Sunday, July 5, 2015


Hellooooo, writers!

I'm so glad you stopped by.

In my book (ha!), there is nothing better than writing. I love coming up with fun settings, creating characters, causing trouble for my characters--and then letting them find their way out of that trouble. I also love researching and learning about new topics--and then writing about all the cool things I've discovered.

I always have something in mind to write about and I figure many of you do as well. So, to celebrate the beginning of a new school year, I decided to tweet some of my favorite writing tips. My Twitter handle is @KatyDuffield, and I'll be using the hashtag #Tips4YoungWriters. Beginning Tuesday September 29th, 'll add a new tip each Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. I hope you find them useful!

I'll also keep a running list of tips here on this blog post. That way, you can review them or see any that you may have missed.

If you have special writing tips of your own, please add them in the Comments section. That way, we can all help each other!

~Happy Writing!



1. Write your first draft FAST! Just get it on paper.
2. Observe everything! Ideas are all around you.
3. Make sure your characters are active. Make them "do-ers"!
4. Read your story aloud. Does it "flow"?
5. Make a list of problems your main character might face.
6. Always carry a writer's notebook. Record what you see, hear, smell, feel.
7. Try writing or illustrating a book with a buddy.
8. Write a story from the END to the BEGINNING.
9. Take a walk. Take your notebook. What do you see, smell, feel, hear?
10. Brainstorm a list of goofy/futuristic/spooky/ancient settings. What story could take place there?
11. Even if it's not perfect, always try to finish your story. You can always "fix" it later.
12. Read the kinds of books you'd like to write.
13. Rewrite. Rewrite. Rewrite. Revision will make your story stronger. I promise.
14. Record thoughts/ideas/dreams/descriptions/feelings in your writer's notebook.
15. If you were your character, how would you feel in his/her situation? What would you do?
16. Practice being an observer of people, places, things.
17. Brainstorm three new endings for your story. Which works best?
18. Stuck on a story? Sometimes it's hard. Trust yourself and keep going!
19. Let your main character solve his/her own problem.
20. Dialogue between characters needs to move the story forward--it needs to have a purpose.
21. Write a one-sentence summary of your story. This can guide you as you revise.
22. Write a poem about something that scares you. Now, write a story on that same topic.
23. The first draft is NEVER the final draft. Look it over. Make it better.
24. Aren't sure what comes next in your story? Ask: What if [blank] happens? Make a list. Explore your favorites.
25. As you write, imagine your story unfolding like a movie. What do you see in your mind's eye?
26. Need a story idea? Mash two unlike things together.
27. Make us root for your character.
28. Never give up!
29. Strive for a distinct beginning, middle, and end.
30. Don't be afraid to try new things with your writing.
31. Leave out everything that doesn't advance your story.
32. Your first (or 2nd or 3rd) draft won't be perfect. Keep working!
33. Write the kids of stories you love to read.
34. Go to the library every week--every day even!
35. Write every day. If you have time to surf the Web, you have time to write.
36. Keep an extra notebook by your bed.
37. Make an outline using your favorite story or book. Study the structure.
38. Find an interesting photo. Write a story about it.
39. Interview your characters. What they tell you might surprise you!
40. Exercise your body. It helps your brain.
41. Don't TELL us how your character feels. SHOW us through his/her actions.
42. Brainstorm ten new titles for your work-in-progress
43. Make a list of the worst things that could happen to your character to keep him/her from reaching his/her goal
44. Trade stories with a friend. Critique each other's work. Be kind and constructive.
45. Write every day--even if it's only for ten minutes.
46. Use strong verbs. Instead of "she walked slowly," try "she meandered."
47. Spelling and grammar are TRULY important, BUT they can wait until after the first draft to be corrected.
48. Let your story "rest" for a week before revising.
49. Are you interested in a particular topic? Research! Write!
50. Even when it's hard--even when you don't know what to write next, keep going!
51. If you don't know what comes next in your story, ask: What if...?
52. Write a story from the END to the BEGINNING.
53. Your character should have a problem and a want.