Tips for young writers

Layan Ismail, 10, from Woodlands, wrote and illustrated her own story.

Putting pen to paper to tell a story can be a daunting task so the Plainsman asked published teen thriller author, Amr Salie, to give us some tips.

The Plainsman is hosting a short story competition for pupils at Mitchell’s Plain schools in partnership with the first Cape Flats Book Festival, which will take place at West End Primary School, in Merrydale Avenue in Lentegeur, from 9am until 5pm on Saturday August 31 and Sunday September 1. Entry is free.

Primary school pupils from Grades 3 to 7 are tasked with writing a 400-word story; and high school pupils, in Grades 8 to 10, must write an 800-word piece and submit it by Monday August 26. See entry form on page 16.

The winners will be announced at the book festival and stand the chance of winning a R500 shopping voucher.

Thirteen-year-old Amr is an author and game developer from Sandvlei Farm in Macassar.

He has already published Blameless and Mothmen Files.

Authors, illustrators, publishers and literacy groups will tell their stories, sell books and share their reading experiences in the form of panel discussions and workshops at the festival.

The Plainsman also caught up with Layan Ismail, 10, who two years ago, wrote and illustrated her own story, Happy Birthday Max (“Writing is on the wall for Woodlands pupil”, Plainsman, September 20 2017).

Layan, of Woodlands, was inspired by the stories of Oaky – a series of books written by Lansdowne-born and Westridge raised author Athol Williams.

The festival is being hosted by Read to Rise, an NGO taking the character of Oaky to schools in an interactive programme.

Amr’s top writing tips:

Know what genre you would like to write in;

Choose a goal for the story;

Set a deadline;

Know your characters; and

Do not give up.

Layan’s tips:

Use your imagination;

Use a book to keep track of your thoughts;

If you get stuck on a story, don’t give up, always bounce back;

Don’t be shy to ask others for help; and

Never forget to always have fun.