Jacqueline Wilson: Top Tips for Letter Writing

Jacqueline Wilson: Top Tips for Letter Writing

1. Set Out Your Letter Properly!

Most important of all, remember to put an address at the top of the page so that they can write back to you! It’s helpful to put the date too. Handwritten is more personal than a typewritten letter, but try to make your writing as neat as possible, so it can be easily read. Using different coloured felt tips can look very pretty, but it takes a long time, and yellow pen doesn’t really show up properly on the page.

2. Punctuation and Spelling (Don’t Groan!)

When we text we use all kinds of abbreviations, simply because it’s much quicker and easier. When you write a letter use proper words and try to remember to use capital letters and full stops and paragraphs. Spelling is important too, especially if your letter is to an older person. If you don’t know how to spell a word google it or look it up in a dictionary. Try to keep your lines as straight as possible. I know this sounds very fussy and too much like a school exercise but it really does make a big difference. When you’ve finished the letter you can’t send an emoji – it’s more fun to do your own little picture if you like drawing.

3. Think About the Content!

Try to work out why you’re getting in touch with this person. Do you simply miss them very much? Have you got something incredibly exciting to tell them? Has something dreadful happened? Have you discovered a secret that they need to know? Are you simply desperate to know how they are and what they’re doing? Work out their backstory until it becomes real to you.

4. Try to Make Your Letter Interesting!

A fond Grandma might be happy with a letter that simply says: Dear Nan, I miss you. It’s boring here. Love so-and-so. I’m a bit more demanding! I’d like details in your competition letter, lively description, interesting vocabulary. I want it to be such a brilliant letter that it’s as absorbing as a wonderful story.

5. Don’t Give Up After Ten Minutes!

You might be keen to make a start, and have a great idea fizzing inside your head, but by the time you’ve finished your first paragraph you’re starting to get fidgety, your whole hand is aching, and you want to look at something on your tablet. I know exactly how you feel. The same thing happens to me every day when I write my stories! But try to work hard for half an hour, really concentrating. Then give yourself a break – but come back to your letter later if you don’t get it finished. You’ll get a lovely feeling of satisfaction when it’s done and you know you’ve really tried your hardest, and you never know, you might win the competition!

Click here to find out more about the Jacqueline Wilson Creative Writing Prize 2017