Are you a young person who is burning to write a book? Do you love reading children’s stories and want to see if you can write too?
It’s never too soon (or too late) to start. Some people start young. Did you know that Mary Shelley was only 18 when she began work on Frankenstein? If you’re a young person, you won’t want to read this until you’re older; it’s a bit scary. Equally, some authors get going later in life. JRR Tolkien, who wrote the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, started in his mid-forties.
We were amazed to discover that the Guinness World Record for being the youngest person ever to publish a book was set by a four-year-old. Saeed Rashed AlMheiri holds the title for his book, The Elephant Saeed and the Bear. Wow, that is impressive.
Anyway, however old you are (or aren’t), you might want a few tips on getting going. As children’s book illustrators and authors, too, we’ve got a few ideas for you here.
- Read a lot!
Reading is the basis of good writing. Read lots of different sorts of stories from different genres – comedies, thrillers, poems, plays, anything that takes your fancy. This will help you expand your vocabulary, get ideas for how to write, and help you develop your style.
2. Write a lot!
You know the saying, practice makes perfect? This applies to writing. So, put some time away every day to write a little bit. Read back what you have written and see if you can make it better.
3. Start small
It’s a good idea to write some short stories or poems to start with. Maybe you could write a story on a favourite topic, or food, or activity. Don’t worry if you’re not ready to write a whole book yet, you’ll get there eventually. Take your time.
4. Make a plan
Before you begin, take a bit of time to jot down ideas and maybe a plot or some structure. This will help when you start writing your story because you’ll have organised your thoughts already and have an outline of your ideas, so your writing should flow.
5. Write about what you love
Pick things that interest you, as it will be much easier to write about them, and it will be more fun. So, if you love spiders, write about them. If you love chocolate (who doesn’t?), then go for it.
6. Be descriptive
Using describing words will bring your writing to life. So, talk about what things look like, what people are wearing, what the scenery is like, what sounds and smells there are. Put yourself there in your mind’s eye and relay that to your readers.
7. Go back and make changes
Even professional writers rarely get it right the first time. They go back and reread their work and edit it. Sometimes they scrub out whole pages or chapters and redo them. Don’t be afraid to edit and improve your text. Something you also need to check carefully is your spelling and your grammar.
8. Ask for feedback
Why not share your writing with a parent, sibling, or a trusted friend? They might come up with some great ideas to improve your story and your writing. Other people’s advice can be very useful.
You don’t have to stick to one style. You can try anything you like. Some famous authors even use different names to write different styles of books. Did you know that Harry Potter author JK Rowling uses the name Robert Galbraith to write stories about a detective called Cormoran Strike?
10. Be creative and enjoy it!
Writing is a great way to lose yourself in an activity. It’s an opportunity to let your imagination run wild, so go for it.
Remember, writing is a journey, and every writer develops at their own pace. Enjoy the process, be patient with yourself, and keep honing your skills. Happy writing!
And at Happydesigner, we’re thrilled that we have some new books out soon, written by our very own Sarah-Leigh, including more in the Gillie series. Watch this space for more details!
Written by Jo Smyth (www.wordworker.co.uk)