The 2020 Inklings Book Contest is open for submissions! Woohoo!

Today, we wanted to share an interview with one of our Inklings Book Contest winners, Inés García. 

Inés is a sophomore at Henry M. Gunn High School. From a young age, she has has been an avid reader, her favorite poets being Pablo Neruda and Emily Dickinson. This year, she was published in Pandora’s Box, her high school’s literary magazine. Her poem, “I am just some Latina” was inspired by her love for her Mexican heritage. In her free time, she enjoys running, snowboarding, listening to music, and walking her dog, Benito.

Read through the interview and then enjoy our video of Inés reading her winning piece at our 1st Annual Inklings Gathering last year. After that, send us your own story or poem! 

What changed and how much changed when you revised your poem?

I worked a lot on structure. I decided to go with the reverso where the lines are the transitions themselves. The whole thing changed! I added in lines and took out old ones. That shifted the entire impact of the poem and created a more personal poem. I found my voice.


Did you think you’d change stuff?

I knew there would be revision–but I hadn’t seen the potential in my poem until [my mentor and I] started talking. After that, I knew this poem could be more personal and powerful with some work.


What advice to you have for Inklings who don’t like revision?

Revision is hard but know that the end is always worth it. Sometimes you’ve got to sit down and read your poem or short story with fresh eyes and an open mind and be willing to completely change anything. Be willing to say I really like this draft, but now that I look at this it could be greater.


When did you start writing?

I started writing when I was in the 3rd grade. I had a teacher who had a daily writer’s workshop–we’d write responses in our notebooks. She’d write back to me, in my notebook, telling me I had potential and such good vocabulary. She’d read out loud to us and then say, “You know who this author reminds me of–YOU!” I remember when she said my writing reminded me of Patricia Polacco–that made me feel special and seen and that I could be a writer.


Why do you enjoy writing?

It’s my favorite means of expressing myself. When I started writing for myself, I realized what kind of impact words could have. How I could describe feelings that I didn’t think could exist. I could take my thoughts and express myself in ways I didn’t know were possible.

Sometimes just putting the pencil to page I can start recognizing my feelings–oh, I’m feeling sad today. That helped me write it down. Writing down my emotions and finding ways to describe them really helps.


Where do you like to write?

At our kitchen table. We’ve had it since I’ve seven. Hardwood table. I’ll sit on the bench and once I start writing I can’t stop. The family is centered around that table. That’s the table where I best express myself. Sometimes my best and hardest memories.


How do you come up with ideas?

I’ll get inspiration from the weirdest things. I’ll read a poem and like somebody’s ideas or a conversation about something in the news and I’ll write it down. I’ll ride my bike and I’ll start elaborating and before you know it, I’ve created a poem.


What are your favorite books to read?

I will read anything. But I love realistic fiction like THE HATE U GIVE. It’s an important book and offered me a perspective of what I’ve had no idea about, what I’ve never even thought about before. [My favorite are] books that open my mind and make me feel.


Are you working on new poems?

Kind of. I always have an idea for a poem at the back of my mind. When I write it down, it’s really rewarding. There’s always a snippet of a line in my mind.


Anything else you’d like to tell our Young Inklings?

Know that you always have a story to tell. You always have a story and it may not be the story that everyone else is telling, but it’s your story. There’s a 100% guarantee that someone out there needs to hear it.

It might hard to write–I know you have a story to tell–and you should tell it.

We hope you enjoyed today’s interview! We want to read your work this year in our Inklings Book Contest. Click below to either sign up for our FREE prep course or submit your finished work. We can’t wait to read what you’ve written.

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