Monday, September 5, 2011

Writing Tips from Fiona Ingram




Writing can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of your life. There are many reasons a person decides to write: to share their life’s experiences, to tell a good story, to express the feelings and situations of others—the list is endless. Some people even write just for fun. I wrote my book because I visited Egypt with my two nephews and wanted to write a short story to help them remember a special time. To my surprise, the short story turned into a book, and then a book series. So, you never know what’s going to happen once you begin!

Any good story is composed of two important elements: a really gripping plot and realistic, believable characters.

·      How to Choose a Great Story Topic:
Write about what you know best, or what excites you, or what you enjoy. Do you love reading about faraway exciting places? Then research a place you find interesting and set your story there. Do you enjoy mysteries? Think about something that’ll keep people guessing. Are you good at a skill or a sport? Set your story around a character with those abilities.

·      How to Construct your Storyline:
Structure is very important, otherwise your story will fall to pieces. So begin with a simple 3-point system: the Beginning (your hero appears—what is he doing? What does he want to achieve?); the Middle (something will happen to him and he has to …?); the Ending (your hero resolves the situation). From those three vital points, you will fill in your other plot points—how did… why did… what happens next.

·      Make Your Characters as Interesting as Possible:
Tip: take them from real life examples. You could write about someone like yourself, or else model the characters on friends at school, teachers, or other people you know. The dialogue between your characters is also important because that’s one place to develop the plot line. Don’t forget to break your dialogue with various activities so that readers don’t get bogged down in lots of talking but no action.

·      The Hard Part:
If you love what you’re writing about and you trust your imagination, then writing will be as fun and exciting as you can imagine. However, two important elements must never be forgotten: research and grammar.

Research will be necessary whether your story is set in the real world, or if it’s an imaginary, fantasy, or sci-fi land. Make notes before and during your writing process. Your heroes are likely to be around your audience's ages, so think about how they are going to get places and achieve things. If they are travelling, are they alone (not likely) and will they need assistance (possibly)? If they are in a foreign country, then make sure your facts are accurate. How did they get there, who are they with, and how are they going to accomplish their task/challenge? If it’s a fantasy setting, then make sure you don’t lose track of your characters and the various places and items found in your fantasy world. Make your own research notes relevant to your fantasy land.

Grammar is very important, otherwise your readers will never get through the first few pages. Make sure you use your spelling and grammar check on your computer (if you’re using one) and your dictionary and style guide (if you’re writing by hand).

A final piece of advice: writing should be fun and exciting. Just enjoy yourself and let your imagination take you to places you only ever dreamed of.
           



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