🖋 Story Writing Lesson For Kids (And Grown-Ups) – Part 2 🖋
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This week’s story writing lesson for kids (and grown-ups) is all about writing the middle your story and using one of two basic approaches to do this.
I hope you find the guidelines helpful in writing a story of your own, and I’ll see you next week where we will go over how to write the end of your story.
All the best,
Story Writing Lessons For Kids – Part 2
Hello, my name is Adam Oakley, and this is part two of the story writing lesson for kids, (and grown-ups).
In Part 1 of the video we began writing your own story. The story is about a child who is unusual in some way, either in what they CAN do or what they CAN’T do, and we started your own story with an opening about how other people view your main character, and what makes them so unusual, or special.
Now that we have an opening, we will move into the body of the story, or what might be called the middle of your story.
The first way is a bit more traditional, where you have a basic plan and ideas in advance, and the second approach to writing the story is the one that I usually take, where I have no plan whatsoever. But more on that later.
What’s In The Middle Of A Story?
Usually stories are quite boring if nothing happens. If it’s just people wandering around talking to each other, that might not be quite as exciting to read or as fun to write, compared to a story with some kind of direction. However, it is possible that you could write a story with no direction, and there could be something about your words or the dialogue that make it very enjoyable to read. I would say there are NO RULES about what your story does.
But, for the purposes of this video, since I’m showing you how to write a story of your own, we will assume that something happens in your story. Usually stories that people enjoy reading have some sort of problem that must be solved, whether it’s someone that needs to be saved, something that needs to be retrieved, or a conflict that needs to be resolved, most popular stories have some kind of tension that the reader wants to see eased, or a challenge that they want to see overcome.
A Guideline To The Middle Of Your Story
In this book, “Happiness Is Inside“, a lot of the stories are about the characters learning a lesson, something that enriches their lives in some way. So, for your own story, if you like, you can say that your main character, the unusual child, will help someone, or they will learn something, or someone else will learn something from them.
Of course, you don’t have to follow this kind of story-line. Your story could be about your main character saving someone, fighting something or even turning evil for a while and then later on finding the light within themselves again. You have total freedom to write what you want, and you can use my guidelines as an aid, if you want them.
I’m going to give you an example from the story I started reading in the last video. The story is called “No Worries”, and it’s about a boy who is born without the ability to worry. Now in his teenage years, everyone is worried about him because he can’t worry, and it seems that no one can understand him. The story continues, with this…
Jerry’s nearest and dearest just wanted him to have a good life, a safe life, a happy life. How could one be safe and happy without worrying beforehand? Everyone seemed to overlook the fact that Jerry was quite happy already, moving quite finely in Life.
People would usually overlook his happiness as if it were not real, as if he had not earned it yet, as if he had not yet a reason to be happy, or that his freedom from worry was unjustified. This was a fair enough assumption, since happiness, like everything else, must be earned in this life.
“Don’t you think it strange that you can’t worry like the rest of us?” asked his sister one day.
“Perhaps,” replied Jerry, quite serenely.
“Well do you ever think there must be something wrong with you?” continued his sister.
“How can I decide what is wrong or right with me, based purely on comparison with other people?” he would reply. “How can I possibly come to a conclusion that is worthy of trust, if it is built merely on comparison?”
It was no use. Jerry did not seem to be able to understand the logic and reasoning of his fellow people. It was as if he were a lost cause.
One day a visitor came from a nearby town. He was tall, well dressed and wealthy-looking, with an air of decency and goodwill. He had heard about this boy with the only known case of Jerryitis in the world. He was eager to see him, interested, fascinated with this boy’s apparent lack of ability to worry.
“I wish to see the boy who can not worry!” he announced in the town square, to anyone who would listen. “Where is he?”
“What do you want to see him for?” replied Cecil standing nearby – one of the only flying children of his generation. “He’s wrong in the head. My parents told me about him. I can fly though. Watch.”
Cecil flew up into the air and did three loop-the-loops, before returning back to the ground for approval.
“Yes yes very good,” said the visitor hurriedly, “now where is this boy without worry?”
“He lives just a minute from here,” said Cecil. “I can show you where he lives.”
“Excellent, thank you dear boy.”
Cecil’s heart was warmed by this gratitude from the stranger. Cecil had been so admired for his flying all of his life, that he had begun to feel quite uncomfortable at the fact that this visitor from out of town was not at all impressed by his flying skills. Luckily, however, showing him where Jerry lived was sure to win him some approval.
