Essential Rule – always miss a line between each line you write. This gives you space to cross things out or add new ideas in. It’s not wasting paper, it’s giving yourself room to think!
• The essence of a good story is to find an interesting character in a difficult situation, then to help him or her get out of it in a believable way. You need never be stuck for ideas - Each person who has ever been has a story to tell. You are the detective who has come to find at least one of these stories – then to tell it! Think laterally. Something simple you see or hear at school or read in the paper might ‘kick start’ you into a fascinating direction. Keep a notebook and write down all the interesting ideas you have, then when you are stuck, you will have a treasure chest of good ideas to draw on!
• How to find your story: Listen to myths and legends, the tales that people tell, reminiscences. Use your senses: sight, touch, taste, hearing, smell… and your sixth sense (what is that?). Does something you hear, see, touch, smell, or taste give you an idea? Don’t forget, write it down! It’s cool to re-write an old myth or story in your way. Take Jack and the Bean Stalk. Have you ever thought about why Jack was lazy? Imagine you had a Mum who nagged you all day, you’d want to stay in bed as well. Milking the cow or taking her to market wouldn’t be your idea of a fun time. Try writing Jack’s point of view:
It was Jack’s thirteenth birthday- but there had been no presents, no cake, just Mum yelling up the stairs, ‘Jack? Jack! Get down here right away…’!
Now write on from there!
• How to hold onto your ideas. Make notes, make notes, make notes, make sketches, take photos, oh, and it’s sometimes a good idea to make a few notes as well.
• Look through your notebooks, look at your sketches and try and make up as much as you can about one character - someone you once met, a man you saw on a bus... Who is he/she? When did they live? What sort of person are they? (Are they kind, angry, ‘tetchy’, firm… or a bit of everything on different days?) Why are your characters the way they are? Have they had a bad time? Did their parents spoil them? Then think up an interesting, difficult situation for your character to be in.
• Mind Map® you ideas, click here to view an example of a Mind Map®.
Why are your characters the way they are? Have they had a bad time? Did their parents spoil them? Then think up an interesting, difficult situation for your character to be in.