top twelve writing tips:
READ . . . A LOT.
cannot write a good story, without
reading good stories. So read, read,
read . . . I have heard there is a
particularly brilliant author called
Matt Haig. You should definitely read
his book at least seven times over.
READ SOME MORE.
and when you've finished reading you
should read some more. Books are way
better than watching TV because when
you laugh at the funny bits in a book
people don't know what you're laughing
at and get jealous. Try to read lots
of different writers who have different
styles - like mix a bit of Roald Dahl
with some G. P. Taylor, and then add
a bit of Philip Pullman, Lewis Carroll
or Lemony Snicket. Some books that
everyone should read are Watership
Down by Richard Adams, The
Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson
Burnett and The Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.
IT'S OKAY TO BE MISERABLE.
things you do in life require you
to a force a smile. Like when you
are picked last for a sports team
and you have to pretend not to mind.
Or being a cheerleader. Or when you
have to visit horrible relatives at
Christmas. But when you write stories
you are allowed to be grumpy and miserable.
In fact, many of the best writers
in history were very grumpy and miserable.
So, next time you are miserable about
something don't go to bed and cry
- start writing.
WORK OUT WHAT READERS WILL FEEL.
do you want a reader to feel when
they read your story? Do you want
them to laugh? Or cry? Or to be so
scared they'll not be able to fall
asleep? Think about what you want
your story to do, and then work out
how you're going to make it happen.
PLAN YOUR STORY.
your story on a piece of paper before
you start. Write what you want to
happen, put it in order, so you will
know roughly where you are going when
you start writing.
FOLLOW YOUR IMAGINATION.
even though you should plan your story,
don't be scared of changing your mind
halfway through. If you want to write
things that weren't in your plan you
should do so. Plans are there to be
changed. Let your imagination guide
WRITE FACT FILES FOR YOUR CHARACTERS.
you write a fact file for each of
your characters you will get to know
them - and write them - a lot better.
You should do this as soon as you
come up with the character. To see
Samuel Blink's fact file click here.
START WITH A BANG. (OR A CRASH.)
dramatic opening wakes a reader up,
like a splash of cold water, and means
you've got their concentration. It
doesn't have to be literally a crash
or a bang - it could be a piece of
good or bad news that will be important
for your story. Read the first chapter
of Shadow Forest
LET YOUR CHARACTERS SPEAK.
are a good way of moving a story on.
Instead of saying 'Samuel hated being
in Norway, and Aunt Eda didn't understand
why.' You could write something like:
'I hate Norway. It's boring. There's
nothing to do except eat cheese and
talk to weird cats.'
' Well,' said Aunt Eda. 'I am sure
there is plenty to do, if you know
where to look.'
Readers like to sometimes 'overhear'
characters speak for themselves rather
than the author tell them what to
HAVE A VILLAIN.
best stories always have a baddie.
The best baddies though aren't purely
evil. They have a weakness that makes
them believable, or they were once
good but something terrible has happened
to make them bad. Read the '13
Horrible Things' that happened
to turn Professor Horatio Tanglewood
evil and think of the horrible things
that might have happened to your villain.
READ 'PERCIVAL TRENCH'
you've written the story pretend it
was written by someone else. Someone
called 'Percival Trench'. That way
it will be easier to spot the stuff
you don't like. Writing the words
is only half of the job. The other
half is EDITING - chopping and re-writing
bits until you like 'Percival's' (ie.
your) whole story.
REMEMBER YOU CAN'T GO WRONG.
a story is not like doing a mathematical
sum. Your story can't be wrong. People
might not like it, but if you like
it and you wrote what you wanted,
then it is always right. There are
no 'incorrect' stories, just as there
are no 'incorrect' dreams.