1. Begin a story with the words: “I never believed in magic until the day I saw my sister vanish.”
2. Imagine finding a suitcase full of money, hidden under a bridge? How much is in there? Where did it come from? Sounds like the start of a story to me.*
3. What if you woke up one morning with the ability to read minds? Your friends, your teachers, your parents. That strange kid from over the road. What would you discover? A secret plot, a new friend, a person in trouble?
4. Here’s one from my daughter Ruby: Write a story about a school for robbers. What sort of subjects would they teach? Who are the teachers? What could possibly go wrong?*
5. And here’s a great title from Evie: ‘The Portal to Elsewhere.’ But where does this portal go? Underground, underwater, outer space? And what kind of portal is it – a doorway, a window in the air, a pit of quicksand? You tell me.*
6. You know what Dads are like – always telling you to “eat your dinner”, “do your homework”, “don’t tie all those balloons to your guinea pig.” Well, what if he lost his voice for a day and couldn’t tell you what to do? And – more importantly – what not to do?
7. Write a story based on the last (or next) dream you remember. Now we all know dreams can be bonkers – that’s good for a story. But often, they don’t make sense. That’s not so good. So try and makes sense of the bonkers and turn it into a story.
8. Write a story titles ‘The Giggles.’ Think about what gave your character the giggles? What things would be particularly tricky with the giggles? How about eating? Singing? Being quiet in class? And remember – laughter is infectious . . .*
9. Imagine a character walking past a public phone box. It rings. They answer. Think about: Who is calling? Someone they know or a complete stranger. Where are they calling from and why? Are they playing a joke or are they in danger? What happens next? That’s entirely up to you.
10. Write a story that ends with these words: And I knew from that moment, that I would never ever eat custard again.
*Taken from Unleash Your Creative Monster. A children’s guide to writing.