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Wicked Young Writer Awards: Iona Mandal’s top tips for budding new writers

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First News is working with the Wicked Young Writer Awards to help inspire young people to get writing! The acclaimed award seeks songs, poems, stories, and scripts to encourage young people to use writing to view the world a little differently.

Each year, a special prize giving event is held at the Apollo Victoria Theatre for all 120 finalists. The event is attended by judges and the Wicked cast, and includes special performances, workshops and readings of the winning entries. All finalists also receive a copy of the Wicked Young Writer Awards Anthology.

Our series of fantastic tips continues with advice from 11-year-old Iona Mandal, joint winner of the 8-10 category at the Wicked Young Writer Awards 2017:

Iona with joint winner Miranda Tansley (left) and judges Cressida Cowell and Gaby Rosslin.

Good writing needs practice and is best nurtured over time. Try to write something new every day for the joy of it and refine your work continuously with time and patience.

Good reading makes good writing. A latent idea often needs a spark to emerge. Good books inspire conceptualizing new plots besides helping barge onto unfamiliar territory and subjects.  Technology is a blessing and can be used judiciously to boost online reading.  I tend to rely on personal experiences, anecdotes or even stories passed down orally over generations in the family.  These can be valuable repositories in framing characters and situations from myriad perspectives as one chooses.  Research becomes crucial especially if one is delving onto subjects demanding historical authenticity in terms of dates or facts. But I also tend to let my imagination run wild.  

An inquisitive and sensitive mind always helps. Observation, often deliberately or unknowingly (till it becomes almost second nature) can help one make mental notes to be later translated onto paper.

A good piece of writing oozes power and yet remains silent. Hence, handpicking right words or phrases is vital so as to express ones thoughts and feelings as eloquently as possible so as to touch a chord with the reader. Building one’s vocabulary always helps but what is more important is to appreciate the meaning and feel of words so as to enrich the quality of writing.

Clarity of thought comes from knowing what you wish to accomplish exactly. It is worth keeping the plot simple with a few well thought out characters. Imperfections and peculiarities always work, so avoid clichés.

Normal is boring. There is a big, wide world out there waiting to be explored!