Grab a cuppa and enjoy our latest Guest Post, Top Tips for Budding Authors by Andy Shepherd, author of The Boy Who Grew Dragons series.
The Boy Who Sang With Dragons, flew out on 7th January 2021. I devoured it! What a warm, heart-felt ending to this endearing series. I love the sense of friendship and family that pervades Andy’s series, brilliantly mixed with the magical dragons… of course. Joyful!
1. Be like Tomas, the little boy in my book, and keep your eyes wide open. (You have to really when you’re growing a dragon!)
You need your eyes open because ideas are buzzing round us all the time, the trick is to notice them.
2. Once you’ve spotted an idea, the next thing you have to do is grow it into a story. And this is where the hard work comes in.
But a good place to start is being curious – ask lots of questions about your idea.
The other day I spotted a rusty key left on the ground at a petrol station. It was just a key. But I couldn’t help wondering what it unlocked. A suitcase? A door? A safe? And what might be found inside? And what was going to happen to what was inside now the key was lost?
We are surrounded by ordinary things – but if you add some imagination and keep asking questions – you never know where it will take you.
3. Once you start noticing all these ideas whizzing around you’ll be surprised at how many there are – so you might need somewhere to keep them all. This is why writers often carry notebooks. Though I store mine in my phone these days too. Or on old envelopes, or the back of my hand… anywhere so I don’t forget them!
4. When you start writing, write the story that excites you. If you enjoy reading it then the chances are someone else will too.
5. Write a lot and don’t settle for the first draft. And definitely don’t be afraid of criticism – use it to make your writing even better. All writers write and rewrite their stories lots of times. (And I mean lots of times!)
6. The main thing that will help with writing is to surround yourself with stories.
That might be reading loads of wonderful books – and here I’d stress that doesn’t have to be what other people think you should read. Read whatever it is you love. Because if you love it, you’ll naturally want to read more and more.
But also if you find reading hard remember you can listen to books too. I listen to loads of stories as audio books and I borrow CDs from the library. I love that way of accessing stories.
I also watch lots of films, a good film can tell you a great deal about creating a satisfying plot and characters.
7. And finally, let yourself get bored. And if you can, get outside.
Because when you have a bit of time and space that’s when your brain starts inventing stuff to fill in the gap. That’s when ideas really start whizzing about.
I wonder if you could grow a dragon like Tomas, what would your dragon be like? Maybe you could even grow a story about them?
Happy dragon growing and happy writing!