A Guide to Writing

Pick up some tips regarding writing from a best selling author, written by one of our amazing volunteers, Emma Mages:

New York Times bestselling author Taran Matharu recently paid us a visit at Central Library to help inspire young writers. Matharu is the author of the highly successful Summoner series and he spoke to an audience about his journey followed by a writer’s workshop.

The Presentation

The event began with Matharu discussing how he became a writer. He has always been a lover of books and had always wanted to write one of his own. After graduating with a creative writing degree, he began working in a publishing house. Here he discovered that not all the writers within in the publishing house had a degree, although there were two things they had in common; they all loved books, and they all loved to write. So how did he become an author from here? He described the process in three steps:

Step 1 – The Idea

He advised that the best way to come up with an original idea is “write a book you want to read.” By doing this, you need to look at your interests and what it is you like (something he discussed in more depth in his workshop).

Step 2 – Set Aside Time to Write

National Novel Writing month is a challenge that writers can set themselves to ensure they set aside time to write. Matharu explains that it is an excellent technique to keep you writing on a regular basis. The challenge involves the writer spending 2 hours each day writing a chapter. By the end of the month, you should hopefully have the bones of a book!

Step 3 – Find an audience

This was where the talk got really interesting. Matharu wanted his work to be read. He joined a free website titled “Wattpad.” This website allows writers to share their work and to be read by story lovers from across the world. It was here where Mathuaru found his success.

He started writing the Summoner series on Wattpad and it automatically attracted a lot of attention. Within just one month, his book had already been read 100,000 times. This increased to a whopping 4 million reads after just 8 months. The popularity caught the attention of NBC news based in America. They wanted to do an interview with Matharu and write up an article. From here, the article attracted publishers from around the globe, including international publishing company Macmillion.

Today, Matharu’s books have been translated in to 15 different languages and his success has allowed him to experience an array of opportunities including:
– Being New York Times best seller
– Working alongside DreamWorks for a How to Train Your Dragon fanfiction
– School visits
– Book tours in several countries
– Seeing his character bought to life in cosplay
– Being sent fan art by his artistic readers
– Fan tattoos
– Being sent author gifts

All of this was achieved from posting his book on Wattpad. He encouraged the audience of aspiring writers to use this free service in order to improve on their writing skills, and be part of the writing community no matter what age you are. You never know who might see your work and the success it could potentially give you!

The Workshop

After a short break, it was time for the author to share his wisdom with his audience! Where does a writer start with their ideas? How can they put these ideas on to paper and have it become a story? Matharu showed a simple yet effective technique that will help you come up with your idea for your book.

As previously mentioned, he advised that you write a book combining all of your interests. Not only does it make it more of an enjoyable experience writing about something you like, but it also makes it that little bit easy. This technique allows you to put all of your favourite things in to one place and pick out the parts that you like the most about it.

He demonstrated this using the table below:

Writing tips

It is quite self-explanatory. In the left column, you write down what your influences are whether that be; your favourite book, film, hobby, favourite subject in school etc. Then in the right column you write the key component from that influence. For example, one of Matharu’s influences was history. In the key component section, he put his favourite time period. Other influences he had were Pokemon and Harry Potter. The key components in those influences involved magical creatures and a school for magic. The Summoner series involves a school for magic with magical creatures set in that chosen time period. By using this technique, Matharu was able to combine all of his interests to create his own story.

It was now the audiences turn to give this technique a try. Time was allowed for them to fill out their own table and then Matharu put their ideas together to create their own story. After this exercise, the audience members could now go away inspired to write their own book! From the sounds of it, we’ll be seeing a lot of time travelling adventures, quests around the world, with some personal experiences thrown in to the mix.

Matharu made it clear that the main advice that he can give is to start writing now. If you want to write a book, then write one! It doesn’t matter about age. Even if you’re only 11 years old, there’s nothing stopping you from writing that book you’ve always wanted to write! So? Go pick up that pen and start planning your book!