Saturday, 31 May 2014

New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2014

Advice to Young Writers from Yvonne Morrison

Shortlisted in the Picture Book Section of the 2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults for
The Three Bears (Sort Of) Illustrated by Donovan Bixley

Photo: Thanks to Yvonne Morrison
Just two things: read and practise.

The more you read good writing, the more you will get a feeling for what works and what doesn’t. You might want to keep a notebook, and if you come across a really striking sentence or clever simile, jot it down.

Then – practise. You don’t have to write complete stories when you practise your writing. Paragraphs, or even sentences are fine. What you want to do is re-craft your work to make it as interesting as possible. Character or scene descriptions are a good starting point. Observe people around you. How would you describe them in a few sentences?

Many writers like the phrase “Show, don’t tell,” and so do I! How much better it is to write: “The man’s skin was wrinkled like discarded tissue paper, and as he shuffled forward I imaged I could hear his tired joints creak…” rather than “The man was old…”

Okay – now it’s your turn. How would you describe: a crying newborn baby, a rough looking criminal, a busy young mum?

From: Too Good to Miss Volume 2 May 2011

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