Cressida Cowell: How to Train Your Diary
Cressida Cowell is the current Waterstones Children's Laureate and the author and illustrator of How to Train Your Dragon series. Her latest is The Wizards of Once. Cressida says:
Writing is like telling a really big lie: the more detail you put in, the more it comes alive in your reader’s head. It’s the difference between ‘Gobber has a big red beard’ and ‘Gobber has a beard like a hedgehog struck by lightning’.
Here are Cressida's Tips for diary keeping:
• My biggest diary tip is not to worry about what it looks like. Writing is about ideas, not your handwriting, or your spelling. My spelling was terrible when I was a kid – I have one notebook where I’ve spelled my own name ‘Crissida’. You don’t have to write in pen if you don’t want to: I still write and draw in pencil.
• You can choose who you share it with. You can keep it completely private – after all, it’s YOUR diary – but you can also read it aloud to other people if you want to.
• If you prefer to draw rather than write, you could do a visual diary, comic book style. Or a mix of drawing and writing.
• I always tell children that writing is like telling a really big lie: the more detail you put in, the more it comes alive in your reader’s head. It’s the difference between ‘Gobber has a big red beard’ and ‘Gobber has a beard like a hedgehog struck by lightning’, or ‘a beard like exploding fireworks’. Can you see how the last two examples are more powerful?
• Lastly, have FUN. If you’re not enjoying it then it becomes a chore. If you want to write every day, great. If you’d prefer to do it every other day, that’s great too.
Photos copyright Debra Hurford Brown