Are your kids at the age where they are blooming into accomplished creative writers? Then you know that creative writing can be challenging, but it is a skill that can be learned and honed.
Who better to learn from than successful authors with years of experience! Here we’ve put together five excellent pieces of advice from well-known and renowned writers for you and your kids:
1. “Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea forever.”
– Will Self, author of Umbrella, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize
Will Self is an English novelist and journalist with a distinguished writing career. He has written ten novels, three novellas, five collections of non-fiction writing and five short stories. His writing frequently touches upon deep topics including mental illness and psychiatry.
PRO TIP: Great writers are great observers. Pay attention to your surroundings and make notes so you don’t forget the big ideas and the smaller details.
2. “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time — or the tools — to write. Simple as that.”
– Stephen King, author of The Shining (1977), later adapted into film (1980)
Known as the “King of Horror”, Stephen has written 64 books and over 200 short stories covering genres like supernatural fiction, horror stories, fantasy and science fiction. Many of his award-winning pieces of writing have been adapted into films and TV shows. Despite his prolific writing, the author still makes it a point to read 70 books every year. His trick involves teaching yourself to read in small sips as well as in long swallows.
PRO TIP: Make sure you read a lot and regularly. Reading will give you the tools you need to write well.
3. “Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”
– William Faulkner, author of The Sound of Fury (1929)
William Faulkner is a prolific American writer and Nobel Prize winner wrote several novels, short stories, essays, poetry and screenplays. He is generally considered the greatest writer of Southern literature. He made frequent use of the ‘stream of consciousness’ in his writing.
PRO TIP: Read then replicate. Explore new books and challenge yourself with a variety of content. Then try writing it.
4. “Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed.”
– Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451 (1953), an award-winning novel
Ray Bradbury was an American author and screenwriter known for his imaginative novels and short stories. He made it a point to write every day throughout his life, and released 27 novels and numerous short stories before his death at 91 in 2012.
PRO TIP: Aim to write MORE pieces, not perfect pieces. Practice will make you a better writer.
5. “When you’re stuck, and sure you’ve written absolute garbage, force yourself to finish and THEN decide to fix or scrap it – or you will never know if you can.”
– Jodi Picoult, author of Wish You Were Here
Jodi Picoult is an award-winning American writer, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 28 novels. She has sold over 40 million copies of her books, popular fiction novels considered family sagas. A lot of her writing involves moral issues and covers a variety of controversial topics.
PRO TIP: Even if you hate how it started, finish writing no matter what.