Being a writer is great: you get to make things up, invent worlds and populate them with characters, and unlike real life you can change the bits you don't like. It can also be hard work if you want your writing to stand out, to entertain your readers, making them laugh and cry. Writing is like anything choose to do from the heart – the more you practice the better you get. So jump in an try out your story ideas – you've got nothing to lose.
Plenty of published authors started out writing at a young
age: Australian novelist and Astrid Lindgren Memorial
Award-winner Sonya Hartnett wrote her first book at 13
and had it published at 15; South Australian Lauren Fuge's
When Courage Comes to Call was published when she
was 17; Christopher Pasolini had Eragon published when
he was 19. Looks like it's never too early to start!
Here are some writing tips:
- have fun with what you're writing ...
- ... and don't take yourself too seriously
- don't expect what you write to be perfect – not first time – authors work hard redrafting and polishing
- learn the art of watching people, see how they interact and how situations work out
- let you imagination run riot
- let yourself daydream
- write down interesting images from your night dreams
- ask yourself 'what would happen if?'
- read as often and as widely as you can, always asking how and why the author chose to write scenes, characters and plots that way
- keep a notebook
- experiment with different styles of writing
- learn by reading critically – stopping to ask questions as you read – how published authors set out dialogue, description, chapters
- if you get stuck try writing in a different location
- always have a second or third project on the go in case you get stuck working on your current one
- believe in yourself and don't give up
A good way to test your skill is to enter competitions – you might even win something – and it's a great way to make you think differently about your writing. You have to start looking at it with a more critical eye, polishing drafts until you get it right. But don't get upset or down-hearted if you don't win; remember, there'll be a lot of other youngsters entering their work and judges' tastes and interests vary. If you've got something ready to go you could try our 'Competitions' page.
The SA Writers Centre has a $15 Youth Membership, which gets you a whole swag of cool stuff. Check it out!