Last week, I talked to three kids about writing. Two of them are a brother and sister, aged eight and ten. They are working on a book that he is writing, and she is drawing the pictures. The other kid is my best friend's daughter, and she is writing a scary story for Halloween.
These three young writers had lots of questions about how to tell stories, be creative, and get published. It made me think that there are probably many more kids out there wondering about these things, too.
So, parents of Inkling followers, gather your kids and sit down. This is a special edition of Creative Matters just for them. Let's learn the most important tips about starting as a writer!
How Do I Come Up With Ideas?
The first step in writing is finding ideas. But where do you find them? Actually, ideas can come from anywhere! Maybe a book you read, a movie you watched, or even a talk with a friend or parent.
A great way to find ideas is to explore the world around you. Go for a walk outside, visit a museum, or try something new. These experiences can make your imagination spark and give you plenty of ideas to write about. Great writers always keep their eyes open.
You can also keep a journal or a notebook where you write down your thoughts, dreams, and ideas. Sometimes a simple observation or thought can turn into a cool story. Remember, the best ideas can come when you least expect them, so be open to new possibilities.
What Tips Do You Have for Characters?
Characters are important in a story. They are what makes readers interested and excited. To create a great character, you need to think about what they look like and what they are like on the inside.
On the outside, think about what your character looks like and describe them so readers can imagine them. On the inside, think about their personality, where they come from, and what motivates them. What makes them special? What are they good at, and what are they not so good at?
You can also give your characters unique traits and qualities. Think about their appearance, what they like or don't like, and any funny habits they have. These details make your characters come alive and help readers remember them. Also, think about the experiences they had in the past that shaped who they are now.
Don't forget to think about how your characters get along with each other. Relationships between characters can create conflict, excitement, and strong emotions. You can explore different types of relationships like friendships, romantic relationships, or even enemies.
Here's a cool tip: Watch Pixar movies. They have amazing characters. Choose a favorite character and think about them. Why is Lightning McQueen mean to the cars in Radiator Springs? Why do Woody and Buzz fight all the time? Why is Joy obsessed with everyone being happy? Answering these questions will help you practice creating your own characters.
I'm Stuck on What Happens in My Story. What Can I Do?
Sometimes, writing a story can be hard, and you may not know what to write next. The events in your story are called the plot. It's like a road map for your story, and it keeps people interested.
To create an interesting plot, think about the problem your character will face. What's at stake? What does your character want to achieve?
Next, think about the events and challenges your character will face on their journey. These challenges could be physical, emotional, or related to other characters. Each event should move the story forward and bring your character closer to their goal.
Make sure to add tension and suspense to your plot. Add unexpected surprises to keep readers on the edge of their seats!
Lastly, make sure your story has a satisfying ending. Wrap up loose ends, answer important questions, and give your readers a sense of closure. That will make them feel happy and fulfilled.
How Can I Get My Work Published?
Getting your work published is a great goal! Don't all authors want to see their work in a real book?
But remember, getting published takes a lot of work. Finishing your story is just the first step—you also need to revise.
What's revising? It means going back and making your story even better. Take a break from your story for a while. It might be hard because you're excited, but stepping away helps you see what needs to be fixed.
When you’re ready to read the story again, think about what is working well in your story. What parts are you proud of? What parts do you think readers will love?
Think about where readers might need more information or get confused. Put yourself in their shoes. Are there any parts where they need more details about your character or the events? Those are the areas you need to work on.
Revising your story is hard work and it takes time. But it feels great to put thought and effort into something you want to show others.
You can also submit your work to places that publish stories by young authors. If your story isn't accepted right away, don't worry. It's not a bad thing—it just means it wasn't the right fit for them at that time.
You can also publish your own book! Ask your mom or dad to help you find websites where you can create your own books.
Need more ideas? Ask your mom or dad to help you download The Ultimate Writing Project Workbook! It's mainly made for adults, but with a little help, you can do the activities and get more ideas for your stories.
Good luck! Keep writing and having fun!