This is what I told the junior high schoolers I talked to this week. Okay, the last one I meant to tell them, and I forgot. Sue me.
To Become A Better Writer:
1. Entertain yourself. I think it's really important to read a lot of books in the genre you want to write in, and watch a lot of movies.
By reading, you know what's current in the market, you know what's been done and what others are doing, you can learn how a story comes to life with words.
By watching movies, you can see the way a story unfolds in only a couple of hours. You usually can't do that, or identify the points of a story, as easily while reading. But with movies? You totally can.
So entertain yourself.
2. Write a lot. And allow yourself to write badly. I think you get better and better at craft, at storytelling, at becoming the kind of author you want to be, by writing. A lot. And what you love.
3. Somehow, over the next few years (the kids were in eighth grade), you have to develop an insane amount of self-confidence. Because most of us receive an insane number of rejections. In fact, I've come to realize that every single author out there has a story. And usually a really, really good one that always ends in the same way: Never give up.
4. Be patient. Publishing takes a really long time.
(And that's where I stopped with the writing clubbers.)
But since then, I wish to add:
5. Write in a journal. How I wish I had my teenage impressions, thoughts, and feelings. Talk about a gold mine of emotional info for a YA novel!
What are your tips for becoming a better writer?