David Walliams’ Top Ten Writing Tips

October 02, 2020

david walliams

Explore Learning Writers’ Awards is here! So we thought we’d re-share 2018 judge David Walliams’ pearls of wisdom writing tips, just in case you needed a little nudge!

This year’s story writing competition theme is Hidden Talents, judged by Radio DJ, presenter and children’s author Greg James. After all, everyone has a talent and anyone can be a writer, right?!

To get you going, here’s David Walliams’ top ten writing tips… alongside a few more inspiring moments, just because to be fairly honest, we just couldn’t get enough!

There is nothing better as a writer to encourage the next generation of writers. – David Walliams.


Hey David! What tips would you give to our young writers?

I have ten top tips:

  1. Don’t be afraid to start, just dive in.
  2. Be original. You can be influenced by authors you like, but don’t copy them!
  3. Write the story you want to read.
  4. Don’t forget sometimes a good idea is two ideas bashing against each other, e.g. Gangsta Granny
  5. When you have finished read your story aloud to someone, you should know immediately if there is something you can cut or something that doesn’t make sense.
  6. Remember a story can be like life, it can be funny and sad all at the same time.
  7. A twist at the end always makes a short story memorable.
  8. Don’t use a hundred words to describe something when one will do.
  9. Think of a title that is going to really grab the reader from the start.
  10. Remember, the only limit is your imagination.


  • What advice would you give to children about pursuing becoming a writer?

You have to remember that sadly no one is going to wave a magic wand for you and make your dreams come true. It all has to come from you.

  • You have written so many books, how do you get your inspiration for your stories?

Mainly from my imagination. Writing is like dreaming really. You just need to find a way to go deep into your mind to find the stories.

  • Do you find it harder ‘write’ funny than to ‘act’ funny?

Writing funny is harder because you don’t have all the tools you use to deliver a joke, such as tone of voice or facial expression.

  • What was your favourite children’s book growing up?

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It is so imaginative, it surprises me every time I re-read it.

  • What stories do you love to read now?

I love returning to ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. For me this is the first important piece of children’s literature, and influenced everyone from CS Lewis to JK Rowling.

  • What were you like at school? Did you have a favourite subject?

I love English and history. I liked reading and writing stories in English and learning all about the dark and dangerous characters who shaped the world in history.


Feeling like you’ve got some more ideas swirling around that brain of yours? Get your pen to paper and get writing! Follow us on Instagram @explorelearning_official for more tips and tricks!

Enter your 500-word Hidden Talents story online by the 28th of October.

Find out more. 


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