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The first thing to remember is this: no one can teach you how to write. You can only learn

by experience, which means reading as much as you can and writing as much as you can.


Try out different kinds of writing. For instance, articles, diaries, letters: essays, short stories,

even novels. Don't worry if you can't finish something, either because you lose interest or

because you get stuck. It doesn't matter. Just put it away and start something else. Incidentally,

it's useful to read your work out loud, to see how it sounds. That way you're more likely to

discover bits which are boring or irrelevant.


All writers are voracious readers. Most of us, when young, have galloped through dozens of

books a month. Again, try out different kinds of books. Don't just stick to one genre, or one

author. Experiment! If you read a book you really enjoy, ask yourself what it was you enjoyed

about it. Pick out passages which you specially liked. Equally, if you read a book which you

hate, or which bores you, work out what it was that was so bad about it.


A word of warning: it is very, very difficult to get books published. Don't expect too much too

soon - most authors write for years before they manage to get into print. I was lucky, but I think

it was a bit easier when I was young. Also, my first book to be published was the fifth or sixth

book I had actually written! It's important to give yourself the best chance possible by ensuring

that your work is as good as you can possibly make it. Don't just slap it down on the page and

think that's all there is to it, because it's not. There's a lot of competition out there, hundreds of

other people all wanting to be published, so if you're really serious you'll draft and re-draft,

write and re-write, until you're satisfied. But if, after all this, your work is rejected, try not to be

too disappointed; it's happened to all of us. Swear a bit, or cry a bit, or kick the furniture, then

pick yourself up and start again. Try something else! Oh, and never throw anything away.

Manuscripts which are rejected when you're young can come in very useful when you're older

and more experienced. I have re-written several of my youthful rejections.


Best of luck!

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Advice for young writers

Copyright © Jean Ure 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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Copyright © Jean Ure 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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