I have just finished my final draft of a new Second World War story. You can find out more about what I am currently writing here.
And I hope these resources will help you with your writing…
A short film about careers in reading and writing
Tom’s top writing tips :
- Write about what you really know about.
- Keep a diary to become confident about writing.
- Try to lead a fulfilling life so you have lots to write about!
- Read as much as you can to see how others describe the world around us.
- Treat a piece of writing like a painting to be tinkered with until you feel it is finished.
- Share your writing with others. Ask them for 3 things they liked and 3 things they didn’t like. Try not to be upset by their honesty. It is great to be able just write for yourself and enjoy your own writing. But if you want other readers to understand your story this will help you communicate it.
Interview with Tom about writing
Noah – a young reader – has asked Tom some great questions for his school project and we’d like to share their interview with you.
Noah : How did your training and early life lead to you becoming a successful writer?
Tom : I think it was reading about what I loved (football) that made me confident as a reader, then a writer. Self-training, I suppose. After messing my GCSEs up, I went to night school and then university four years later than most. My degree was in literature and it really got me to me understand how writers write, so it helped. But I don’t think you have to study literature to be a writer. Also, I was in a writing group and that helped me learn to be self-critical, but constructively.
Noah : What difficulties did you encounter when you were becoming a writer?
Tom : Lack of confidence. Finding self-belief is hard with anything, isn’t it? But I wanted to be a writer so much I pushed myself to believe it could happen.
Then years and years of rejection (20 years in all), but keeping going because I wanted it.
Family members mocking me a bit for trying. But that sort of helped, as it made me more determined. And other family members (notably, my wife) backed me all the way.
Noah : What do you think have been your successes and triumphs?
Tom : The main one is that, when I do history books, the people who were involved (like old Navy sailors or Holocaust survivors say they think I did a good job telling their story. That means a lot.
Also, when I get an email from a mum (usually a mum) at half-ten at night saying their child has just read a book through for the first time and it was one of mine. And they wanted to say thanks. I love that.
And, to be honest, managing to make a living from being a writer for 13 years so far. It’s not easy, especially if you are not a big name or with a big publisher.
Here are a few videos with writing tips on some topics kindly suggested by teachers. I hope they are of help!
Video 1 – Stages of a book
Video 2 – How I plan
“Used your planning one with my class last year. Great resource. They loved hearing tips from a real author.” St. Wilfrid’s RC Primary School, Preston
Video 3 – How to edit a short piece of writing
“We have been using your editing video in class to help us with our own editing and improving. The children and I have loved it, the tips you give have been really helpful.” Rowde C of E Primary
NEW Roy and Rocky of the Rovers Writing Kit.
A set of eight activities designed to engage football fans with different aspects of writing using passion for the game as a way in. Free download from here
Buy Signed Books
Signed and dedicated copies of all my books are available personalised to order from my local independent children’s bookshop “The Thoughtful Spot” here.
Schools bumper book pack and class set offers here.