1. Read! A lot!
    1. Read as much as you can in the genre you want to write in (if you want to write middle grade fantasy novels, don’t spend all your time reading textbooks)
    2. Also read in other genres to broaden your knowledge and voice.
    3. This will help with grammar, writing styles, story and character development genre specific styles and reading abilities, and other areas.
    4. Dedicate some of your reading time to audio books. Audio books give you the chance to focus solely on the ebb and flow of the story, the development and defining of characters, the voice of an author (meaning style), and will give you a better feel for when tension is needed, how to create it, and how to bring your book to a climax.
  2. Write! A lot!
    1. Develop your writing by writing a lot and often. Write about story ideas, use writing prompts, write in a journal about your day (do it in story form), just write.
    2. Use a writing prompt or story idea and set a time limit to get a certain number of words/pages written.
    3. Create a writing goal and tell others about it.
    4. Keep a writing Journal
  3. Ideas will come to you in the weirdest places and times. Make sure you have a notebook with you at all times so you can record new ideas for:
    1. Stories
    2. Controversy, Challenge, Discovery, Adventure, etc.
    3. Characters
    4. Names, Unique characteristics, etc.
    5. Phrases
    6. Kids say the craziest things. I know if one author who volunteers to drive her kids carpools every day so she can write down the crazy things they say in her car. She builds characters from speaking styles and personalities of people around her.
    7. Unique situations
    8. What skills do you have that others would find interesting? I grew up rock climbing and even now take groups climbing and repelling. So in my book I was able to include a suspenseful scene where the character was rock climbing to escape bad guys.
    9. Book titles
  4. Ask advice
    1. Allow your teacher, friends and family to read your work. Take to heart their suggestions and even their criticism. You can’t get better if you won’t take suggestions for improvement.
    2. Join a club, writing group, critique group, or form your own. Check out: The League of Utah writers (or your local chapter), Writers at work or Critique websites like: scribophile.com, Authonomy.com, reviewfuse.com.
  5. Pay attention in English class
    1. It doesn’t matter how good your story is if it can’t be understood. Pay attention and learn all you can about grammar, writing styles, sentence structure and more. You’ll be grateful when editing time comes around for your manuscript.
  6. Experience life
    1. Try new things, gain experience (if you want to write about fencing, then learn how to fence–don’t just read about it)
  7. Pray
    1. Think about it. How many athletes pray before a game. Many entire teams do it. And why not? I think every religion believes in a God who wants us to improve ourselves. If this is true, then why wouldn’t He help us to achieve it. I pray to learn more and improve my writing because I know He hears and answers my prayers.