Carolyn Reeder's hints for young writers . . . .
Inspiration isn’t enough. It takes a lot of rewriting and revising to end up with something you can be proud of and others will enjoy reading. If you start out with poems, character sketches, or short stories rather than a book, you’ll be able to rewrite and revise your work as many times as you need to without becoming discouraged because it seems to be taking forever.
To give your creativity a better chance, spend some time alone and unplugged.
When you’re “stuck,” try making your mind blank while you take part in some rhythmic activity like walking or swimming laps. Getting involved in mindless chores sometimes works, too.
If you’ve written dialogue, read it aloud to make sure it sounds the way people talk. (You might want to read the whole thing aloud to so you can tell if it “sounds right.”)
When you’ve done your very best and are completely satisfied with what you’ve written, put it away for a few weeks. When you get it out again, you’ll immediately see ways to make it even better.
Remember, there isn’t just one way to learn the writing craft. Find a way that feels comfortable to you and suits your own personal style. Here are a few possibilities:
- Take your notebook and pencil to a quiet private placeor sit down at the computerand simply get to work.
- Take a summer writing class.
- Take a journalism course at school.
- Have a parent sign you up for an online writing class.
- Read some books on writing.
- Work on the school paper.
- Find a mentor who will advise you and critique your workmaybe an older student whose writing you admire, maybe a librarian. (Some of the best advice from my mentors: Use strong, vivid verbs and avoid adverbs. Use sensory images to make bring your readers into the story. Don’t be “wordy”write most instead of the majority of.)
Whatever else you do, keep on reading good books, because that’s how you develop your “ear for language.”