Tale Spinning with Mrs Page

July 26, 2021

Like all great figures of fiction, Grace’s own Melanie Page has a secret talent many may be surprised to discover. This teacher is also an avid author herself, and one who is eager to help young writers achieve their writing dreams.

Since publishing her first book way back in 2014, Grace's own Melanie Page has become a prolific writer in her spare time. Mrs Page proudly boasts an impressive collection of historical novels, published both independently and alongside her writing partner. Her most recent book however, (Tale Spinning) takes a different turn. This time her work focuses on the real-world challenge of authorship and writing short stories. 

Tale Spinning is a guide to help students who are trying to write short stories. [The book] came out of twenty years of fine-tuning what I teach, and of helping student writers improve their work.
When asked what she believes makes a great writer, Mrs Page reflected that often is as simple as putting pen to paper.

They need to write. Studying writing, reading, reading about writing are great, but nothing helps you write like writing. It's no good just to write what is easy and fun. Stepping outside our comfort zone is how we grow. Challenge yourself and be prepared to rewrite as well.

For Mrs Page, successful authorship is about much more than skill. It takes discipline and practice - something she is keen to stress to her students whether they be in person or through her book.

...write for competitions. I got a huge thrill when a novelette that I wrote for a publisher’s competition was accepted. That was a story in the Destination Romance Anthology. And I chose to write for the Mad Scientists Initiative, for the US Army, even though I’m neither mad, nor a scientist. That gave me the chance to write in a different genre.

My writing partner and I are currently working on book three in our Iron Universe, and I have another story that has just undergone its first edit, a first-person YA Australian fiction. It's not something I’ve done before, but it’s an exciting new challenge. 

For aspiring young writers looking to make this start, Mrs Page has some advice for finding the stories that need to be told. She encourages students to examine their own emotions, and how tales (both great and small) make them feel as a reader.

People love to read stories about other people and the things they go through, whether that is real people in biographies or characters in novels. We want to see people struggle and triumph. It is inbuilt into the human psyche.

Early stories like Gilgamesh, the Iliad and Beowulf are about hero myth and epic struggles. And people like to read about smaller, more modern struggles too. So really, the key still for an author is the ability to empathise, and to bring those feelings to life. Plots, characterisation and all those technical things are simply how we do that.

When asked how the duo of author and instructor impact her teaching, Mrs Page reflected that the first-hand experience has actually been very valuable. 

Well I hope it makes me a better teacher... [but] it also informs the way I analyse texts and teach analytical skills. The experience of being on the other side of the production process gives great insight [as a teacher].

It is this insight that her students find most valuable, and which others have already started to connect with. As part of the new Authorship Mentorship program at Grace, Mrs Page uses her experience to directly support students looking to start writing professionally. Budding authors working on their own stories can join the program to receive professional industry feedback and support from Mrs Page. As pieces are completed, Mrs Page also provides each with access to editors and publishing companies to promote their work.

I’m looking forward to being involved in the Author Mentorship program for students. It will be wonderful to see new young writers flourish.

Grace’s new Author Mentorship program is open to any student who loves to write or desires to become a published author. Those interested in joining the program should contact Mrs Melanie Page on campus or email melanie_page@glc.qld.edu.au.

Want to learn more?