Tips for Young Writers and Authors from David Walliams

As we see an increasing number of young and aspiring writers emerging onto the literacy scene, we thought we’d re-share 2018 judge David Walliams’ pearls of wisdom writing tips, just in case you needed a little nudge!

To get you going, here are David Walliams’ top ten writing tips for young writers… 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 than to encourage the next generation of writers. – David Walliams

David Walliams' tips for young and aspiring writers

David Walliams, a Bestselling children’s author of books such as The Boy in the Dress and Billionaire Boy shares his writing tips…

Hey David! What are your tips for 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.

In his top tips for young writers, David Walliams emphasised the importance of diving into writing without the fear, being original and crafting stories that personally resonate. Knowing David Walliams writing style, he advocated for simplicity in description, the power of a twist ending and choosing a compelling title. Let’s see what other author advice for young writers David had.

What advice would you give to young writers about pursuing becoming a writer?

David had this to say: ‘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 by Roald Dahl. 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.

Writing tips for teenage writers and young adults

Here are some tips and young author advice for older children, designed to help them be the best author they can:

Do some research

You don’t just have to rely on your imagination to come up with a new story. Most writers put hours of research into each new book they create. Perhaps you want to know more about a certain location or event to create a rich and realistic background for your writing? Or maybe you want to learn more about a certain time period in history to develop the setting?

A few hours of research at the library or online can provide a fantastic source of inspiration.

Keep your notes for inspiration

Keep all your old notepads for when writer’s block strikes. Reading over your old notes can help you to think up new ideas, as well as showing you how far you’ve come in your writing journey.

Get inspired by your life experiences

Pay attention to all the things happening around you, from everyday activities to exciting events. Your real life is probably your biggest source of inspiration for your writing. Try saying yes to more invitations to expand your horizons and give your brain more food for thought.

Think outside the box and experiment with ideas

Some rules are made to be broken. Whether it’s mixing up a story plot or being creative with language – experiment with original ideas to make your writing stand out.

Write about what you love

If you have a passion – use it! Writing about what you love can help to bring your excitement for the subject out of your head and onto the page. It will also encourage you to keep going when things feel tough.

Think about what makes you unique

Whether it’s your character development, writing style or sense of imagination – think about what makes your writing different and celebrate it!

Plan the structure of your story

Coming up with a loose plan and structure for your story before you start writing can help you to organise your ideas and keep the story flowing. Even if it’s just a beginning, middle and end – having a plan in place can help to structure your work.

Share your writing

Whether it’s with friends, family, teachers or even online forums – sharing your writing and asking for feedback is a fantastic way of developing your writing skills. Find out what other people loved about your story, if there are any confusing sections, or what your readers want to know more about.


Feeling a little flat? Why not try collaborating with other young writers to come up with new and exciting ideas for creative writing projects? Writing collaborative stories online or in-person could help you see things from a different perspective.

Listen to criticism and advice

Listening to criticism can be hard. Try to remember that your family, friends and teachers are only trying to encourage your talent and help you be the best writer you can be. Constructive criticism is there to help you, so make the most of it.

Feeling like you’ve got some more ideas swirling around that brain of yours? Get your pen to paper and get writing at home!

Explore Learning is Ready To Help!

Need additional help with your creative writing technique? We have a great selection of free resources to help, from 11 Plus creative writing tips to tips for reluctant readers, information on the World Book Day and more! Our team of experienced English tutors are on hand with expert advice to get those creative juices flowing. Book your free trial today!

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