Happy Birthday, Kenneth Oppel, born 31 August 1967.
- For me the hard part of writing isn’t coming up with ideas — it’s shaping and developing an idea into a good story. I find writing very hard work, and I write and rewrite my stories many times before I’m happy with them. I think inspiration is a small part of the writing process; perseverance is equally, if not more, important!
- When I was a kid, I wanted to be an architect — and I think there are some interesting similarities between architecture and writing — the kind of writing I do, especially, which is heavily structured, and often takes the reader on a journey through a number of physical environment.
- First I write an outline of the story, then a first draft, which might take up to six months. Then I try to take a break so I get a fresh perspective on the story when I come back to rewrite and revise. This takes several months. I find that rewriting is when the book gets really interesting — I understand the story and the characters much better the second time around!
- If you want to become a writer, write. Write a diary, keep a notebook of your ideas, and write whatever it is you love to write: poems, or short stories, or longer works of fiction or non fiction.
- Write about the things you love. That’s what I did when I was a teen. I wrote science fiction stories (a lot like Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and other movies I loved); I wrote fantasy stories (like Dungeons and Dragons, or Lord of the Rings), and I wrote a story about a kid addicted to video games (like me) — and that became my first published book, just as I was leaving high school.
- When you write something, get as much feedback as you can. Parents, teachers, trusted friends. Every bit of intelligent criticism is valuable to you. Submit your work to student magazines and contests.
- Always read as much as you can, because that will help you learn what kind of things you like to write best — and you can learn techniques from your favourite writers. What makes something scary, or sad, or exciting, or funny.
- Don’t be discouraged if you have to rewrite a story many times. The biggest part of being a successful writer is rewriting, and having the discipline to stick with a story until it’s as good as it can be!
- In the end, the people who really have the passion and skill for writing will write — because there’s nothing else they’d rather do.
Source for Image: Christoph Rieger, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kenneth_Oppel_at_International_Literature_Festival_Berlin_on_September_9,_2016.jpg
Please click here for our Literary Birthday Calendar