones who can see them.
“These boys are magical, right?’” Yu explained. “But a lot of people might say they are crazy, or have a lot of loose screws in their head. So that’s where I thought of (the title).”
Tranter’s volume of poetry deals with love, grief, mourning and recovery. The book features an image of a realistic beating heart on the cover over a white backdrop.
“Through writing the pieces, I realized these things I had never said out loud before,” she explained. “So that’s where the title, ‘The Things We Never Said,’ came from. I drew the heart myself on a digital app.”
Yu also designed her own brightly coloured jacket, featuring two boys holding hands and a phoenix she drew herself. Yu hoped readers would get an empowering message from reading her work.
“I want people to relate to the characters, and know it is okay to face your monsters,” she said.
Tranter hoped her book of poetry would help others dealing with grief and loss.
“I just hope it allows them to feel the emotions they aren’t sure how to express, and I have put it into words for them,” Tranter said.
Both Yu and Tranter laid out how they wanted their books to appear from cover to cover as part of what they learned in their creative writing class.
“It was actually quite an easy process,” confirmed Tranter. “We went through direct publishing. You get the format, and we could just import all the pieces. It was really not that complicated at all. It was quite easy and mellow.”
Yu agreed, and in the end said she felt fulfilled by the entire self-publishing process. She said it was “crazy” to hold a book she wrote, designed and self-published for all the world to see.
“Now that I know it is possible, and I can do it, it inspires me to continue writing,” she stated.
Tranter said it hadn’t quite hit her yet that she was now a published author, and had a work out there for everyone to see and read.
“It’s surreal, honestly. It doesn’t feel real to have something of my own in my hands,” she said.