Do you like making up stories about your favourite book characters, or inventing new characters? What happens when you try writing them down – does writer’s block set in?
From fear of the blank page to worries over spelling, writing a story can be a real challenge, as you try to use your reading and writing skills to tell a gripping tale.
To help you channel your inner author, we’ve asked the author of How to Write your Best Story Ever!, Chris Edge, to share his top 10 tips to help get you writing:
1. Story sparks
Every story needs a spark of inspiration. Everyday life is a great place to start.
Maybe a place you visit on a day out could become the setting for a spooky story, or a newspaper headline about a Jack Russell terrier who makes friends with a tiger could inspire an amazing animal tale. When you start looking, you can find inspiration everywhere! Download our Stuck for a story idea? activity sheet.
2. All you need is a book
Find or make a creative space that’s your own – a notebook or journal for you to scribble down story ideas, invent incredible characters, or even draw pictures of the places where you want to set your story. A writer’s notebook is a private place where you can gather your inspiration.
3. Reader to writer
Every writer is a reader and every reader can be a writer too. Think about the books you are reading. What are the best bits? What are the worst? Who’s your favourite character and why? Write down your favourite lines and think about how the books you are reading could inspire your own spin-off stories and sequels.
4. Opening lines
Sometimes the hardest thing about writing a story is the fear of the blank page. You can conquer this fear by finding an opening line. Why don’t you take a book off your bookshelf and use the opening line as the first line of your own story? Download our Start your story activity sheet.
5. Remix a story
Making a mash-up story that mixes together characters from different books, films, and TV shows can be a lot of fun. Choose a favourite character from a book and create a story that puts them into your favourite TV show or videogame.
How would Sherlock Holmes solve a Minecraft mystery? What would happen if Mr Gum entered The X Factor? Let your imagination run wild!
6. A picture can inspire a thousand words…
A visit to an art gallery – or even just looking at photos in a magazine – can inspire a story. Talk to your parents about the pictures you see, and think about characters, settings, and situations you can turn into a story. Wordless picture books such as Journey and Quest by Aaron Becker can help you invent your own story to accompany the pictures.
7. Making a map
If you are a big fantasy fan and love stories about dragons, wizards, and monsters, try to create your own magical land. Look at maps of other fantasy lands such as Middle Earth and Narnia and think about the stories that are set there. Making a map can help to inspire fantastic adventures.
8. Comic books and coding
Writing a story isn’t always just about the words. Creating comic books, picture books, and illustrated stories can use your artistic talents too. Or you could move from page to screen and get coding to create an animated tale.
9. Share their stories
Try your new story out on your parents. Type it up, print it out, make it look like a book, and send it out to friends and family. Look out for creative writing competitions, such as BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words competition, that let children share their story with a big audience.
10. Have fun
Why not get your parents to join in and make up their own story too? The novel Lionboy was written by eight-year-old Isabel – and her mum Louisa Young – under the pseudonym Zizou Corder. Work together to make up your own bedtime story and you might find you’ve written a bestseller! Good luck!
Creative writing activities
Books from Christopher Edge
Christopher Edge | Age 7+
From how to overcome writer’s block to what words to use to best effect, How to Write your Best Story Ever! is designed to help all children unlock their story ideas and write their own best ever stories.
Packed with entertaining illustrations that will inspire your child, this book is filled with tips on how to write in particular genres, create exciting characters, and write powerful sentences using metaphors, similes, and idioms.
Christopher Edge | Age 9+
This book will help children learn to craft brilliant stories, create believable characters, write powerful endings and much more.
Packed with practical tips and insider advice from published authors, this guide opens up the secrets of how to write well and guides young writers all the way through from beating the fear of the blank page and learning to edit their work, to how to get other people reading their stories.
Christopher Edge | Age 7+
A must-have notebook to unlock the imagination and inspire children to start writing. Full of great hints and tips, and activity pages for jotting down words, sketching characters, and writing in stories. A perfect companion to How To Write Your Best Story Ever!
Christopher Edge | Age 7+
A must-have write-in book for kids to put down their ideas, set the scene, choose their characters and craft their best short story in 500 words. With colourful illustrations throughout, it has prompts and ideas for building plot, action, characters and scenes. It also has suggestions for beginnings and endings to help children who are looking for a starting point.
In a format ideal for slipping into their school bag, carrying around the house or taking on holiday, this notebook is ideal for capturing ideas on the go, or putting in finishing touches at the end of the day. Perfect to inspire your child’s creativity and get them writing for fun, homework, or competitions.