On My Mind

-thoughts of a wife, mom, author, illustrator, juggler, toy designer, teacher, camp director, ...



Thursday, January 5, 2012

Story Starter #1

A story starter is often called a writing prompt or something similar. It is created to help you write. Some scenarios are focused around memories or something you may see everyday but not think about. When you write with emotion, it makes a story stronger - the reader can feel it. You have thousands of stories in your mind - I know you do. During PiBoIdMo (thank you Tara Lazar), I came up with more than 50 picture book concepts. They are there, you just have to get used to drawing them out and putting them on paper.

Now here is the first one to play with:
Think about your favorite after school activities (or your kids or your neighbor's kids). If you played sports, think about that. If you were in the band, think about that. Chess club, art club, drama, etc... Now, describe how that activity made you feel. Why was it important to you at the time?

Now to turn it into a picture book or chapter book think about these questions: How old were you? What are or were other kids that age doing for after school activities. How often did you practice or go to this activity? What if you were injured and unable to do that activity anymore? What if one of your friends didn't like that it was taking you away from him or her? Were you talented at this activity? If you were, how did that feel? If you weren't, how did that feel?

How to use a story starter:
Think of it as a springboard for your creative mind. It may lead you running down a path that doesn't lead back to this starter and that doesn't matter. Go with it. Let the hand write or the fingers type and don't over think about a story being perfect. Many of the great kidlit authors of today post on their sites that the first draft is terrible. Just like an artist doodles the first sketches - fix it later. For now, let the words get to the paper.

You could write in first person:
"I raced into the house and tossed my backpack on the floor. I took the stairs two at a time as I sped up to my room. Coach is going to choose which girls get to be in the competition next Saturday at today's practice so I can't be late..."

You could write it in third-person:
"Samantha tripped over Dylan's pacifier as she took the stairs two at at time. She couldn't be late for practice, not again..."

Now write.

Leave a comment and let me know if this starter helped you get anywhere. I will post a new one each day.

5 comments:

  1. I love this, and it certainly will help me as I get into the minds of the kids in the first two PiBoIdMo ideas I'll be working on. Thank you!

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  2. Love this - thanks for the inspiration!

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  3. Great ideas. I like this. Somehow missed you on PiBoIdMo. Glad to connect on this SCBWI Blogger challenge.

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  4. This is such a great idea! I need some story starter help, and I'll be following along now... I have some catching up to do on the ideas. Thanks!

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    1. MotherReader, glad you are enjoying the story starters! There are eight so far this month! Thank you for posting the great blog list on your site!

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