Catherine Austen books for young people

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"Her writing cuts straight to the heart."

(The Globe and Mail)


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Ignite Your Imagination: Getting Started

Staring at a blank page? You're not the only one. While some writers have too many ideas bouncing around their brains, others have a tough time getting started. If that's your situation, all you have to do is abandon all hope of having the world's biggest best idea ever, and just have fun with one of these simple silly suggestions. Once you begin to write, the ideas will flow.

  1. Try a group story, writing one sentence each. (These usually end in rude jokes.) Check out this example.
  2. Cover the words of an illustrated book and write your own story about the pictures.
  3. Plumb your memory for embarrassments and injustices: wrongs to right, unrequited love to bloom, humiliations to revenge, boredom to liven up. Write what you wish happened.
  4. Read about weird phobias, creepy creatures, and ancient customs, then write a story with one of each.
  5. Buy a magnetic word kit and use it to compose a different poem each week. Or open a book at random, blindly choose 5 words on the page, and write a poem with all of them.
  6. Pick up an object - a ring, a suitcase, a dollhouse, a book, a dog collar, anything that grabs your eye - and imagine it on a journey from one character to another. 
  7. Make a "WANTED" poster: draw a villain, a hero, or a missing person. Write their name and why they are wanted, and offer a reward for their capture. Then write a scene in which the wanted character is found.
  8. Ask your dog or cat what was the most intriguing thing they saw or did yesterday. This may take some translation skills on your part, but you'd be surprised what the little dudes get up to when you're not around. 
  9. Write a scene, with dialogue, in which your favourite fictional characters do ordinary things (e.g., Harry Potter working at Subway and Lord Voldemort ordering a sandwich.)
  10. Change all the nouns or verbs in the jacket copy of a favourite book, then write a new story with what's left.

Did you have have a great idea that launched you through a brilliant beginning into a muddle instead of a middle? The blank page can attack at any time for those who don't know where their story is going. If this is you, take some time to get back on track.

Check out my Tips for Getting Unstuck.

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