How to Write Your Own Story: Beth Reekles at TEDxTeen (Full Transcript)

Beth Reekles

Beth Reekles – TRANSCRIPT

“Do you want a drink?”, Lee shouted from the kitchen as I shut the front door. That might not sound like the most impressive or powerful starting line, but it was the first line of my first book. And for me, it was the start of a journey because that’s what writing my first novel was for me: a journey.

Just for some background information, when I was 15, I started writing a book called “The Kissing Booth.” I posted it online, and it got 19 million hits. And when I was 17, I was contacted by an editorial, Random House UK, who said, “Hey! We’ve really loved your book. We want to publish it.” I was like, “OK.”

So, a week later, I went out to the Random House offices, got a three-book publishing deal with them, and I felt absolutely incredible. Aside from that, I’m currently doing a physics degree at the university, which is completely diverting away from the creative writing. I am not here to talk about my physics, and I am not here to talk about my books. I am here to talk about how I got started on this journey.

How many of you would say that your book wins? How many of you love letting your imagination run wild? Yeah, also I see quite a lot of hands raised. I would definitely put my hand up to both of those. I really got started writing back in primary school when I was six or seven. You were learning to make stories, you guys all remember in English lessons when your teacher would say to you, “We’re going to write a story on this topic.” I love doing that, and I love going home and making those stories even longer. Everyone needs tools to do the things they love whether that’s a rugby ball, or a musical instrument, or a sewing machine. For me, it was a laptop.

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When I was 11 and started comprehensive school, my parents gave me an old laptop so I could start doing homework for school. I actually ended up not using it much for homework but a lot more for writing books. I never had any confidence in what I was doing; it was just a hobby. It was fun, it was something that I like to do: write stories.

But I was a bit embarrassed by it because I didn’t know anyone who really liked writing. It seemed like a weird hobby. I was a bit shy, a little bit introverted. I didn’t want to seem too weird, so I hid it. I didn’t tell my parents. I didn’t tell the rest of my family. I didn’t tell my friends. I am a teenager: sell-confidence can be a huge hurdle for a lot of us, it’s something that stops us trying new things because we’re scared that people will laugh at us or that we’ll fail at it, and then everyone will just keep reminding us of that failure for the rest of our lives. I didn’t — I wasn’t telling my parents. I wasn’t telling my friends. That was why; because I was a bit scared, and I had no confidence in my writing.

Let me take you now to the start of this journey. I am 15, boredom in my mind, I’m procrastinating homework, because it’s GCSE revision season starting, and I am looking for something to read. This was also a time that Twilight was in all the best-seller spots in supermarkets and bookshops, and it seemed like everything at that time was just vampires, and werewolves, and other paranormal creatures in young adult romances. I was really, really fed up of reading about that. I was just tired of it. I just want to read a regular high school romance with none of the super natural creatures.

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