Pete Johnson

Some top writing tips from Roald Dahl Funny Prize nominated author Pete Johnson

My Parents are out of Control by Pete Johnson

Roald Dahl Funny Prize nominee Pete Johnson shares his top tips for writing.

1.  Carry a notebook with you everywhere. Brilliant ideas can sometimes pop into your head when you least expect them. And it’s so frustrating if afterwards you’ve lost the brilliant plot twist or superb ending. Also, you may hear a great piece of dialogue, or see something you want to capture. So be like me and always have a notebook with you.

2. Write every single day. It might be a diary or a blog. It could be a line or two of poetry. It doesn’t matter. Just get into the habit of writing every single day. As you exercise to keep fit, so writing is like a muscle too. You don’t have to show what you’ve written to anyone else either. It can be for your eyes only.

3.  Re-read. Reading is a brilliant way to get creative of course. Another great way is to look again at a favourite book. Re-read, maybe the opening chapter. This time notice how the writer begins the story and tries to grab your interest. Look at the dialogue, the descriptions and how the writer ended the chapter so you want to read on. Let your best-loved stories inspire you.

4.  Act out your dialogue. Great, flowing dialogue helps a book along so much. A good way of testing your dialogue is to read it aloud, maybe even act it out. Then you can hear if it sounds real and natural. So I walk around my house saying the dialogue over and over until I’m happy with it.

5. Show don't tell. Saying a character is frightened is much less powerful than … ‘Her hand began to shake and she couldn’t stop it.’ Activity helps us see what is going on inside someone’s head, and identify with the character. So always show, don’t tell.

Find out more about Pete and his books on his website.