by Hannah Brown, Age 16, UK
Artwork by Katie King
Dragons, writing, adventure, and reading. What more could you ask for? If you want something that combines all of these, good news. I have just the book for you, Polly Wants to Be a Writer: The Junior Authors Guide to Writing and Getting Published by Laura Michelle Thomas.
To be perfectly honest, when I first saw this book, I was sceptical. I thought it would be more like a manual or even a children’s story told in a patronizing manner. But as soon as I read the first few pages, I knew it wasn’t like that. Hints from Ms. Whitford, one of the main characters, combined with an actual story line that intrigues and really keeps you interested.
Polly’s situation is a realistic one. She’s 15, suffers all the usual “girl-trouble,” and her parents have just separated. Aside from the fact she has a smelly, grumpy dragon in her room, her thoughts are teenage too, and this means that you can connect with her. If Polly can do it, why can’t you?
The tips that are given really are worthwhile, so if you’re struggling with getting those first few words down, this book will definitely be of use! Besides that, if you are scared of your literary dragon—your inner critic, the dramatic voice that tells you you’re rubbish—this book will help you overcome your fear.
Thrown in at the deep end with a dragon is probably not how you would want it to be done, but Polly really helps you through this quickly. This book can’t be read in one sitting, and that means that you can figure out your literary dragon’s story along with Polly living though her own.
Thomas’s writing style is gentle but firm; a no-nonsense technique which, combined with Scrum’s sassiness and the tips she gives, gently pats it into your head, as opposed to some of the other writing manuals that attempt to drum it in. Overall, it’s effective!
By the end of the book, you find yourself with a lot more confidence than when you went in, and Thomas leaves the perfect story challenge at the end for you to get into, which you can then send in to LTC for a potential publication on the site. Perhaps you’ll have an idea or two in your head about your next story. Whatever you have when you finish, you’ll feel a lot better about it.
Don’t believe me? Get the book and see for yourself! It’s available at all major bookstores worldwide.