By Nita Delgado
The confidence of ignorance is a superpower and children have this in spades.
This has been amazingly exemplified in 2021’s treasure trove of short stories for Hawkeye’s very own competition.
There was gold in there, obviously, but you would not believe my surprise about the shining jewels of the competition, also known as the Junior Writer category.
Child writers match quality of adult’s stories
Ranging from the ages of nine to fourteen, these child writers have managed to stand up and sometimes surpass the quality of the adult’s stories found in the upcoming anthology Jump.
Why might this be? The running theory between myself and The Boss is that children have the creativity and imagination to not feel constrained the way an adult might to the concept of ‘good writing’. This goes beyond writing stories about teachers vs authority figures, finding dragon eggs in the backyard, and brave little mice. Children don’t tend to find themselves with the same levels of self-doubt and intense second-guessing that adults do, and that confidence bleeds through in their writing.
Know the rules and then bend them
As we learn how to write, to follow the ‘rules of writing’, we have a tendency to restrain ourselves by things we’ve learnt, things we’ve been told are bad writing.
While an experienced writer who knows the ‘rules’ inside and out may break them deliberately for a more satisfying creation, children and beginner writers tend to do similarly due to either not knowing or caring about said ‘rules’ beyond the basics.
To speak metaphorically: to a beginner, a mountain is a mountain, to a hiker, a mountain is a gruelling climb, and to an expert who has finished their trek, a mountain is once again a mountain.
So that’s in a nutshell. Learn your craft completely… whilst retaining the super power of your inner child.
Anyway, make sure to keep an ear to the ground for a new competition we’re setting up.
If you’re a young writer or know a young writer, you’ll be interested in our Hawkeye Fledgling Short Story Competition, which we will keep you updated on in the future!