In 2019, the Centre for Stories selected a number of emerging writers to be involved in a 12-month mentoring program. The Inclusion Matters Mentoring Program, funded by the Copyright Agency and the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, allows writers to improve their craft, to work in a supportive community, and to be paired with a well-established mentor. Both programs are designed for people living in Western Australia who identify as culturally and linguistically diverse.
Tiffany Ko is a writer and the Events Marketing Assistant at Fremantle Press. In 2019, Tiffany completed an internship at the Centre for Stories where she produced a collection of stories called A Few of My Favourite Things. Get to know Tiffany and her writerly journey below.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Tiffany and I grew up near the beach for most of my life, although as it’s always the case when things are “always there,” I was never an avid beach-goer until I moved away—go figure!
I’ve loved reading ever since I was a little kid, so naturally writing followed. I remember vividly the moment I fell in love with writing. I was eight years old and had just finished The Prophecy of the Gems by Flavia Bujor, and was so devastated when it finished that I wrote a whole new story—very heavily based on the characters and plot of the novel mind you—just so that it would continue. Although my writing style has changed since then, whenever I put pen to paper, I still remember the book fondly as the reason I love to write now.
What have you been working on during the Mentoring Program?
Mostly improving my craft (and there is a lot to improve on!) and working on finishing a short story piece. I’ve always focused on writing longer pieces, with the comfort of knowing that it can “keep going” and therefore is always in a stage of improvement. Now I’m trying harder to be happy with the finished product and most importantly, have something that’s not still a work in progress!
What has it been like working with Camha Pham?
Working with Cami has been so much fun! She’s super sweet, funny and very patient with my incessant questioning. I’ve learnt so much from her already and we’ve only had a handful of coffees together. Every time we meet up, the time flies by with a lot of laughter. I’m so lucky to have her as my mentor and can’t wait to continue working with her in the new year.
Has your writing style, practice, or vocation changed since the beginning of your Mentorship?
Yes, I think so—I’d say I’m more willing to take risks in my writing rather than put myself in a box. For a while I’d been writing the same thing because I was too scared of trying something new that wasn’t within my “expertise,” and so I’d get caught up in a lot of research rather than actually writing anything. The Mentorship has definitely helped me to keep an open mind and just see where it’ll take me.
When you’re not writing, what are you doing?
Probably trying to catch up on my ever expanding TBR pile! There’s always so many good books to read, and once I know about it, I can’t keep it off my list. I’m also always on the lookout for an excuse to go to an outdoor cinema. I just love getting together on a couple of bean bags or in the boot of my car to enjoy a good movie with good company.
What have you been doing to get involved with the writing community?
I’ve been attending more events at the Centre as well as other workshops happening around Perth. In November I attended some NaNoWriMo events which pushed me to stick to a writing goal. Although I didn’t officially join in on the NaNo fun, it was really inspiring to see so many writers reach the 50,000 word target. I’ll do it this year—and this time I mean it!
What are your goals for 2020?
My goal for this year is to put my writing first and develop a regular practice to follow rather than write whenever inspiration hits. I’d love to have a completed short story piece by the end of the year that I’m not constantly editing, and be proud to say that it’s finished!