Kathy Helidoniotis
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Writing Tips

Writing Tips

If you'd like to have a go at writing a story, try some of these tips. They helped me write mine!

Getting Started

  1. Read as much as you can. Reading for a writer is a bit like lessons for a musician or training for a soccer player. The more you read the better your writing will become as you soak up the techniques and language of other writers.
  2. Find a place to write. Some writers like quiet to write in, some can write in a busy, noisy place. Whatever works!
  3. Plan your story. Write lots and lots of ideas down about the setting, plot and characters.
  4. Just start!

Getting Ideas

  1. Carry a notepad and pen with you everywhere you go then listen and watch. It's okay to eavesdrop when you're a writer – you may get a great idea!
  2. It's okay to soak up ideas from other writers. Try telling an old story with a new twist and new characters.
  3. It's sometimes useful to write about things that have happened to you or things you really love.
  4. Ask the question "What if?" - what if polar bears ruled the world? What if trees could talk? What if we were born old and got younger? What would happen then?
  5. Clip out interesting articles from newspapers – you may get a great idea for a story.
  6. Daydream!
  7. Keep a journal of ideas and dip into it whenever you get stuck.

Creating Characters

  1. They should be believable. Try giving each one a certain habit.
  2. Take all the interesting (or terrible) parts of the people you know and blend them all together to cook up a unique character.
  3. Give them a name that suits their personalities, or is the complete opposite – whatever works for you and the story. A villain called Justice, a cynic called Hope.
  4. Write from your protagonist's point of view.

Writing Your Story

  1. Try to write a really interesting opening to your story – it should grab the reader's attention.
  2. Make your plot more interesting by revealing details piece by piece as the story unfolds.
  3. Use fresh language and avoid clichés – they're tired and boring.
  4. Be descriptive.
  5. Make use of the senses. How do the things you're describing look, sound, taste, feel, smell?
  6. Write lots of dialogue.

Finishing Your Story

  1. End it well. Don't go on and on.
  2. Read the story out loud to yourself.
  3. Get someone else to read it and tell you what they think.
  4. Check your spelling and grammar.

Improving Your Story

  1. Show don't tell.
  2. Don't use the passive when you can use the active.
  3. Don't use a long word when a short one will do.
  4. Ask yourself if the story flows. Would the story be better if you changed the order?
  5. Take out any boring words and make sure you haven't repeated yourself or used bad English.
  6. Practice your writing as much as you can. The more you write the better you'll be at writing.
  7. Never give up. Re-write and re-write until your story is as perfect (or close to perfect) as it can be.


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