Things are indeed progressing over here at SPARKED incorporated. We’re gearing up to launch our campaign on Sept 1, which will include joining the fantasy contest. Can’t wait! But lots to do in the meantime. Here’s our latest column for writers, in response to this question:

Dear ‘Lena,

I’m confused. My writing teacher gave me the feedback that I should make my writing “more detailed,” but then I added in a lot of details and she said that it was crammed with “unnecessary detail.” Help! – Flustered

Read our answer here:

Hope that everyone else is doing well, writing well, reading well. It’s a pleasure to be part of this vibrant community of creative likeminds. 



Hello Inkshares community!

Thanks to those of you who reached out offering to video yourselves answering the question "What’s the meanest thing another girl ever did to you?" or "What’s the meanest thing you ever did to another girl?" We are still waiting for any videos that people could make and send (basically a super short selfie-video) so if you meant to make one and didn’t get around to it, there’s still time! (Hint, hint--pretty please?!?) I notice that people are a lot more forthcoming in answering the question about others being mean to them, less willing to cop up to having been mean themselves. Or maybe we’re all just an exceptionally nice group of humans. (Well, I know that’s true...)

We have a new advice column for writers up today that I’m particularly fond of. "Dear ’Lena" recently received this question from a reader: "What’s the best writing advice that you ever received? The worst?" It was intriguingly open ended, and got Helena and me reminiscing about our early writing classes and the comedy and drama therein. Turns out we both had extremely charismatic (almost cult-like) teachers who dispensed the same pearl of wisdom. Here’s the link to the post in which we toss said pearl to you:

"In my first college writing class, the professor said: “Write the book you want to read.” He had a sonorous voice and said everything with such gravitas that it seemed incredibly profound."

Read on and find out more... If anyone wants to comment by sharing the best or worst writing advice that YOU received, I’d love to hear it!

Sparked followers! Hear the bugle call! We are making a book video to promote the novel once our campaign launches in September, and we need help! Are you or were you once a teenaged girl? Do you know a teenaged girl (a daughter? a niece or neighbor?) who might be in the range of, oh, let’s say ages 11-29? We define adolescence loosely, not convinced that we’ve fully outgrown it yet ourselves...

Sparked is a novel about what happens when mean girls get superpowers and have to save the world. For our launch video, we need quotes from a couple of teenage girls. We’d be super-grateful to anyone who is willing to participate. It’s quite simple. All you need is an iphone or whathaveyou. Film yourself answering the following questions:

a) What’s the meanest thing any girl has ever done to you?

b) And/or: What’s the meanest thing you’ve ever done to another girl?

Your answer doesn’t need to be more than a sentence of two (the entire video is going to be less than a minute). E.g. “One time my so-called friends got together and made a list of all my worst qualities and read it out to me so I could ‘work on myself.’ It was five pages long.” (True story!)

If you are willing to help out by filming yourself answering these questions, or if you know a teen who might find this exercise amusing, please send the video to or Of course, you will earn a place in the acknowledgments and our undying gratitude. We would also be happy to share a PDF of the whole novel with anyone who wants to read it now as a show of our gratitude. For any aspiring writers, we’d be more than happy to read a chapter of your stuff and/or offer general advice on careers in writing. Oh, and we have a writing advice column, so you can also send questions here:

Thank you so much in advance for your help! This is such an amazing community of writers supporting each other in all kinds of ways. It’s really exciting to see how we can build each other up and get our books out into the world.

Warmly, ’Lena (Helena and Malena)

What’s this? A second update in two days after months of silence? Just wanted to share that "Lena" has a new column today: 

Thanks to former student Patricia, the soul of wit (and brevity), who made us laugh with her letter about the self-doubt that sometimes creeps in and makes her want to give up (and burn her manuscript) because she is sure that none of the "real" authors with books on her shelves ever felt that way. If you’re a real writer (which of course you are), you know what she’s talking about. We certainly do. Sometimes it’s comforting just to know that others share your neuroses. 

This is actually familiar territory for us not just as writers (ie: personally) but because the protagonist of Sparked, Laurel Goodwin, is also an aspiring writer, who becomes seized with insecurity after her sophomore English teacher suggests that she’s not digging deep enough or writing to her potential. This silences her for a while, but later she uses this advice to unlock a gift she wasn’t aware that she possessed. I won’t give any more away, but suffice it to say: this topic is near and dear to Lena’s heart! 

Just wanted to say hello to Sparked followers. We haven’t forgotten about you (or our book, which really is happening very soon!) We’re getting our proverbial ducks in a row before launching our book campaign in early September. That means sharing the finished manuscript with teen beta-readers, making a promotional video (fun!) featuring some of those readers talking about it, and launching our advice column for aspiring writers in which we share our wisdom and wit (the latter being up for debate, of course).

The first two columns are now up, so check them out here:

Find out the answers to the questions, "Do I need to write every day?" and, "Should I toss my embarrassing old journals?"

We would LOVE to answer a question of yours, fellow Inkshares scribe, so if you want to join in the conversation and fun, send us your questions and we’ll answer away! 

*Helena and Malena teach creative writing at Stanford, where novels about mean girls manifesting powers to save small towns from evil with a capital E are not the norm, though they’re working hard to change that...