Did you know that the writing methods you choose can affect your creative process? Organization is particularly important to your writing success, allowing for a clear mind, smooth-flowing thought process, and proper story development. But how OCD do you have to be to prevent a major disaster? Keep yourself on track with these practical writing tips for kids:
Clean up your act.
Organizing your jumble of story ideas can help you identify the best options for a given writing project. Wading through a bunch of ideas unrelated to the topic at hand wastes time and creative energy. The best way to separate sidekicks from superheroes and prevent sci-fi and steampunk from intermingling is to create an organization strategy that works for you.
Love the written word?
For those that tote sticky notes, index cards, paper, or a journal everywhere, try these organizational methods for written or printed items:
- 3-ring binders: A thick binder organized with dividers offers a convenient, inexpensive organization solution. Drowning in cards, torn napkins, and sticky notes? Add a few sheet protectors to tuck-and-go.
- Filing cabinets: If your notes are far beyond what a binder or two can contain, ask your parents for a filing cabinet, where you can organize hanging file folders and colored tabs.
Writing apps, software, or a simple “notes” features on a smart device are great ways to track story ideas. Keep in mind, however, this may result in the scattering of information across multiple devices. So what are the best writing tips for kids when countless entries turn into a digital minefield? Contain the damage using folders and subfolders on a single home computer that are easy to navigate (see categories below). And never, ever, forget to back up your work!
Want the best of both worlds?
A combination approach allows for creativity at times when technology leaves you hanging, such as a power outage. It also offers a means of backing up ideas should your journal fall victim to a beverage spill or other mishap. A combination method is one of the most practical writing tips for kids. Once or twice a month, gather piles of creative clutter for input into Word or similar software. Bonus: This often helps ideas stand out and take shape for the creation of stories later on.
Get it together.
Try these headings when organizing your creative content:
- Notes and ideas
- Blogs and internet
- Completed work
Prevent your train of thought from derailing:
Now your story ideas are organized, and information for upcoming projects is easily accessible. The next trick is arranging your thoughts so the story stays on track, following a logical sequence. Use the following writing tips for kids when planning a story to keep from going astray.
- Identify major scenes. List must-have scenes or events in order of importance.
- Group scenes. Group must-have elements together based on where they fall in the story – beginning, middle, and end. Then include the basics for each scene, such as the introduction of new major characters or game-changing events.
- Make a timeline. Creating a timeline is one of the most important writing tips for kids. Include what each major character will be doing at each given point in the plot. Incorporate major occurrences, such as clues or foreshadowing, into the plotline as well.
- Add supporting scenes. What other events are necessary to enhance the story? Deciding what is necessary at this point helps the story unfold more smoothly.
- Re-check the timeline. Look for inconsistencies or errors that could ruin the flow of your story.
- Be certain to establish “normal.” Rather than diving right into the action, establish what the “normal” world looks like in your story’s beginning, saving the catalyst or turning point for the end of this section.
- Consult the timeline to organize the remaining story. Continue to develop the characters and plotline using your timeline. While scenes don’t have to be written in order, it’s important to keep scenes in the correct order when entering them into the storyline.
- Don’t neglect backups. One of the most essential writing tips for kids, whether stories are hand-written or stored digitally, is to keep multiple copies of your story on hand as you progress to prevent the loss of your hard work.
Stay headed in the right direction.
Make sure that your story is successful by seeking feedback and counseling from a writing mentor or tutor. An experienced writer not only offers a second pair of eyes and unbiased advice, but offers that added benefit of helping you improve your writing skills. In addition, a tutor or mentor can offer you valuable assistance if you happen to come down with an unshakable case of writer’s block.
Set yourself up for creative success with the help of these writing tips for kids. By establishing these simple but important organizational skills, you’ll be certain to avoid that train wreck – and skip right to your successful story’s happily ever after.
Photo by ND Strupler