🖋 Story Writing Lesson For Kids (And Grown-Ups) – Part 4 🖋
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Creative Writing Tips coming next Monday…
This week’s story writing lesson for kids (and grown-ups) is about polishing your story with three basic tips that I use when writing stories.
I hope you find the video helpful in making your story as good as it can be, and I’ll see you next week where we will go over some creative writing tips to make your story writing easier and more powerful.
All the best,
Story Writing Lessons For Kids – Part 4
Hello, my name is Adam Oakley, and this is Part 4 of the story writing lessons for kids, and grown ups.
Today’s video should be a bit shorter than normal. If you’ve watched the previous three videos, you should have now reached a point where you’ve written the beginning, middle and end of your story, and now you have what people tend to call your first draft.
I know that lots of writers can have a first draft of their book or story, and it can go through a lot of re-writes and quite a heavy editing process before it becomes finished. When I write a story or a book, I don’t tend to re-write anything unless I feel as if I’ve forced the writing at any point and it didn’t come from a very inspired place. Usually what happens is that I’ll have a story, and it will go through what I call a polishing process, where things are improved, but no big changes are made.
Step 1 – Check Your Spelling
The first is perhaps the most obvious step – which is to check your spelling
Usually I will go back and check spelling after every writing session, because after every writing session my writing is usually a mess of spelling errors and maybe a few punctuation errors. So the first step is to read through your work and correct any spellings that need to be corrected. If you’ve written it on paper and you have a lot of spelling errors, it might be helpful to rewrite your story on a fresh piece of paper. If it’s easier, you can just make corrections directly on the page for now.
Once your spellings have been corrected, that leads us on to step number two.
Step 2 – Read Your Story Out Loud
This is quite an important step. If you read your story out cloud, clearly, as if you are reading the story to someone else, then it’s easier to detect if you have any sentences that aren’t easy to read. If you find yourself struggling to read a sentence easily, or if you find a sentence doesn’t make much sense when you read it out loud, then that’s a sign that the sentence could be made easier to read. That might just mean splitting the sentence in to two shorter sentences. It might mean that a long sentence could be made simpler or shorter, or maybe you just need to wait for a moment, be very quiet inside, and let a sentence be written that is much easier to read.
Reading your story out loud can also highlight any punctuation errors that need to be fixed – things like commas, full stops and quotations marks. Usually when you read your story out loud, and take your time reading it, it becomes clear where your words might be aided by some punctuation, and sometimes it can show if you have too much punctuation.
If you are a young person, you might not know all the rules for grammar and punctuation. And that’s okay. You’ll learn them as you get older, and for now, as long as your story makes sense and is easy to read when you read it out loud, I would say that’s all that matters at the moment.
Being able to read well out loud is also very useful life skill. If you’re able to read out loud fluidly and easily and confidently, your school life and life as an adult will be much easier.
It’s possible that during your read-throughs you might have questions about your story. Perhaps a character has said they will do something, and you can’t remember if they actually do it later in the story. Perhaps someone in the story says something that you think is out of character. If you have any questions about your story or thoughts about it as you read, just write your thoughts down so you don’t have to remember anything. Then once you’ve finished reading through, you can check your notes to make sure you are happy with the story, and all of your questions were answered.
So once you’ve read your story and checked the spellings, then read it out loud and made sure everything makes sense, then it’s time for Step 3.
Step 3 – Let Someone Else Read It, Or Read It To Someone Else.
You don’t have to do this. You don’t have to do any of these steps if you’ve found a way of working that’s better for you, but once you are happy with your story or feel as if you’ve done all you can with it, then it can be time to see if other people enjoy it.
It’s possible that not everyone will enjoy it. There are books that sell millions of copies that lots of people love, while other people try reading the same book and don’t enjoy it nearly as much. If you’re lucky to have someone in your family or some of your friends who are interested to read what you’ve written, then let them, and see what they think.
In the very first video I gave some advice that said when you’re writing a story, don’t worry about what others will think or say about it. Don’t even worry about it being good. I gave that advice because it takes your creative energy out of judgements and opinions of other people, and it helps you to more easily access creativity that wants to flow without restriction. It helps you to more easily write the story that’s inside of you. Now that your story is written, it’s good to just get used to people reading your work, to get used to hearing feedback – what people thought was good, or not so good about your story.
But this final stage is a bit tricky. While some people might not like your story, maybe lots of other people would. Some people can say part of your story is not good, while others can think it is good. Some people could think your story is too slow-paced, while others might enjoy reading it. Once you start hearing feedback about your story, you are in the realm of opinions of human beings, all of which can differ and are based on personal preference. I would say the golden rule for following advice on your writing is this:
For example, if there’s a part of my story that I’m not sure about, and then other people read it and tell me what I was already thinking, then that’s a clear sign I need to make that part of the story better. But if there’s part of the story that I love, and someone says to change it, if the change doesn’t feel right for me, then I won’t change it.
If you have multiple people saying the same part of the story doesn’t make sense, then that’s a sign that maybe it could be made more clear for people reading it.
Another good question to ask is, “What does the story want to do?” What’s best for the story? Does the story want to be altered in any way? It might sound strange but you can sit and ask the story if it wants to be changed in any particular way, and you might get a feeling about what to do, or an idea that feels clear and strong.
But chances are, if you’re watching this, you are very young, and this final stage shouldn’t matter too much. Some feedback you receive might make sense, someone might give you some advice on your story and you’ll think that it will make the story better, and that’s great. Then you can follow the advice and see what happens. But if the advice makes no sense to you and you don’t feel good about it, then I would say to hold off, see if your mind changes after some reflection, and if it doesn’t, then leave the story alone.
Please bear in mind that everything I have told you and everything I will say in future videos, is all based on how I do things. So that means it isn’t the only way to do things. Just like with getting feedback on your story, the things I say in these videos might not always be applicable to you. You might find your own way of doing things that feels better.
Hopefully I can give you some advice that will make writing easier and more enjoyable for you, but don’t assume you have to do things exactly how I do them or how any other writer will tell you do to them. There is a Bruce Lee quote that I like that says:
“Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless,
add what is essentially your own.”Bruce Lee
And that’s it for today. If you have any questions for me then just comment below, subscribe to the YouTube channel if you want to see more videos, and next week I’ll be giving some general tips for creative writing, to make your writing flow more easily and allow you to come up with good ideas more often.
Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next time.