🖋 Story Writing Lesson For Kids (And Grown-Ups) – Part 1 🖋
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This week’s story writing lesson for kids (and grown-ups) is all about making a start to your story and coming up with a good idea that you will enjoy writing about.
First we will go over some basic writing tips that can make your writing easier and more enjoyable. Then we will make a start to writing your own story, with a few steps to guide you through the process. The theme for today is stories about unusual children – children with special abilities, powers or perhaps disabilities that give them some kind of advantage in life.
I hope you find the video helpful for writing your own story.
Story Writing Lessons For Kids – Part 1
Hello, my name is Adam Oakley, and this is a creative writing workshops for kids.
If you don’t know me, I’m an author from the UK, I’ve written lots of books, and most recently I’ve written the series, “A Tale Of Two Ninja Kids”, which is a martial arts adventure story for anyone aged 7 and up.
A mother and son who were enjoying these books asked if I could make a video about how I write a story, and show YOU how to write a story of your own.
Before I do, I’ll quickly mention the first story I ever wrote (see video above). It was called Vampire Snake. I was 10 years old, and it was a project for school. We were told we could write about anything we wanted, so I wrote about a snake who would go round the town biting people and causing all sorts of trouble. In the first chapter of the book, the snake actually bites my teacher at the time. I don’t know how she must have felt reading that, but she was taken away in an ambulance in the story. and the snake keeps going through the town biting people, some not so nice people, and eventually they catch the snake.
So that was the first book I wrote.
Today, we’re going to do two main things:
- Get some writing tips, some you may not have heard before.
- Start a story of your own. Starting is usually the easiest part.
Tip # 1 – Don’t worry about it being good.
Sometimes people can psyche themselves out of writing or doing anything creative, because they think it has to produce a certain result. If you’re worried about how good your story will be, or if you teacher will like it or if you’re mum and dad will like it, then it might feel difficult. If you want to write a really good story, I would say not to worry about the outcome, or what anyone will say about it.
Tip # 2 – Don’t worry about spelling and punctuation at first.
Of course words need to be spelled correctly and you should have full stops and commas in the write places, but you don’t have to worry about that the first time round. The first time you write a story (your first draft, if you like), if you are too worried about how to spell every word, then it will spoil the flow of the story. The story is the most important thing to begin with, and you can always fix the spelling later, or write it out again with all the spelling correct.
Tip # 3 – You don’t always have to have a plan.
In fact I never plan what will happen in the story, because I don’t know what is going to happen. If you’ve read the ninja books, you’ll know it’s a continuous story that comes together nicely at the end, and it might seem as if there was a plan behind it. But there was no plan. I would usually sit down, thinking I have no idea what will happen next, and then, as long as I was OK with not knowing what will happen next in the story, I would have an idea for a sentence, and then after I wrote that first sentence, it was as if the story would write itself through me. And that’s always how I feel writing should be, at least for me, it should be spontaneous and creative in the moment.
If you do have a plan and lots of ideas for what you want to happen in the story, then that’s fine, but you don’t always have to have a plan, especially if you don’t feel like making one. Sometimes you might write better if you don’t.
Tip # 4 – Just start.
Bearing in mind it doesn’t have to be a good story, bearing in mind you don’t have to worry too much about spelling and punctuation the first time round, just making a start can be a place for lots of ideas, and a sense of eagerness to want to carry on with the story.
So, lets actually make a start. Today the theme will be unusual children. So, children with special abilities, superpowers, or perhaps disabilities that actually give them some kind of advantage in the long run. If you want to write a different kind of story then that’s fine, you don’t have to follow this theme, but if you want a bit of guidance, your own story should be about an unusual child, a child that sticks out from the crowd or has a secret that makes them different.
To show you what I mean, I’ll show you one of my stories about an unusual child. It’s from my book, “Happiness Is Inside”, which is a book of short stories about happiness and inner peace.
The first story in the book is called “No Worries“, and it begins like this:
Jerry was a strange boy, no one could understand him. His parents had known there was something wrong with him from a young age. He was seventeen now, and some people were still uncomfortable with it.
Some children are born with special talents or abilities in this world. Some can fly, some can move extremely fast, some can turn invisible. These children are gifted. But Jerry was not gifted. He actually lacked an ability that everyone else seemed to have, that took up so much of people’s energy and time. Jerry, could not worry.
He had never been able to. He was simply unable to worry. He couldn’t worry even when he tried to. They had named a condition after him – Jerryitis – the inability to worry.
