Nothing is more encouraging than seeing one’s story published—maybe as a magazine piece, a newspaper column, or better yet, as a book. Yet the struggle to see print is as daunting as it has ever been. Book publishers receive unsolicited manuscripts by the dozens daily, and most end up in the return pile—with a rejection note. Most published authors say the only way to get through the rejection is to keep submitting, and that may be true.
The real challenge, however, is getting the writing done, and the sooner the students or young writers get it going, the better the chances they have to get published. This can be done using an innovative tool, such as an online storybook creator.
This activity-based program allows students to write down their stories, and once complete gives them a platform to ‘publish’ it as a professionally bound book. It’s a simple idea, but it works.
The challenge is how to get your students to write down their stories. Here are some useful tips:
Turn inspiration into a story
Sometimes, students, especially the younger ones, believe that the stories in their hearts and minds are not worth telling, but all they really need is someone to nudge them a little. The best way to get them to write is to ask them about their ideas because once they open up, all they need is a pen and some paper for the story to pour out from them. Inspire them to use their daily lives as inspiration.
Get them journaling
A journal need not necessarily contain the ‘great novel idea’—that is too much pressure for the student. What it should be is a daily companion for depositing story ideas, observations, character drawings, witty one-liners—all of which could be incorporated into a short story or even a novel. However, ensure that this journal remains private, so your students will not feel violated by having adults looking into it.
Reading and Writing
Every writer is a reader, but not every reader is a writer. But they have the potential to become one. In order to write well, one must read a lot. Encourage your students to pick a book and ask them questions about it. What scenes move them? Who are their favorite characters and why? Engage them in the book that they are reading.
The first page
Nothing is as daunting as that blank space staring back at you. Many writers have confirmed this and it could instill fear in your students as well. The best way to overcome this is to have them choose a book and use the opening line there as their own. The writing will flow from there. Once they have it going, they can go back and change the opening line into one of their own.
Magical creations. Students respond well to magical creatures—fairies, dragons, wizards, and monsters. Encourage them to create their own magical world—complete with their own made-up languages. This boosts their imagination and lets them wander into their own fantasy land. Encourage them to create stories about these places afterward.
Sharing their stories. As they are going through all the processes outlined above, you should also be getting them ready with the idea of sharing these stories in the future. Do not let them criticize themselves—rather, encourage them that at one point in their lives, not all writers wanted to show their writing to anybody. Not all readers are critics. Once they’ve done all of the above and you’ve earned their trust, you can compile their works, edit it and get it ready for ‘publication’ with an online story book creator.
To see one’s name in print is indeed a proud moment, especially for young students and their parents and teachers. In the world of writing, a little encouragement goes a long way toward building self-confidence. If your students have shown interest in writing, give them every tool possible to see their dream—and their stories—become a reality.
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