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?

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Write it down,