Ann Stalcup

Tips for Writers from Ann Stalcup




Ann StalcupWRITE WHAT YOU KNOW

It wasn't until I wrote my book On the Home Front: Growing up in Wartime England that I truly understood what that meant. In that book I was writing about things I had experienced for myself, things I knew.

RECOGNIZE THE KIND OF WRITING YOU DO BEST

My writing is best when I am able to be descriptive. My English teacher told me that when I was a teenager. And she was right. So writing about other countries and cultures is a perfect subject for me. I am a nonfiction writer although I am still trying to improve my skills as a fiction writer.

READ,READ, READ!

Read the kinds of books (or articles) that you like to write.

WRITE, WRITE, WRITE!

Write about anything that interests you. Write the kind of stories you like to read. Use your imagination but make sure your characters, their situations, and the setting you place them in sound realistic. Check and recheck any facts you use. REVISE!

READ WHAT YOU WRITE OUT LOUD

Read your work to your friends, parents, dog, teddy bear - anyone that will listen. And then read it again. Make corrections. Read it again. Wherever you stumble probably needs to be reworded. REVISE!

WRITE AND REWRITE

Whether you are a child or an adult, in order to make your writing the best that it can be, you will need to write, and rewrite. And if someone agrees to publish your work, you will be expected to do even more writing and rewriting. REVISE!

TITLES AND FIRST LINES

When you write a story or a research paper for a teacher there are two things you need to look at again and again: your TITLE and your FIRST SENTENCE. Today, editors at publishing houses as so busy, and receive so many manuscripts, they often only have time to look at the FIRST LINE or the TITLE, so if neither of them GRABS or HOOKS their attention, they send your work right back to you.

TEACHERS are the same. If the TITLE or FIRST SENTENCE doesn’t grab their attention and make then want to read your work with interest and enthusiasm, they decide right then that your writing is not going to be great. So, when you finish your story or report, look at the TITLE and FIRST LINE again. Will they GRAB  or HOOK your teacher’s attention? And is your work neat and well-organized? That also makes a difference.

For example, which TITLE is more interesting - "The Dog" or "The Adventurous Dog". Just one word can make a difference. Beginning with a QUESTION can also capture someone’s interest - for example, “Have you ever wondered why Egyptians buried their ancestors so far underground? And why are they called mummies? Well, I’ll tell you."

So, on the next paper you write, make sure it will HOOK or GRAB your teacher’s attention!




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