'Have a little daydream': Jacqueline Wilson shares her tips for budding writers
Published on: 11 July 2018 Author: Emily Drabble
Author and former Children's Laureate Jacqueline Wilson is back with her amazing Creative Writing competition for children, so we asked her for a few tips...
Jacqueline Wilson is beloved by children all over the country for her brilliant stories - but now she wants to read their tales.
Yes, Jacqueline is back with another edition of her Creative Writing Competition for 7-12-year-olds - this time with the theme of unlikely frienships. And it's a bit special, as the winning story will actually be printed in one of Jacqueline's books!
With such a good prize on offer - the winner will also receive £100 of vouchers, a book bundle for their school library, a subscription to First News and a meeting with Jacqueline herself - we had to ask the author for some top tips...
Why do you want to encourage children to not only read, but to write their own stories?
I want to show children that writing can be fun. It's not just about clauses and commas – it's about imagining characters, putting them into a story, and seeing what happens to them.
What tips do you have for young writers who think they might enter your Creative Writing competition?
I'd encourage them to have a little daydream about their story, seeing which ideas float into their mind. I think it's particularly important to get to know your characters properly before you start writing. It's good to have some idea how the story will end, even if the middle part seems hazy.
If they get carried away and write their whole story in one go then that's marvellous – but if they only feel like writing for ten minutes at a time, then it doesn't matter at all.
They can write about anything they like – just so long as there is an unlikely friendship in the story. I can't wait to read the entries.
What do you think reading gives children that they can't get from watching TV, films, YouTube or playing internet games?
I think reading is stimulating, exciting and yet at the same time deeply relaxing. If you have to do a little bit of imagining to get the full experience then it opens up a whole new wonderful world.
Your annual Creative Writing Prize this year has the theme of 'unlikely friendships' . Which do you count as the most unlikely friendship in your books?
I think the deep and true friendship between Clover, a child from a disreputable alley in the East End of London, and Rose, the restless spoilt daughter from a wealthy family in Kensington, is the unlikeliest friendship, especially as they are girls living in Victorian times when the class system was very rigid.
Which is your favourite unlikely friendship in the books you loved as a child?
I think it's probably the friendship between Mary Poppins and the delightful star child Maia, who is one of the Pleiades. I read that chapter in the first Mary Poppins book at least 20 times!
If you could only take three children's books on a desert island, which would they be and why?
This is an impossible question! How about 33? Still, if I can really only take three, my first choice would be Nancy and Plum by Betty MacDonald, a wonderful story about two orphan sisters. It was my favourite book, and I played many imaginary games with Nancy and Plum when I was little.
My second choice would be Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild, about three children at stage school – those children still seem utterly real and convincing even though the story is a little dated now. There are so many marvelous Victorian children's classics jostling for third place that I think I will leave them all on the shelf and choose a nursery rhyme book instead, Lavender's Blue, compiled by Kathleen Lines and copiously illustrated by Harold Jones. His pictures are as magical, strange and quirky as the rhymes themselves.
Are you a budding young author? The closing date for the Jacqueline Wilson Creative Writing Prize is 14 September and there's lots more information on the website here. Good luck!