Tips for Writers: from a 9 year old

Updated: Oct 26, 2019

Katelyn Turner - our 9 year old blogger

Our first guest blogger, 9-year-old Katelyn Turner (avid reader, occasional writer, gymnast and slime fanatic) provides writing tips from a child’s perspective.

This is what makes me want to read your book:

A good story needs a good ending. If you are enjoying reading a book and the ending is bad you feel like you’ve wasted your time. In a bad story you wont even get to the end. A book isn’t just words – it’s a whole experience. I like to read series of books so the ending of one book needs to be a beginning and an ending!

Also, choose your words carefully. Instead of using ‘big’ use ‘huge’ or ‘enormous.’ You need to feed me with nice big words. Or colossal words.

When I choose a book the blurb on the back is important to me because I use that to make up my mind whether to read it or not. I also like a book title that sounds exciting or mysterious. When I read a story I want to feel excited and I want to find out about the person who wrote it.

A storyline that makes the characters face a challenge is good. In the book I have just read a police officer caught his own son doing something wrong and I felt sorry for him. It’s satisfying when the story makes you feel an emotion. It’s like when you blush – you can’t help it.

I think you should plan the story backwards and find your way back to the beginning. The first sentence is important because it is your first impression. It gives you a taste. If you don’t like the taste you’ll spit it back out! It’s important that the ending makes sense. Before you write the end go back and read the rest of the story again so that you experience it as the reader and not the writer. Check that everything mixes together well. Think about when the reader wants more details. Building a story is like building a den – when you’re sat inside it and you get wet you haven’t made the roof properly. So you have to sit inside your book and test it before anyone else gets in.

Ideas are invisible. They just arrive in your brain and can come from anywhere. You might be reading something or looking at a picture and then an idea pops into your mind. If you want to be writer you have to read other books. It’s like learning to do a cartwheel – you have to watch other people to see how it’s done.

I like to read before I go to bed. It’s funny that grown-ups say that it’s relaxing because sometimes I’ll go to sleep worrying about the characters. In the book I’m reading now a unicorn has been lost for ages and I’m worried about where it could be. I think the villain has taken her. Good stories have good villains. Villains usually have special powers that they do selfish things with, or they do things that other people wouldn’t do to get control.

I care about the characters in my books. Some characters are only there for a few pages, but the characters I spend more time with are the characters that I care about more. Why do I turn to the next page? Usually because the sentence hasn’t finished!

Reading is important, interesting and fun. It’s nice to snuggle up with a book and take your mind somewhere else. You can be sat on your own with a headful of characters. Keep writing books because the world would be a sadder place without them. If there weren’t any stories in the world what would we tell each other?

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