Think before you write. You might want to make a flow chart of how your story will develop or even write lists of key-ideas. You may even want to outline your character’s characteristics or decide upon a specific setting for your story. Or you just might want to just sit and think. Whatever you do, don’t choose one of those ready-made story beginnings (One day… Once upon a time… I went to the park…) and hope that your pen is going to carry on for you!
Remember – We are ALL authors. Writing is like speaking onto paper! And we are all storytellers! You’ll tell your friends things in the playground, you’ll tell things to your parents and you’ll tell things to your teachers. And, let’s be honest, the things that you tell your friends, parents and teachers aren’t always completely true. You might exaggerate, fabricate, illuminate… or lie. You see, we’re all storytellers or, in other words, we are all tell-tales!
Use your own experiences. Try and write about what is familiar to you. Even if you are writing a fantasy story, think of what your characters are feeling and search your memory banks for when you felt like that.
Decide who you are writing for. What is your “target audience”? Don’t just write for yourself, you should be trying to make your reader FEEL something. You might want to scare them, surprise them, repulse them or make them laugh or even cry. The one thing you don’t want them to do is to put your story down! No one ever asked a librarian to find them the most boring book in the library… SO DON’T WRITE BORING STORIES!
No one ever wrote a story and got it right first time! I promise you – no matter how sure you are that your first attempt is perfect, you are wrong! Keep reading and checking and redrafting your work. You don’t have to completely re-do the story, but you can always improve it. Try and read your work as if you didn’t actually write it. Ask yourself if the person who is going to read your work is going to see the pictures in their minds that YOU want them to see. I know you would much rather write “THE END” as the first possible opportunity but resist that temptation. So the next time a teacher tells you to go back and have another go – THEY KNOW WHAT THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT!
Look for ways of saying what you want to say in as brief a way as possible. Try not to repeat yourself and don’t use too many long sentences! (I know that year 6 children are encouraged to write “complex sentences”, but you’ll rarely see two 20-plus-word sentences next to each other in book!)
K.I.S.S. don’t K.I.L.L. your work
Keep It Short and Simple don’t Keep It Long and Lengthy!
And finally… Artists use paint, shape and colour to make their pictures, but we’re all authors. All we have are words! By writing you are creating a world of words. And when someone reads your words they enter that world! Remember, the one with the pen has the power! And you’re the one with the pen. You can do anything and go anywhere in a story. You can even make your dreams come true.