The more your child writes, the more he or she will improve—and perhaps even enjoy it. Writing doesn’t just happen. It’s a skill that develops slowly after much practice. Reading is indispensable for writers, no matter what they read or what they want to write.

Stir children’s imagination: Kids from rival families fall in love. There was a secret world of wizards living among us. Animals lived under a communist regime. What if everything a man touched turned to gold?

Encouragement: the biggest help for artists of any kind is to believe in them. We already doubt our skills enough as it is. Be very interested and tell them they can do whatever they put their mind to. Do not say that it’s just a phase or treat it like it’s just a phase.

Critique with caution: Writers will often ask for feedback; make SURE they want honest feedback before you say anything negative. You might want to try this conversation:

“Do you want honest feedback?”
“Even if it’s negative?”
“Are you sure?”
“So if I think it’s complete terrible you want me to tell you that?”
“YES, I can handle it if it’s bad. It will just make me better.”

Plan the story – by using the 5Ws and How:

  1. Where the story is going to take place. It could be fictional or real. It could be a planet, country, town or a house – anywhere.

2 When the story is taking place – Now? In the future? In the past?

3. What they think is going to happen. Many of the best writers say their plots develop as they write. If they do have a firm idea of where they want to go with the plot, they can create an outline by completing a story planner, which could look something like this:

  • First….
  • Then…
  • Next…
  • And finally….

4 Characterization: Who is going to be in the story. How they want their readers to feel about each character?  Why did a certain thing happen? They may want to jot some ideas down. You could make a table for them to help them organize their thoughts, with these headings:

  • Name of character
  • Relationship to other characters
  • What he/she looks like
  • Behaviour

5 Story language: Think of some fabulous words to use in their story writing. They might be long words or simple ones,  great descriptive words or words that help create pace and tension. Encourage your child to jot these down and refer to the list as they write their story.

6 Story starters: All writers know that you’ve got to capture the attention of your readers right from the start; you want to make them desperate to read on. Think of some good story openers that’ll entice people to find out more. Here are a few examples:

First sentences that are mysterious…
Molly had no sense of the day that lay ahead.

Story starters that use tricks like alliteration (tongue twisters ie: Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers)
The house was damp, dark and dreadfully dusty when Molly stepped inside.

Story openers that create tension…
Molly could hear her heart beating faster and faster. Could this really be happening?

Stories that go straight into dialogue…
“But I don’t want to go to school, Mom,” groaned Molly.

Encourage your child to look at some of the books they like to read and see how they begin.

7 Get writing! Once they’ve got all of these ideas in place, they can start writing. They could do a draft in the first instance and then a neat, polished version later. They may wish to write in short chapters, use illustrations, or make their own book to write in – let them use their imagination and creativity when it comes to presentation, and make sure you show how much you value the end product by keeping it to read again with the other books in your house.

If your child finds writing a story a little daunting,

start with something small.

Unleash the novel inside you!

Write a great story, that needs to be told,

with compelling characters,

intricate worlds,

and fine-tuned prose.

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“Linda has published sixteen books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on the challenges a writer faces, including marketing and promoting your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews and how to self-publish. She has mentored many authors and edited their work.”