Insider Ink Splat:

January 2019

For You:


As members of Society of Young Inklings, you are the FIRST to know that our Inklings Book Contest is officially open for submissions! We are looking for stories and poems that have a strong point of view and for writers who are committed to the revision process. Up to ten winners will be chosen from grades 3-6 and up to ten from grades 7-9 to be published in our 2019 Inklings Book Anthology.

What’s Up At SYI this Month?



Step 1: Find a partner, and spend five minutes brainstorming a story idea together.

Things to discuss:

  • Genre: Do you want to write fantasy? Science fiction? Realistic fiction? Or a combination, like western horror?
  • Main character: who is he or she? A chef? A student? A long lost prince or princess? What does he or she want? To rescue someone? To achieve fame and glory?
  • Villain or obstacle: Who or what is stopping your main character?
  • Setting: Where will this story take place? A castle? A deserted island? The basement of the local middle school?

This is just the initial “story spark,” so it’s fine if you and your partner don’t have all the answers yet. The most important thing is to figure out how you can work together and compromise in order to write a story that you will both enjoy.

Step 2: Set a timer.

Partner one spends 5 minutes writing (set a timer). When the timer goes off, that person has 20 seconds left to finish whatever sentence they are on and then passes the story to partner two. Then, partner two reads the section and gets 5 minutes to continue the story, until the timer goes off. Then they pass it back to partner one to read. Repeat as desired. The only rule is each person has to work with the story their partner has written — no changing the other person’s section.

Step 3: Compare your stories.

Once you have finished your story (or used up the amount of time given for this exercise) spend a few minutes comparing what you have written to what you had brainstormed beforehand. Did you stay within that original plan? Or maybe your story veered way off track? In that case, where did you move away, and do you like this new direction better?

Who knows, maybe you’ll discover your next great story idea and will want to continue this collaboration after this exercise is complete. Or maybe you’ll realize this story isn’t working, and will put it away in favor of something else. The most important thing is to just enjoy the process of collaborating with a partner and creating something different from what you would have created on your own.

Grab a partner and see what you can come up with! Submit your response by emailing submit@younginklings.org. You might be published on our website!



Heidi lang and kati bartkowski

This month, we talk to authors Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski. They talked to us about collaborative writing, combining interesting elements into one story, and the struggles of writing a trilogy.

The good thing about writing with your sister, though, at least in our case, is that we can be completely honest with each other and not worry that it will ruin our relationship. So if Heidi is going off on one of her spontaneous tangents, I can tell her when I think it’s not a good idea, and she doesn’t take it personally.


Mapping Your Story

Often, we’re so excited about an idea, we dive in without knowing much about the world of our story. A map can help writers see opportunities for suspense, interesting characters, and even plot twists. In this video we’ll play through a mapping activity to help writers explore the many possibilities the worlds of their stories offer. You’ll come away with fresh inspiration for your project for the Inklings Book Contest or your writing in general.

Click here to grab your companion cheat-sheet.


Join us for Summer Camp!

We’re inviting passionate young writers to join us on Zoom for writerly summer camp experiences. Each camp will include skill-building activities, time for drafting, and collaboration with peers.

Words from an Inkling:

“[I enjoy writing] because it’s a way to put the way you’re feeling into words or the characters can feel what you’re feeling. It can be a magical experience or be whatever you want it to be.”

Amann Mahajan, Inklings Book 2018

So much to do, so little time!

Just in case you only have a few minutes to spare for Inklings fun, here’s what we suggest:

Step One: Watch our mini-lesson and start mapping your story! We can’t wait to read it after you submit to the Inklings Book Contest.

Step Two: Take the Ink Splat Writing Challenge.

Step Three: Submit your writing challenge by emailing submit@younginklings.org. You never know, you might be published on our site!

P.S. We’re here for you! You can always email with ideas or questions: info@younginklings.org.