Author Deborah Reed taught children the basics of writing compelling stories at a workshop held at the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2019) on Saturday.

“Sentences that snake across the blank paper are echoes of our soul”, said Reed, hoping her words will resonate with at least some students in her class. Engrossed students listened to the instructor as she talked about jotting thoughts down on paper and developing a habit of writing, right from a young age.

Approaching this in a structured manner, she urged students to play with words, using strong adjectives. For example, replacing simple words like ‘angry’ with more effective ones like ‘furious’. It’s an idea she believed will not only catch the reader’s attention, but also create a picture in their mind.

“Sometimes writing can be daunting and often when people are asked to write something, they stare at a blank page for long. But children are more spontaneous, they unhesitatingly start churning out ideas. Sometimes, there is even a burst of ideas. So, one simple word can prompt different emotions and ideas in them, ranging from horror, humour and disgust to love,” Reed said.

While taking the first steps can be both fun and challenging, Reed highlighted the different elements in a story like character building, scene setting, conflict, resolution and the end – all of which she said are important elements to develop a story and eventually engage readers.

The takeaway from the session was not only to construct a story successfully, but to properly examine the way different words work with each other.