#Issue 5

Scratchthat Newsletter

Hey readers! This newsletter is an extra special issue just for you. Over the past semester, or past two semesters for some of us, we’ve been working hard away at Scratchthat to deliver you the best content possible. With Issue 3 well on its way, we are delighted to present to you the final newsletter for this year. 

This week, we celebrate how far we’ve come, what we’ve created, and how much fun we’ve had getting there. This newsletter is all about tying up loose strings and making the most out of the projects we love so dearly. And at the end of this letter, we might even have a surprise for you…

With lots of love, hard work, and dedication, we hope you enjoy the last newsletter from us.

Love from Amber and the rest of Scratchthat’s newsletter team.

Learning to Let Go

Jasmine Greene

It is often said that the hardest part of writing is getting started. While that is certainly the case a lot of the time, knowing how and when to finish a piece can be just as much of a struggle. Our thought process changes over time. As we gain new perspective, experience, knowledge, and understanding of the topics of our writing, it is only natural that the way we approach our work also changes over time. While this often helps us become better writers, it also makes it difficult to let go of pieces that are already finished.

Knowing when to walk away is one of the most important skills a writer can have. Our inner perfectionist will often make us doubt our own writing, making it impossible to finish. We may find ourselves obsessing over the little details, sometimes to the point of self-destruction. If a writer cannot step back from their work, they risk losing their passion for the story or for writing as a whole, which can then lead to burnout. 

One of the best motivations for a writer is to work to a deadline. As well as providing an incentive to finish in time, a deadline also forces them to step away from and be satisfied with their work by the end date. While official deadlines from publishers and competitions are undoubtedly useful, setting personal deadlines is just as important to help recognise when a piece is finished. 

Another method is to enlist the help of an editor. Having an objective reader will not only help to identify mistakes a writer may have missed, but it will also bring the work to a publishable standard. Editors can also take some pressure off the author when they are finalising the piece. 

Writers must learn how to resist the urge to let their perfectionist side get the better of them. It is often said that no story is ever complete, only abandoned. There is some truth to this sentiment. The best authors know when to let their stories go, for that is the only way they will become available to the rest of the world. 
Final Touches - Photography by Kate Simons

Writing for the Sense of Sound
Jack Bell

So, you’ve written short stories, you’ve written poetry, you might even have tried your hand at a screenplay—what else is there to write? If you’re interested in expanding your palate of mediums, you might consider audio as the next boundary to cross. Whether it be radio programs, audio dramas, or podcast episodes, writing for the theatre of the mind can be a difficult but rewarding process of storytelling that you should try out if you like experimenting.

If you’re going to try writing for sound, you should always keep in mind both its advantages and limitations. You don’t have stage blocking or scenery for support; however, the form is still naturally theatrical in its reliance on dialogue and audio effects. Use sound to your benefit. Try to keep the action natural. Don’t clutter the audio with too many tracks or ambient noises as over-explanations—too many stimuli can confuse listeners by giving them too much information at once. Try to limit your sounds to what will move the story along. Remember you don’t have the benefit of visuals, so dialogue and character are your best friends, and should be your biggest focus of attention.

Now, having said that, know of course that audio mediums still have their many strengths. Since it’s a form not reliant on stage-bound constrictions, go for where its advantages are—move into people’s heads, hear their thoughts, switch perspectives. Try different structures: a monologue, a tape recording, a conversation, an interview… This is a medium built completely on sound, which is a sorely underutilized element for storytelling in most arenas. Go out and experiment! How best can you build your story for the ear instead of the eyes?

Since everyone today has a phone and can make a Soundcloud account, audio stories could be far more relevant than they are, so why not make one? All you need is a script and a voice? In the meantime, we hope you enjoy when Scratch That Magazine premieres its own audio dramas with its third issue, on October 30. Keep your ears open!

Illustrations by Jade Davis

Mixed Bag Writing Prompts
Final Rolls (Tying Loose Strings Special) - With
Adam Osborne

Write the ending for one of your works in progress that’s been in progress for a while. 

Maybe this will help fill in the middle, make you move the ending forward and keep writing from there. See how it feels to tie loose strings.

 Has everything led to this moment? Think about how this end affects your story. It could be just the push you need.

Write a dialogue between two characters while one has their hair braided by the other.

Maybe they’re the leads of your current project, or maybe they're from entirely different stories. 

It can be a great way to see how your characters react when put in a vulnerable position. 

Write about something that’s tying your stomach in knots right now. 

It doesn’t necessarily be a short story. Try a diary entry, or perhaps a stream of consciousness piece. 

Maybe you’ll feel a little better after, and maybe it could spawn the idea for a piece, a poem, or a personal essay.
Illustration by Alex MacKellar
Finally, here we are at the end of the newsletter. As promised a little surprise, by Scratchthat’s artists Amber Lee (pictures with borders) and Alex Mackeller (without borders). To celebrate the end of semester, and congratulate and credit our wonderful Scratchthat team, we have a list of all the amazing people who have contributed to your bi-weekly Scratchthat reads so far.
Amber Lee (@_firescribe on instagram)
Head of Newsletter

Illustrator for Mixed Bag and title cards. Contributor of Loveable Hateable,
it's accompanied illustrations, and Cake Pops and Merry-go-rounds.


And finally, A little extra thank you for 
Jakeb Smith (@jingilijakeb on instagram)
who helped Scratchthat with style guides 
behind the scenes. 
Goodbye for now from this year’s newsletter team. Look forward to Scratchthat Issue 3—only two weeks to go—and keep your eyes (and ears) peeled for what next year’s team has to bring! We hope you are as excited as we are. Thank you for sticking with us through this tumultuous year. Farewell for now.

Stay creative.