“You must be worried about something?!” questioned his peers and elders. “Anything…anything at all?”
Jerry would just shrug his shoulders…”No,” he would say simply.
“I don’t understand him,” his father would often repeat to himself and anyone else who would listen. “He has so much to worry about. His future is not secure, who knows what could happen next?”
“We just have to try to accept the fact that he can’t worry,” his mother would reason, “it is not his fault, he can’t help it, he just can’t do it like we can, although…” she would say under her breath, “…I can’t help but worry about him sometimes.”
So that’s how the story begins. Of course everyone is always taught that a story should have a beginning, a middle and an end, which usually means the beginning should be interesting and draw the reader in to reading, the middle should be a process that that the reader wants to be engaged in and keep reading, and the end should bring everything together and form some kind of conclusion…but for now, we can forget about all of that. All we are focused on is enjoying the story, and making a start.
So, how do you actually make a start?
There are two basic ways:
Option #1 – Have An Idea About Your Main Character
The first way, and perhaps the more normal way, is to have an idea about your main character – the child who is different to the rest, the child that has something unusual about them, some kind of special ability, or a lack of ability (meaning they don’t have an ability that other people do). In the story I just read, I took something that is very normal for most people, which is the mental habit of worrying about things, and I had a young boy born without that ability, to see what would happen to him. It’s also set in a world where lots of people have amazing special abilities, to make Jerry’s inability to worry seem even more unusual.
That story actually came from me being told by other people that I should be worried about something. I wasn’t sure if I agreed that worry was useful in any way, so I wrote a story about what it might be like to not have the ability to worry, and what might happen as a result.
So you can base the child in your own story on yourself, if you like. It can be based on an ability you wished you had, or something that other people might make fun of you for, when really it’s something that makes you special and unique.
The main character’s special ability or lack of ability could also be based on what you like to do. It could be based on sports, or science, or dancing, or nature, or learning, or animals, or whatever you want. You can start by writing about what you’re interested in, and what you like, because if you’re writing about what you’re actually interested in, then you’re more likely to enjoy writing, which will also make the story better.
With the A Tale Of Two Ninja Kids books – I like martial arts and I like things to do with the power of the mind and traditional martial arts life values, so writing about all of those things was very easy and enjoyable.
When you enjoy it, you have better ideas, and you have more energy to keep writing the story, a story that you can be engaged in, which means it will be much more enjoyable to read.
There are no rules about who your main character can be, and no one can tell you if it’s a good idea or not. It’s up to you.
Option #2 – Just Write
The other way of making a start to your story, is to just sit down, perhaps without an idea, and start writing. You can write anything, whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t even have to be a story. If you are struggling to come up with ideas, then you might just start by writing this:
“I don’t know what to write. This is boring. I have no ideas. I don’t know what to write about. I wish I could just come up with an idea. I want to be able to write a story really well. Perhaps my story could be about a kid who…“
So just through sitting down and writing anything, writing out all the thoughts in your head – that can help to clear space for some ideas to come. It might take a little while, but if you still can’t think of an idea that you like for your story, then just write for ten minutes, and then come back another time. If you sit and try to force an idea to come, it usually doesn’t work very well, at least in my experience. If you keep just writing anything you feel like writing, if you still don’t have any ideas, then eventually an idea should come.
After you have your idea for your main character, the child who is unusual in some way, either in what they can do, or what they can’t do, then it’s time to actually write the story.
What To Write
In my story I started with: “Jerry was a strange boy, no one could understand him…”
So, you can begin by talking about other people’s reactions to your main character. How do people view them? Is your main character liked or disliked? Are they popular or are they an outcast? What do people say about them? How do people view them? What kind of world do these people live in? Is it a world like ours, or do they live in a strange world where things aren’t the same as they are here?
This is what some people might call ‘setting the scene’, where you set up the environment or you set up the world that your story is based in
And then you can explain why your main character is actually unusual. Why do people view them in such a way? What makes your main character unusual and different? What is their special ability, or disability that makes them unique?
And that’s the beginning of your story.
And That’s It!
So that’s it for today. We are just making a start. Hopefully you can have an idea for a story that you will enjoy writing.
If you really struggle to find an idea of anything, then just write about your present experience. You can write about a child who doesn’t know how to write a story, and then maybe your story can be about that child finding their creative power again.
But use that idea as a last resort. It’s best if you come up with something yourself that you feel good about, something that will carry you throughout the writing process.
The next video will be about the middle of the story, and how to continue writing the story that you want to write. I’ll see you then.
Thank you for reading, see you next time.
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