Just keep writing, author tells children

Dubai: Just keep writing and use your imagination, a UAE-based children’s author told aspiring writers on Thursday.

Rachel Hamilton, author of the ‘Unicorn in New York’ series as well as ‘The Case of the Exploding Loo’, shared how she gives life to characters who don’t really exist and inspired aspiring writers on the art of storytelling on Thursday (March 8) at the 10th Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.

In a room full of children of all ages, Hamilton broke down the process of storytelling from asking if stories without description can be a good story to asking and answering “what if” questions to make stories come alive.

“The thing about stories is you have everything around you and you have to use your imagination,” Hamilton told the audience.

She said aspiring writers should look around them and get inspiration or ideas from their environment, including even the most mundane activities like shopping.

Hamilton said writers do encounter obstacles that may cause them to stop writing but she urged them to carry on.

“All the best stories are a bit of a struggle but you just have to keep going. The difference between a good and a bad writer is the good writer just keeps writing,” she said, addressing 90 per cent of the crowd who admitted to having difficulties when writing.

In a show of hands, some 60 per cent of the crowd said they wanted to become writers and are writing some pieces at the moment.

Hamilton led the interactive session, allowing kids to “show and not tell” stories, to describe and name characters. She also allowed them to ask all the questions they have in mind and for writing tips.

When asked why she chose to become a writer, Hamilton said she first wanted to become an astronaut and the second choice was to be an archaeologist. But when the first two did not materialise, she chose to be an author, which to her is second to none.

“It’s the best job in the world!” she exclaimed. “You can work in your pyjamas. It’s brilliant to be an author.”

As for what her best advice or tip to young authors is, she said: “Read your work aloud to friends or family. Sometimes the words sound different from how you write them. Read it out so you’ll hear if some words don’t sound right or if they sound brilliant.”

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