In 2019, at the age of 15, Denika Mead published her first book, Royal Orchid: The Death-Hunters, closely followed by a second during lockdown. In November 2020, she released the third in the Royal Orchid series, The Ghost Warriors. Read on to hear her favourite tips for becoming a young writer.
Along my writing and self-publishing journey, I have had a lot of encouragement and support. My top 5 pieces of advice for young aspiring writers that others have shared with me are:
Read, read and read some more. Read new books or re-read your favourites. This gives you the experience of being the reader and seeing how plots are developed. Reading a wide variety of authors and genres show you different writing styles and character voices. Read what you love, but also try to include a few books outside of your normal range so you can experience other styles of writing.
2. Get Feedback
It’s really important to share your work with friends, teachers and family and ask them for feedback. This gives you a fresh perspective on your writing and other people may pick up on things that you missed. I’ve found that a great way to get feedback is by entering writing competitions. Having a deadline, a word count and genre or theme is a great challenge. Check out these websites for information on competitions and submission opportunities. Young New Zealand Writers, Toi Toi magazine and Write On magazine.
3. Book Reviews
Writing book reviews increases your writing experience. It is a great way to support other authors and gain skills in looking critically at writing. Hooked on Books, provides young writers the opportunity to review a range of books. You can also place reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.
4. Don’t Give Up!
Remember to not give up. There will be challenging parts along the way, but it’s all worth it at the end. It’s also important to keep in mind that the first draft isn’t supposed to be perfect. Your manuscript will get better as you edit. Finding a supportive writing group is a good way to stay motivated. It’s helpful to talk to other writers so you can share feedback.
5. Set a Goal
My final piece of advice is to set writing goals. This could be around a word count, ‘I’ll write 500 words a day.’ Or it can be something related to writing, ‘I want to join a writing group.’ This is a great way to stay motivated and immersed in your project.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to keep writing and have fun. So what are you waiting for? Start writing!
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