There seems no beginning to pin point the exact time I started writing. It is not necessary, but I do remember when I really began finishing things. I think, as a writer, it is extremely important to finish the things you start. If they are lousy, it doesn`t matter. The point of writing a lot of things, for me, is not necessarily that they will be good. It is not a bad thing to write things, way back in your room, that will never be seen by anyone but you. It`s called practice. I remember, when I was very small, starting so many to-be novels. I`d dream up some awkward but manageable story and write two ‘chapters’; most of these have been torn up by now. Don`t put a limit on your writing. If you say, ” I`m going to make this a novel.” It may turn into a long boring sludge, which could have been perfectly delightful as a short story. I am in love with short stories; they are so fun to write. Plus, the wraps of paper look very comely on my desk. Anyway, after teeter-tottering, I started writing poems, and that went rather well, but I always went back to wanting to write fiction like Lucy Maud Montgomery and Charles Dickens! Then some of our school plans changed and I met a lovely lady showing a group of us grammar, diagraming sentences, and collecting and using others’ works to learn. Most of all we wrote, and she made it make sense, and fun, and encouraged me to keep going. Later, I wrote a little story about my poor rooster Temnin, whom I raised from a chick. It`s never a bad thing to write what you know; in fact, some people say you should not try to add too much other stuff. But I actually finished it, and that led to more and more.
There are many questions though. What should one write about? How does one name characters? Does one have an obligation to one’s readers, and how much? Which is better, a pen, or a typewriter, or a laptop? These are things I think about, and this is my opinion.
I am disappointed in most of the writers of our day. Most of the popular writers have very exciting plots that keep people interested but poor grammar skills. I miss a really good book, the one I would recommend to anyone and feel as though it is a classic. There are a few– Trenton Lee Stewart and Brian Selznick are very good authors, but many others don’t give me a good feel. (Sorry Percy Jackson!) I would encourage you to read good books; you learn so much from them. Old classics are the best.
What should one write about? I always begin with an interesting plot twist or with a theme I really want to write about and feel I could carry off well. A theme is my word for the point of the story, what you want your readers to learn from it. A lot of new books don`t have many themes and books really need them. So if you want to make a story about hope, write about a girl who is pulling weeds and doing well because she has hope that her job will soon be done. Then turn to someone who is in deep depression while pulling weeds because she knows that she will be doing it for the rest of her life, so she has no hope. Things like this, they don’t have to be complicated; it is better if it is simple. It will sound a lot different when it is on paper than it does in your plans and in your head. Also, you may have a life experience that you want to write about and that is good, too.
How should one name characters? This is a very interesting question to think about for me. Most people have their own way of doing it, so there is not a right way or a wrong way. There are a lot of baby name books that provide a lot of unique names if you`re stuck. I usually find my names while I am writing. I leave spaces in the place where the name should be if I don`t know it, and then happen upon a good name. Sometimes, though, it just doesn’t`t work and I can`t find anything; in which case I usually wait and see what happens.
Does one have an obligation to one’s readers, and if so, how much? Yes, one does have some obligation in the direction of ethics. I believe the writing should be clean and tasteful; people owe that to anyone who reads their work. Also, keep the stories in the same series the same age level, but that just makes sense. As for other things. like the story line, the writer owes the reader nothing. Terrible things happen when writers write to please their readers. Don`t write to please the readers; write in your own style and the readers who like your style will find you instead of the other way around. If you have the urge to kill off all your characters at the end, by all means do it, even if anyone protests. Have you ever noticed how the first book in a series is fantastic but the rest go downhill? I think that this often happens because the sensation of fame gets to them. They start re-using quotes from the past book because it was so popular; they end up just sounding corny and overused because they are. The writer is trying to bring back that old popularity from the last book.
Pen, typewriter, or laptop? Again, it depends on the person. I love a pen; it flows better for me. Often, when I try to use a laptop, things get jumbled up and don`t come fast enough for me. I also enjoy being able to touch what I`m working with, see the paper, smell the ink, keep it in a little nook in my desk. That is what appeals to me. I think typewriters are fascinating, and I would like to be able to use them, but they just don’t suit me. Find what works for you and go with it.
If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read and write a lot.