Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Who Has Time to Worry About Correct Spelling? 5 Things Children's Writers Must Do.

Are you a writer who corrects spelling as you go along? Turn off spell check and grammar check when you are creating. Correct spelling is the least of your worries in a draft or two or three or…well you get it. This article explains how to break that habit and why. Enjoy this article by Jan McVeity, National Literacy Champion.

Should I correct my child's spelling? That's one of the most common questions I get asked.
My answer: No.
Well this is going to be the shortest column in the world!
Perhaps I should explain. When a story is created, there are a huge number of things a writer has to do. Here are just a few:

The Plot
Create the main character - you have to make them brave, strong and clever, but they need a couple of faults too.
Create the villain - they have to be just as strong as the hero or heroine. Otherwise the good guys win too easily.
Create the secondary characters - the faithful sidekick, the weird best friend, the teacher who cracks great jokes...
Decide on the Main Problem - this is not something simple like failing a test. It has to be major. Failing a final exam which means you didn't get into the sports team which means your chance of being a star footballer is utterly ruined.
Brainstorm an interesting setting - where should it all happen? A beach, a boat, a beaten up old house?

Still with me? But wait, that's only the plotting done. Now the writer has to start selecting...

The Writing Techniques

How can I make the fight between the two kids convincing? I know - I'll use dialogue and have them shouting at each other across the playground.
How can I make that scene of the ski race really tense? Hmmm, maybe if I have the clock counting down the seconds of the time he has to beat.
The start seems a bit boring, should I start that morning? No, maybe I should begin right when the kids start screaming for help.

Exhausted yet? Now what about the style the author selects to write in?

Click Here to keep reading more.

Write it down,


  1. Hi Carma...very good suggestions...thanks for the valuable tips!


  2. Thanks Carma for the helpful reminders and ideas for making our writing easier.


  3. Donna, when I saw this article it just jumped out and I needed to share it.


  4. Terri, writing, as you know, can be hectic so when I see good advice I like to share it with everyone.


  5. Carma, thanks for Jan McVeity's article. Excellent advice about how to get your story rolling. She really knows her stuff!

    Margot Finke
    "Rattlesnake Jam" + more!
    Manuscript Critiques

  6. Hi Margot,
    When I came across Jan Mcveity's article I was instantly attracted. I like her style and her voice resonated with me.

    Turning off spell check and grammar check is hard for me to do because my fingers seem to know when I make a mistake and I can't turn them off. lol.


  7. Hi Carma,

    Spelling errors can be easy to do but catching them sometimes can be hard to do.

    I always have another pair of eyes read my stories.

    Keep up the valuable tips!

    Kind Regards,

    Dawn Phillips

  8. Hi Dawn,
    The value of correct spelling is easy to overlook sometimes because it is so easy to overlook when we are used to depending on spell check.


  9. Hi, I just found your web site. This is good advice in your post. I just started a writing web sight called Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch. I write children's picture books and MG historical fiction.

  10. Welcome Janet,
    You have a wonderful blog and great links. I am linking to your blog and hope we can help each other some more.