JOE GRIBNAU
 Author of Children's Books

Writing Tips
                 Top Secret WritingTips

               
                                          
         
          They really aren't Top Secret, just some ideas I have about writing.

There are downloadable versions on the Teachers page for grades K-3 and 4-8 elementary kids.

Have Fun ... Write because you LOVE to Write ... Do it for Yourself ... Believe it or not, writing can be enjoyable.

Read lots of Books ... Writers are Enormous, Immense, Monumental, Gargantuan, Colossal, Huge, Gigantic Readers ... get my point?  You learn how to write from other writers and that comes from reading a bunch of stories.

Journal
... Write down all the cool things you see, the strange things you hear, the gross stuff you touch, the nasty things you taste, and the freaky things you feel or you'll forget them.  (I once walked barefoot through my lawn at night, stepped on a huge, slimy slug, and felt it squish up between my toes.  It was disgusting!)  When ideas or words or thoughts pop into your head you need to have a place to quickly write them down.  A small journal that fits in your pocket is perfect.  If you don't write these ideas down, they'll be gone forever.

Discover Wonderful, Witty Words ... Steal, Pilfer, Plunder, Burglarize, and Borrow all the Fun Words you can find ... They're Free!  Stick them in your writing journal to use later.  Most of these fun words will come from reading books.

Love your Thesaurus ... Don't be afraid to use this book ... think of it as your BFF ... Using a different word to say the same thing (synonym)makes your stories more interesting.  Some of our words like "said" are getting pretty tired.  Plus, it's fun to discover new words.

Writing is like a Rubber Band ... A rubber band is not really interesting until you stretch it, shoot it across the room, or snap your sister with it.  (Did I just say that last part out loud?)  Writing is like that, make your words stretch and snap ... aka ... Make your i
magination streeeeeeetch.  It's crazy what your brain can think of when you let it.  Give yourself time to think.

Share Your Writing ... Yes, I really mean let someone else read it!  It's scary at first and then you'll realize that it helps you become a better writer.

Revise, Revise ... Go back through your work and rewrite.  This is where the best writing takes place.  The first draft is simply the very beginning.  Now is the time to add exciting details, make your characters come alive, give depth to your setting, add humor or drama.  It's where all my good ideas and words come from.  Don't be afraid to rewrite ... it's the most enjoyable time of my stories.

Be a Secret Agent Listener ... What I mean by this is to always have your ears in listening mode.  Writers listen, they eavesdrop and collect the weird, wild, crazy, funny, and things they hear and use them in their writing.
 

Write, Write, Write
... Good writing never happens by thinking about it.  Put it into practice.  Write short stories, magazine articles (that's where I started), descriptive paragraphs, and poems.  And finally, you need to let your writing "talk" to you.  What I mean is don't get hung up on one idea for a story.  As you begin to write, you'll discover other ideas pouring in, building upon your first idea and quite possibly, changing that original idea you started with.  I had to learn to let go of what I thought was the perfect idea, phrase or sentence so my story could grow.  That's what I mean by writing talking to you.