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Author Writing Lessons

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Don Francis

Jennifer A. Nielsen

New York Times Bestselling author, Jennifer Nielsen, was born and raised in northern Utah, where she still lives today with her family, a dog that won’t play fetch, and a cat that hallucinates. She is the author of The Ascendance series, beginning with THE FALSE PRINCE; the TRAITOR’S GAME series, the historical novels, RESISTANCE, A NIGHT DIVIDED,  WORDS ON FIRE, RESCUE, and several other titles. She loves chocolate, old books, and lazy days in the mountains.

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Jennifer A. Nielsen

Just a kid? Just a kid?

Do you know how incredible that is? Do you know how many adult writers would sacrifice their right lung just to have a drop of the creativity that flows through the mind of someone exactly your age?

(Answer: Not a lot of adults. I mean, it’s a LUNG—people need those. But adults really do want a piece of your creative energy.)

However, like anything else, creativity is a skill, which means, you can practice at it, and get better! One way we can do that is to learn to ask questions about everything! And not just any questions, but questions that lead to story.

For example, consider this picture. You are walking along this path and see that huge dark hole ahead. If you turn left, you will stay on the same path as always. Or you can go straight ahead…into the unknown.

Anchor 1

Now, write down ten questions you would ask if you wanted to turn this into a story. Your answers become the plot so try to come up with the coolest answers you can think of.

I’ll even get you started with three questions and answers of my own:

Q: Is that black tunnel ahead a portal to another time or place?
A: Absolutely it is a portal, but the world it leads to is in a lot of trouble. Only one good wizard remains, and he created that portal to lure in someone capable of healing his world. However, he was killed before he could welcome that person in. So if anyone does cross that portal, they’ll have no idea what is waiting for them!

Q: If I get too close, will it suck me in?
A: It won’t suck anyone in, but as the person gets closer, it will play a beautiful melody so amazing that they might choose to follow the music into the portal.

Q: Why am I walking on this path?
A: The person was fighting with their siblings and decided to take a walk to cool off. Nobody really knows where they are right now.

See what questions and answers you can add of your own!

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