Still time to get ... Wicked

Still thinking about competing to be this year's Wicked Young Writer? This week some tips from past winners to inspire your writing for this, any other competition or even just for pleasure ...

To begin, a quote from a past winner (co-winner 11-14 category in 2012) and three times finalist Sophie Max ...

“I credit the Wicked Young Writers’ Award with helping me find my voice as a writer and build my confidence. Having my winning story printed in the Anthology and read aloud by an actor from Wicked was a treasured moment. I have recently published my first book, lost and found, and I credit this award with being the first people to believe in me as a writer and so helping me to start this journey. The opportunities this award gives are unrivalled and I would urge every young writer to enter.”

Now her top five writing tips ...

1. Write down all your ideas! I carry a journal to jot down sparks of inspiration. If I don't have my journal to hand, I’ll use the Notes app on my phone.

2. I always say that I know my characters better than I know some real people in my life. Perhaps

its because I’m also an actress, but I think you’ve got to know them inside out to be able to get inside their head and write their experience authentically. You need to love them in order for your readers to love them!

3. Jump in at the deep end! Just write. Try and turn off your inner critic and let the words flow out. Don’t worry about the grammar, the structure, the word count. You can go back and edit later. I like to get some distance from my work by not looking at it for 2 weeks, then go back and re- red it: once for typos/spelling/grammar, then multiple times more for the sense, word choices and the story, to check I’m expressing myself exactly how I want to. Then, I leave it again for a week or two before starting the whole editing process again.

4. Inspire yourself! Meet interesting people, go to art galleries, watch plays and movies, read a variety of books, travel, keep up with the news, go for walks...you never know what might inspire you. Cultivate yourself because your writing comes from you- the more interested you are, the more interesting your work will be!

5. Each person has a different voice- your biggest power as an author is YOU. Write from your heart and imagination. Write what you’re passionate about. Never worry about what someone else thinks or mimic another writer- you won’t write the same as someone else and that is your strength!

GOOD LUCK AND HAPPY WRITING!!

Now some advice from Iona Mandal, age 11, joint winner in the 8-10 category of the Wicked Young Writer Awards, 2017...

Good writing needs practice and is best nurtured over time. Try to write something new every day for the joy of it and refine your work continuously with time and patience.

Good reading makes good writing. A latent idea often needs a spark to emerge. Good books inspire conceptualizing new plots besides helping barge onto unfamiliar territory and subjects. Technology is a blessing and can be used judiciously to boost online reading. I tend to rely on personal experiences, anecdotes or even stories passed down orally over generations in the family. These can be valuable repositories in framing characters and situations from myriad perspectives as one chooses. Research becomes crucial especially if one is delving onto subjects demanding historical authenticity in terms of dates or facts. But I also tend to let my imagination run wild.

An inquisitive and sensitive mind always helps. Observation, often deliberately or unknowingly (till it becomes almost second nature) can help one make mental notes to be later translated onto paper.

A good piece of writing oozes power and yet remains silent. Hence, handpicking right words or phrases is vital so as to express ones thoughts and feelings as eloquently as possible so as to touch a chord with the reader. Building one’s vocabulary always helps but what is more important is to appreciate the meaning and feel of words so as to enrich the quality of writing.

Clarity of thought comes from knowing what you wish to accomplish exactly. It is worth keeping the plot simple with a few well thought out characters. Imperfections and peculiarities always work, so avoid clichés.

Normal is boring. There is a big, wide world out there waiting to be explored!

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