Friday, September 27, 2013

Writing Contest!

Every year we have a WRITING CONTEST during the month of October. Why? Because October 13-19 is Teen Read Week (or so says the American Library Association--those guys are always coming up with weeks for us to celebrate!), and somewhere back a few years ago we decided that an annual writing contest would be a good way to mark this week.

In past years we have chosen various genres: Horror, Mystery, Science Fiction, Dystopic/Post-Apocalyptic. This year we decided to do something a little different: FAN FICTION!

Definition of FAN FICTION:
When someone takes either the story or characters (or both) of a novel or series, and creates a story based on it. In other words, writing your OWN story, using someone else's characters.
Did you ever wonder what happened BEFORE the book began? Did you love the series but hate the way it ended? Did you ever think, "If only this character had done THIS instead of THAT, everything would have turned out differently!"? Didn't like the insta-love between the protagonist and the mysterious stranger? Now you can make him or her fall in love with someone else! This is your chance to HAVE IT YOUR WAY!

Details of the contest are on our website. Don't forget to TELL US on what book or series your story is based--while we read a lot, we don't read EVERYTHING, and if you pick something obscure, we will miss the fine points of your story if we don't know what that book is! We look forward to reading YOUR fan fiction!

You may be thinking that fan fiction is a recent phenomenon (especially with the proliferation of fan fiction based on manga), but it's not true--let's think about just a few examples from popular fiction:

Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell--a standalone book that took its writer 25 years to complete. Alexandra Ripley comes along and writes a sequel, Scarlett. Then Donald McCaig writes Rhett Butler's People. Same characters, same setting, a continuation of the story.

Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice. Seth Grahame-Smith: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. (Although I don't know whether I would classify it as FAN fiction to add zombies!!!)

Daphne du Maurier: Rebecca. Susan Hill: Mrs. de Winter.

Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre. Jean Rhys: Wide Sargasso Sea.

These probably aren't precisely what you have in mind when you hear the words "fan fiction", but they follow the central premise, which is to take someone else's characters and write something new with them.Go and do likewise! (But please don't write a whole book--just 5 to 10 pages will do!)

For those who are feeling intimidated by this "assignment," here's some good advice from writer Margaret Atwood:

If you want to know what inspired this theme, read FanGirl, by Rainbow Rowell. In your library branch very soon!

And here are some examples of YA writers who got their start writing fan fiction:

Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments series, etc.) wrote BUFFY fanfic.

Marissa Meyer (Cinder, Scarlet) wrote SAILOR MOON fanfic, under the pen name "Alicia Blade."

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


"Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged
by policemen? or one living in perfect freedom
who has nothing more to say?"

K U R T    V O N N E G U T

Thanks, Bashar!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Here is Karen, with her well-loved and well-read lexicon of HARRY POTTER books, among the most frequently challenged books ever, according to the American Library Association. She borrows her quote from another author, whose book Fahrenheit 451 (ironically a story about banning books) was banned in several American states.

You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture.
Just get people to stop reading them.

R A Y   B R A D B U R Y

Thank you, Karen!

Monday, September 23, 2013


Cool opportunity for teens:

Burbank Boys and Girls Club is participating in the ARTSCIENCE PRIZE program, and it's open to 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students.

There is a kick-off party / informational session TONIGHT, September 23, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., at WOODBURY UNIVERSITY, 7500 Glenoaks Blvd.

Contact Tony Gonzalez at B&G Club, if you're interested.

Here is the website for the ArtScience Prize, and here's a video from last year's program so you can see what it's all about. (The theme is different: This year's is "Energy of the Future.")

If you are chosen, you might get to go to PARIS for 10 days...

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Banned Book Week has arrived, and here is our first SHELFIE (selfie with a banned book from your SHELF), from Samantha:

"I have a real issue with anyone trying to
protect children from their own imaginations."

J.   K.   R O W L I N G

Nice one, Samantha!

If YOU want to send us a "shelfie," email it to, accompanied by a quote. It can be from someone else (famous or otherwise), or it can be your own words about censorship. We'll publish it here or on Facebook.