The secret to good writing


No doubt your English teacher has already told you that it is much easier to write about things you are familiar with – people, places, situations, even emotions – but it’s just so tempting to set your stories in the exotic locations you’ve seen in movies or on television.

My daughter and younger son visited New York over the Christmas holidays. Their sightseeing included Times Square and the Statue of Liberty; they even took a trip in a yellow cab. They were amazed at the scale of what they saw – there was, for instance, a full-size Ferris wheel inside the Toys R Us store. Seeing New York in lots of movies simply had not prepared them for the real thing.

It is possible, however, to take for granted what is on your own doorstep. When I’m away on holiday and people ask where I live, they always comment on how beautiful the countryside is in Dumfries and Galloway. I grew up near Edinburgh and only really thought about and appreciated all the great places there are to visit in and around our capital city when my French pen-pal came to stay and my family and I showed her the sights.

You don’t need to travel far afield to find stunning views, see buildings full of character and history and meet people that make you smile. All you need to do is to look around you. That’s where you’ll find the inspiration for your writing.

You can read about Amy’s favourite place on our S1/2 Writing page. Why not tell us about your favourite place.

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