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Ideas for Writers of All Ages

Writing fiction is a skill and an art. Here are some ideas for anyone who wants to be a better writer, and ideas for parents to encourage young writers.

1. Capture ideas when they come. Inspiration can come from many sources, so be ready to write down ideas in a notebook, an app on your phone or even just a scrap of paper.

2. Get inspired. Inspiration can come from many sources. Read books, watch movies, really listen to the lyrics in songs. Conversations with friends can give you ideas for scenes in your story. Becoming a good listener and observer of the world around you will help you to get ideas anywhere you are.

3. Get in the zone. Make your own creative atmosphere. This can be done by playing a certain kind of music, finding a quiet place in your home, or going to the same coffee shop to write. Giving ourselves time and space to be creative opens up the mind to let creativity flow. It is helpful to set aside distractions, like our phones, so that we can write without interruptions.

4. Get feedback. Ask friends and family for their thoughts and ideas. There are also online forums and groups that can help you with writing. Sometimes having outside thoughts and opinions can show you things you may have missed or help to strengthen your writing.

5. When you’re stuck, go back. When you feel that a story isn’t progressing the way you would like it to, go back and re-read what you have already written. Is there a part that needs to change? Judy Corry says that this often helps her to get unstuck and move the story forward.

6. Know your characters. As writers, its important to be true to the character. That means you have to have a strong understanding of each person in the story, and know what they would do and how they would act in any situation. This makes a story believable and enjoyable for the reader.

7. Leave wanting to do more. Judy Corry suggests stopping your writing session in the middle of a scene rather than at the end. This way, you come back knowing where to go and excited about the next part of the story, rather than facing the daunting emptiness of a blank page. It can also be helpful to jot down a few ideas of what you were planning on writing in the next session.

8. Encourage storytelling. Our children will exercise their creative muscles when we make storytelling a part of our family life. Tell stories together, and let your child be a part of the process. Making up stories is a great bedtime routine, or a way to pass the miles on a long car ride.

9. Encourage writing. Children can write their stories and give them as gifts to family members and close friends. When people show an interest in a child’s story, they will be encouraged to continue writing and sharing their ideas. As a parent, celebrate rather than critique.

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