NaNoWriMo Nov Day 2: Nicki Thornton

Posted by Jazz on Wednesday November 2nd, 2016

One day down, twenty-nine to go! Today we're hearing from the winner of last year's Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition, Nicki Thornton. Nicki bagged the top prize – a £10,000 publishing contract – with her debut novel The Firefly Cage, which will be published by Chicken House next year. Read on for her words of wisdom! What would be your five top tips to budding writers?

1. Be a good reader first – reading will give you most of the tools you need to write. The best way to learn to write is to read the work of the authors who are already doing the kind of writing you want to do.

2. Have the courage to write badly. Ernest Hemingway said ‘The first draft of anything is shit’ so if Hemingway couldn’t do a good first draft go easy on yours – after all you need to get to the end first to really discover where you are going.'

3. ‘If you find that writing is hard, it's because it is hard. It's one of the hardest things that people do.’ – William Zinsser

4. Roald Dahl had a fantastic list of things to bear in mind when writing for children: ‘They love suspense. They love action. They love the finding of treasure. They love chocolate and toys and money ... New inventions. Unorthodox methods. Eccentricity. Secret information. The list is long.’ Don’t forget to have fun with your writing – most important.

5. ‘The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like.’ – Neil Gaiman

For those hoping to take part in NaNoWriMo or enter the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition, what would be your best tip for writing something every day?

Never ever wait until you have enough time. There is never enough time.

The only time you really need is ten minutes a day to put one word in front of the other and you will eventually get to the end. Most of writing happens in your subconscious anyway, so let your subconscious do all the hard work. Think about your story when driving, picking up the kids from school, doing the washing up, on long walks and on dance floors. Live and breathe your story until it becomes to you as if you are telling something real.

‘To achieve great things, two things are needed, a plan, and not quite enough time.’ – Leonard Bernstein.

Enter the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition to be in with a chance of winning a £10k publishing contract! 

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