- The Book of Wonders
Jasmine Richards was born in London, grew up in a library, and was the first in her family to go to university. After graduating from Oxford, and following a brief stint at New Scotland Yard, Jasmine chose a career in publishing over being the next Sherlock Holmes. Today she’s a senior editor at Oxford University Press Children’s Books and lives with her husband in an old blanket mill by a river.Website | Twitter | Facebook
Top Tips for Young Writers
by Jasmine Richards
My debut novel The Book of Wonders is the culmination of many years of dreaming, imagining but most importantly hard work! I first had the idea for The Book of Wonders when I was about 9 years old. You see, I was enraged by the idea that the sultan in Arabian Nights essentially got away with murder and wanted to create a new story with a different ending. However, it was only after I left university that I started writing in earnest. I learnt something very early on. There is only one way to write and that is one word at a time. Writing is hard work, sometimes lonely and frustrating, but absolutely worth it!
The truth is no one can really teach you how to have ideas or how to write. The key to it all is practise. Read a lot, write a lot and that is what will set you on your path as a writer . . .
I do, though, have some other tips!
Read, read, read.
Try out different kinds of books. Don't just stick to one genre, or one author. If you read a book you really enjoy, ask yourself what it is about it that grabbed your attention and kept you reading. Choose passages that you really enjoyed and analyse what makes it work so well. On the flip side, if you read a book which you hate ask yourself why. What doesn’t work about it?
Try out different kinds of writing.
Diaries, essays, poems, short stories, plays and screenplays, songs, articles and even novels.
Don't worry if you can't finish something. We all get stuck or lose interest in an idea which seemed so exciting to begin with but then soon runs out of steam. Pick yourself up and start again.
Remember, all writing is practise.
Read your work out loud.
Listen to how it sounds. Recognize when your words flow and when they don’t. Analyse the length of your sentences. If you are writing a section that is fast-paced and full of action you might want to shorten your sentences to give a sense of breathlessness. If you are writing something with a dreamlike quality perhaps go for longer sentences.
Reading out loud will also help you identify those parts that are feeling boring or slow.
Work out if you are a plotter or a floater.
Are you a writer that likes to outline before you sit down or do you like flying by the seat of your pants? To be honest, I am a bit of both. It is useful to think about what kind of writer you are and instead of working against it, embrace your preferred way of working!
Write something every day.
Writing is a discipline and writing every day will help you get into the habit of putting pen to paper even when you really don’t feel like it. No writing is wasted writing – it all helps you learn and perfect your craft.
Last thing to remember:
It is difficult to get books published. Many authors write for years before they manage to get into print. Don’t rush. Make sure your work is as good as you can humanly make it before you send your work out. That means getting your basics down - it is not just about the good idea – it’s also about understanding the mechanics of storytelling: perspective, dialogue, using an active voice rather than a passive voice. Like I said, practise is really the most valuable thing you can do for your writing.
About the book
Sorcerers, Cyclops, Djinnis . . . Magic.Buy the book!
Thirteen-year-old Zardi loves to hear stories about fantastical beings long banned from the kingdom of Arribitha. But anyone who is caught whispering of their powers will feel the rage of the sultan—a terrifying tyrant who, even with his eyes closed, can see all.
When her own beloved sister is captured by the evil ruler, Zardi knows that she must risk everything to rescue her. Along with Rhidan, who is her best friend, and an unlikely crew of sailors led by the infamous Captain Sinbad, Zardi ventures forth into strange and wondrous territory with a seemingly impossible mission: to bring magic back to Arribitha and defeat the sultan once and for all.