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  • Writer's pictureB. E. Padgett

5 Things I Tell Kids Who Want to Write Novels!

1. Your Stories Matter!

When I talk to young writers, I ask two questions, one is “What do you write?” and the other is “Why do you write it?”

With just these two questions, I get an idea of what you enjoy writing and the reasons you write.

For instance, when I was a kid, I loved to write stories about kids being awesome and adventurous. What I write. 

I had five siblings. We were always arguing and getting into mischief. But we were always there for each other. I wanted to read stories that reflected my own life. Why I write.

It is not surprising that decades later I am still writing these types of stories. They mattered to me then. They still matter to me now.

If you want that story to exist, then there is someone who wants it too. It may not be everyone but there will be an audience. Just like not everyone wants to read stories about siblings having adventures and learning how to get along. People have different interests. I like to believe that a story needs to be told, there is someone somewhere who needs to hear it.

Tell the stories you love, the ones who want to read, the ones that bring you joy, and you will find your reader.

2. Write, Write, Write!

I love hearing from young writers about the amount of writing they do. In particular, writing at home and outside of school. If you were anything like me as a kid, it would be hard not to write.

As a middle schooler, I had more time to do leisure writing. Things change as we get older. Academics get harder. You get a job. You go to college. These things can take up the time we have to write our stories.

When you get busy or have more responsibilities, it gets harder to keep up writing. Reminding ourselves that even writing a little can get us closer and closer to our goals.

Sometimes this means setting aside moments for writing or participating in events that give us the time to write.

3. Read in the Genre You Want to Write In

Like I mentioned before, every story has a reader. And these readers have expectations! If you want your story to resonate with your audience, you need to know what they expect in their genre.

If you want to write fantasy but have never read a fantasy book, which could make it difficult to understand world-building. If you want to write about a giant jellyfish who is terrorizing the Atlantic Ocean, then reading things about jellyfish and the Atlantic Ocean can only improve your story!

However, writers do break the rules of genre writing. Breaking the rules in art and writing is a common occurrence! But you need to know the rules to break them, or they won’t work for your audience.

4. Yes, Grammar and Spelling Are Important, but…

The story comes first! Grammar and spelling are an essential part of English. They help us understand what we are reading. We need it. But I was a kid who struggled with spelling and grammar. I felt like I could never finish anything!

It was a huge relief when I realized I could write a story first and make corrections later. I gave myself permission to write what was on my heart and let my mind edit it afterward.

Use those words you don’t know how to spell but are perfect for the scene. Don’t sweat over that comma. Don’t be offended by the squiggly colored line that says you made a mistake. Because and it’s a big because… no one is perfect at grammar and spelling.

Writers need help too, and we get it in a few different ways. When I am editing my novel, I use tools like spelling and grammar checkers. I read the words out loud to see how they sound. I get other people to help read my book for mistakes or problems.

And after all that, I have an editor who polishes everything up.

5. Join Writing Groups!

Nothing makes me write more, meet my deadlines more, or excites me more about writing than being in a writer’s group.

There are many opportunities to learn about writing and meet others just as passionate as you. Take a creative writing class in school. Join a writing club. Visit a library event.  Check out an online young writer’s program. There are so many ways you can find writers just like yourself.

I did many writing groups both in high school and college. Today I am a part of several. I’ve made great friends who help encourage me to meet my goals and problem-solve issues.

Check your school or local library for these groups.


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