Becoming an Author

becoming an author

Becoming an author does not simply mean that you publish a book because with advances in self-publishing, you could technically write and publish a book this afternoon and call yourself an author. At the end of this lesson, you will be able to identify and explain how people go about becoming a successful author.

  • Time

    20-30 minutes

  • Main Skill


  • Topic

    Entertainment and Leisure - Becoming an author

  • Download Available

    Reading Comprehension


Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney shares his advice and top tips about how to become an author. Watch the video and answer the questions.

You are going to read an article called the wrestler who wrote a book.

The wrestler who wrote a book

Phil Norton looks like the biggest, sweetest teddy bear you have ever seen. It is only when he opens his mouth that you notice the missing front teeth. Norton is a three-time world champion wrestler turned author. He was adored by fans because he was different: while other wrestlers were supreme athletes, he was just a hulk who knew how to take a hit. You could throw as many chairs as you liked at Phil Norton, you could smack him repeatedly, but he wouldn't go down.

After two autobiographies and a series of children's stories, he has just written a brilliant first novel: a work of immense power and subtlety, likely to gain a wide readership. At its simplest, it is about a boy and his dad getting together after a lifetime apart, though there is far more to it than that. Was he inspired by anyone he knew? The father, he says, is based on wrestlers he met on the road, friends of his, who appeared to be leading exciting lives, but deep down were pretty miserable.

Norton does not come from traditional wrestling stock. He grew up in California. His father was an athletics director with a PhD, his mother a physical education teacher with two master's degrees- one in literature, the other in French history. He was a big boy, bullied for his size. One day his neighbour had a go at him, and for the first time, Norton realised he could use his weight and size instead of feeling awkward about it. It was a turning point.

At university, he did a degree in communication studies. Meanwhile, he was learning the ropes of professional wrestling. Did his parents try to dissuade him? 'No. They were just really insistent that I finished college. I am pretty sure they thought I'd get hurt and quit wrestling.' But he didn't.

He looks in remarkably good condition for someone who spent 20 years in the ring. His skin is smooth and firm; there are few visible scars. 'It's amazing what retirement can do for you. I looked really rough five years ago, and now I think I look a good deal younger,' he says. People are surprised by the softness of his handshake. 'Yeah, that's the wrestler's handshake,' he says.

Do you have to be a good actor to be a good wrestler? 'I used to really resent the acting label, but it is acting. When it's really good, when you're feeling it and letting that real emotion fly, it comes closer to being real.' What did his children think when they saw him getting hurt? 'Well, they used to think I never got hurt because that's what I told them. When they got old enough to realise I did, they stopped enjoying it. That was, in part, what led to my decision to get out.'

Nowadays, his time is dedicated to family and books. His next novel is about boy wrestlers living on the same block, and he is also writing more children's stories. He does not think this life is so different from wrestling. 'Wrestling is all about characters,' he says. 'So when my fans hear I've written a novel, I don't get the sense that they feel I've abandoned them.'

1. What impression do we get of Phil Norton's skills as a wrestler?

Question 1 of 6

2. It is suggested that Watson's first novel

Question 2 of 6

3. What does 'traditional wrestling stock' in paragraph 3 refer to?

Question 3 of 6

4. What did Norton's parents feel about his interest in wrestling?

Question 4 of 6

5. How does Norton regard the idea that wrestling is like acting?

Question 5 of 6

6. Norton's present life is not so different from his past profession because

Question 6 of 6


Here are the keywords and phrases to learn:

  • autobiographies
  • honest criticism
  • insistent
  • novel
  • publishing online
  • self-published
  • take your time
  • tough to take
  • unconventional path
  • wide readership
  • wrestler
  • All Post
  • B2 First
  • Reading Skills
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B2 First Skills

  • Speaking

    Skills to communicate with others to express thoughts and feelings.

  • Listening

    Skills to improve active listening in order to develop responses to what someone is saying.

  • Reading

    Skills to stimulates imagination memory and recall information

  • Writing

    Skills to foster the ability to explain and refine ideas.

B2 First Themes

  • Entertainment and Leisure

    Opportunities to discover how media and leisure have an impact on people's lives.

  • Environment and Nature

    Opportunities to develop a greater understanding of issues affecting our environment.

  • Health and Wellbeing

    Opportunities to develop a better understanding of how to stay healthy and lead an active life.

  • Learning and Work

    Opportunities to discuss how different societies create roles to develop their skills and knowledge.

  • Culture and Lifestyle

    Opportunities to consider how events which take place impact an individual's life.

  • Science and Technology

    Opportunities to look at the challenges faced by individuals and communities in the modern world.

  • Travel and Adventure

    Opportunities to discover how exploring and visiting different cultures and community can impact our viewpoint.

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