Hannah McLay Arnold is 12 and going into seventh grade. Says her grandmother, Jean Arnold, a friend of mine, Hannah is a wonderful storyteller and writer, and has been since she started talking and playing with her stuffed animals.

Hannah’s favorite class? English.

We writers love her.

Said Jean in a contact via Facebook, “I think she [Hannah] should meet a ‘real’ author. I told her I would contact you.”

Jean is looking for suggestions of what her granddaughter should do to become a better writer. She wants inspiration she can share.

So, fellow writer, if Hannah were sitting with you at the kitchen table, what would you tell her?

Tomorrow: Notes

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Comment by Jon Loomis on July 23, 2010 at 2:35am
Tell her to have fun, to let her imagination run free, and to not listen to anybody who tells her what she should--or shouldn't--write about. Technique can always be improved, but her subjects are her own.
Comment by Dana King on July 23, 2010 at 1:15am
Ditto what pepper said. Also, learn to read with a discriminating eye. Someone who commits to being a writer can probably never read solely for entertainment again. Some part of the writer's mind has to be working, noticing a well- (or ill-) turned phrase, how well a choice works, editorial decisions, etc. That doesn't mean writers can't read for enjoyment--I enjoy everything I read, or I don't read it--just that the critical and analytical thinking can never completely stop. After a while the things you notice and like will become more or less second nature.
Comment by Pepper Smith on July 22, 2010 at 1:24pm
'Keep reading. Keep writing what you would enjoy reading. Know that when people critique your work, they're not attacking you, they're trying to help you make it better. Know that it's going to take you some time to get there, but you've got an advantage in that you've started young and have plenty of time to grow and learn as a writer.'

Just some thoughts, anyway.

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