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Wicked Young Writer Awards: Six tips with Lauren Child

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First News is working with the Wicked Young Writer Awards to help inspire young people to get writing! The acclaimed award seeks songs, poems, stories, and scripts to encourage young people to use writing to view the world a little differently.

Each year, a special prize giving event is held at the Apollo Victoria Theatre for all 120 finalists. The event is attended by judges and the Wicked cast, and includes special performances, workshops and readings of the winning entries. All finalists also receive a copy of the Wicked Young Writer Awards Anthology.

To help you get started with your entry to the awards, check out these six tips from Lauren Child, the current Waterstones’ Children’s Laureate and author of the Charlie and Lola series:

  1. Try not to think about what other people might expect from you. Instead, write about something you feel passionate about, something you really want to share with the reader. It is your unique voice telling the story so make it personal, original and from your heart.
  2. Try not to worry too much about writing “rules”. You might want to start with a line of dialogue or in the middle of a thought, launching your reader right into the story. You could write the end first! Keep it simple. You don’t need lots of fancy words to tell a great story. Write something you would like to read
  3. When you are writing something that is short, you want to make every word count. If it’s not snappy enough, it gets rather tiring for the reader. What you must think is, what are you really trying to say with your story?
  4. Writing is all about observing, so take the trouble to be quite still and notice things about the world around you. Fragments of conversation, how people put a sentence together, the way they move, the clothes they chose to wear. These details tell you a lot about a person and will make a character believable. Observations are very important. Write these things down – they will very likely come in handy.
  5. Read your story aloud to your friends or family. Listen to their feedback but also remember that you have written about something that matters to you and trust that.
  6. Read a lot. It teaches you how other authors do it.