Meet Paige Bugden: a funny little girl, who likes to write funny little stories. I spoke with this ameteur storyteller and English Literature student from the University of Western Sydney about how the real world inspires her to write.
First off the bat- what do you want to be when you grow up?
Well, i’m studying English Literature at Western Sydney. I was doing psychology but i’m changing majors because i want to be an english and drama teacher. Maybe if i’m lucky I can be a teacher who writes books on the side. Or be a lecturer and have the uni pay me to write!
English teacher huh? So i’m guessing you have a favourite book then?
Yeah. For a long time my favourite book has been The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I read it in high school and i’ve been in love with it since i’ve read it. I used to walk around carrying my copy of it in my school bag all the time. It’s beautiful. She writes very descriptively without being clichéd. Like, her similes and metaphors are clear and effective but are also original. Which i think is really hard for a writer.
What is the last thing you wrote?
Sadly, the last thing i wrote was something i had to write for uni. We did a subject called writing fiction and it was about techniques for coming up with ideas. So, naturally, we had to write a short story for it. Mine was called ‘The Mind of a Narcissist’ and it was a first person narrative about a middle aged woman obsessed with a school boy.
What was the inspiration for it?
Well I work in retail and I see a lot of strange people coming through, so I was inspired by quirky customers at work. I suppose the main thing I wanted to come out of the story was that everyone believes what they do is normal, even the insane. Which i think is a really interesting concept when you really think about it.
How do you get ideas for stories?
A lot of it comes from things i notice about real life, so i guess you can say real life inspires me. You write what you know. I usually use funny things that happen to me and develop the idea somehow, and twist it into fiction.
What kind of things do you write about?
I normally lean towards humorous short stories. Comedy is definitely my favourite style to write in.
What other things have you written?
A few long fiction pieces and some poetry. I used to be really into poetry when I was at school, you know, angsty teenager and all that. That stage that all young kids get into a some point or another. It was really cathartic to write those kind of pieces back then.
Have you ever tried to get anything published?
No, god no. Not at all. I’m not sure my work is at that level yet. One day I really hope I can get something published, but at the moment I write for myself, for practice mainly. To try and get better so that one day, maybe, I am able write at a high enough level to get published.
What strikes you as a theme amongst Australian novels?
From what i’ve read, Climate is very common. I read Carpenteria by Alexis Wright, and in that dryness and heat seemed to be used as a segue between events. I think also history comes into it too, so the stolen generation and colonisation. Also isolation is another one. Australia is an isolated place as a country, so place becomes very important in Australian novels. This comes out in my own writing sometimes, just in my colloquialism and the way my characters speak.
Any future ideas for stories that you feel like sharing?
No, not as of yet. I’ve been kind of busy with uni. But the holidays are coming up- i should get cracking on it!