How to Make a Story by Naomi Jones and Ana Gomez ~ Guest Post

It’s publication day for How to Make a Story by Naomi Jones and Ana Gomez and Naomi will be sharing her top writing tips on how to make a brilliant story.  

I cannot tell you how much we’ve loved reading How to Make a Story. My daughter absolutely loves creating her own stories and she completely related to this wonderful picture book. When Milo decides he’s going to tell a story, it seems like a great idea. A story of his very own, made up by him! The only problem is that he’s not sure how to start … or what to put in the middle … or how to end it!

Milo creates a brilliant story with some inspiration from his loved ones and we see it come to life through Ana’s wonderful illustrations. But what happens when it’s finished? Milo learns the most important lesson of all – stories are made to be shared. I love how Naomi and Ana champion both writing and reading, by weaving two stories into one.

How to Make a Story blew me away. It’s clever take on a story-within-a-story is the perfect tool to help children tap into their inner creative. I am thrilled to be joined by Naomi who is going to share her top tips on creating stories…

Writing Tips and How to Make a Story

I have loved stories for as long as I can remember. Growing up my mum took me and my sister to the library every Saturday to choose some new books. I still remember the feeling of walking into the building, the way everyone spoke quietly inside and how the floor echoed with every step you took. I loved the feeling of possibility when I looked at the high shelves, all those stories that were there, just waiting to be read. It’s probably why I still love bookshops and libraries – they are my happy place.

As I child I would stay up late, reading under my duvet with my torch. Curling up with a good book brings me so much joy and as a grown up, I still find it hard to put my book down and go to sleep when I’m reading something really, really good! I studied English at University and then spent eight years working for Children’s Publishers in London – at Puffin and Hachette Children’s. I was also working on my own writing, I did a course at City Lit and joined a writers group. I wrote poems and short stories, flash fiction and children’s books. I wrote and wrote and wrote.

Fast forward a few years and I am now a mum of two and a published author. I have been a children’s book blogger but now work part time as a freelance editor and mentor helping other children’s writers. My days vary between doing events, writing and editing my own manuscripts and reading other peoples and providing them with feedback.

With my new book How to Make a Story publishing soon I’m also working on some promotional bits and bobs for that. How to Make a Story is about a boy called Milo who wants a new story but is unsure about how to make one up. With a little help from his family, and a lot of imagination he makes an epic story and learns that all stories are better when they’re shared. It was such a fun book to write because I got to think about storytelling and how powerful it can be.

Lots of my books are inspired by my boys and How to Make a Story was no different. When my eldest son was little, he would quite regularly ask me for a brand new story, just for him. Sometimes I would make one up on the spot and sometimes we would make one up together. Initially he was worried about getting it ‘wrong’ but there isn’t really a wrong way to make a story. Often starting is the hardest part.

I am often asked about my advice for aspiring writers and it is very simple regardless of what age you are. Read. Read anything and everything; stories, poems, comics, graphic novels, non-fiction and fiction. The more you read, the more you will learn how a story is put together, the more characters you will meet, the more vocabulary you’ll learn. My other piece of advice is equally simple. To write. To write without worrying about grammar or spelling. To write for the joy of creating something new, and letting your imagination run wild. To have fun and play with it. I also keep a notebook which I jot down all my ideas, or bits of ideas in so I can come back to them later.

I am convinced I have the best job in the world because I get to make up stories and then share them with readers. What could be better than that?

Thank you so much for the brilliant advice, Naomi!

How to Make a Story was published by OUP, 2 February 2023

Buy Now!

ISBN: 978-0192779045

More about Naomi Jones

Naomi worked in children’s publishing for eight years. Since then Naomi has worked as a freelance editor and fulfilled her childhood dream of having her stories published. Naomi is the acclaimed author of The Perfect Fit and its sequel One More Try as well as The Odd Fish, How to Catch a Rainbow and How to Make a Story. Her books have now been published in 19 languages. Naomi lives with her family and their dog in Cornwall. When she’s not writing, Naomi loves to swim in the sea and play netball.

You can follow Naomi on Twitter, Instagram or via her Link Tree.

I am very grateful to the publisher for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book. This voluntary feature contains my honest opinion.

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