“Follow me,” smiled Cecil, cheekily, as he took off again into the air. He was ready to return back to his visitor on the ground after jestfully showing off once more, but was suddenly surprised to notice this new visitor right beside him, in the air.
“You can fly as well?! Why didn’t you say anything before?” questioned Cecil, stunned that anyone would not announce their gifts on introduction. Flying was becoming rarer and rarer these days, so his parents would tell him.
“There was no need to,” replied the visitor. “You will notice as you get older, my boy, that trying to impress people is a huge waste of energy and a stupid way to spend your time.”
The air made that familiar whistling noise in their ears.
“People may be impressed by you,” he continued, “but if you are trying to impress people, you are like a clown at work all hours of the day, always looking for the next round of applause. You will exhaust yourself, my boy, and lose your energy for flight. Don’t waste your time trying to convince me or anyone else of your worth, I am certainly not interested. Know your own worth, for what you already are. No one can give you that or take it away from you.”
Young Cecil had never heard anyone speak like this before. It felt good, it felt warm. He liked his new acquaintance.
“There it is,” pointed Cecil, as both figures descended to the ground, landing lightly before a cosy-looking cottage on the corner of the road.
“He lives there,” said Cecil, still pointing.
“Ah, thank you dear boy,” replied the visitor. “May I ask your name?”
“Cecil…” wondered the visitor, “…what is your favourite drink?”
“Oh I love the Sparkle drink they sell down there,” pointed Cecil to the shop down the road. “My parents let me have it when they are pleased with me…” he stopped speaking, because his new friend had disappeared. The man was nowhere to be seen. After ten seconds of Cecil looking around, confused and smiling, the visitor appeared before him again, right where he had just been standing, except this time he was holding two cold bottles of Cecil’s favourite Sparkle drink.
“Here you are,” the visitor said, “these are for you.” He handed both bottles to Cecil, who took them with two open hands.
Feeling both stunned and delighted, Cecil thanked the man and gave one back to him. “Would you like one?” he asked.
“Oh, how kind, thank you,” replied the visitor. “Shall we sit?”
Two white chairs appeared beside them, and so they sat, enjoying the view of the park that the cottage overlooked, whilst sipping (and sometimes guzzling) this intensely fresh and alive beverage that the visitor had just purchased from the shop. It is a wonderful drink, because it tastes however the drinker wishes it to. Cecil’s tasted like golden syrup, and the visitor’s tasted like fresh strawberries.
Cecil was very fond of his new friend, quite in awe of him, but he could not fully understand him. He had all these gifts, but did not even seem to want to talk about them!
“What else can you do?” asked Cecil, as casually as possible.
“Ah, well!” laughed the visitor. “Many things. I have been very lucky with my gifts. I can fly, summon objects, move faster than the eye can see…I can do so many things. But there is one ability I wish I did not have.”
“What?” asked Cecil.
“The ability to worry,” said the man, definitively.
“My parents worry a lot,” said Cecil, understandingly. “They are always worrying about my flying – if it will stay for long, how good I will be – stuff like that. They say I’m too young to worry about things, but I’m due to start quite soon.”
The visitor sipped the remainder of his beverage, realising that during his drink with his young accomplice, he had no longer been feeling so hurried to meet the boy who could not worry. He paused for a moment and took a breath. Then he arose from his seat.
“I feel it is time for me to meet this boy without worry now,” expressed the visitor, looking at Cecil. “Would you care to join me?”
“Ah, no thanks,” replied Cecil. “My parents say not to speak with Jerry, since he may take away all chance I have at worrying when I’m older.”
“I see,” said the visitor, concerned. Before he could try to convince Cecil otherwise, Cecil was in the air.
“I’ll come back to say goodbye in an hour’s time,” he called cheerfully from above, and off he flew into the distance.
And that’s the middle part of the story.
The middle part of this story brings in another character who wants help. Albert is also unusual, because he actually WANTS to be able to not worry. He is fascinated by the disability that Jerry has, and he sees the value in it. While Jerry is surrounded by people who think his disability is a bad thing, Albert sees it to be a very good thing, and he is on a mission to meet with Jerry. Along the way we also meet Cecil, who starts to learn a few lessons from Albert, and at the same time, he acts as Albert’s guide.
Their goal is for Albert to meet with Jerry, in the hope that Jerry can show Albert how it’s possible to not worry about things.
In a more elaborate version of this story, there could be many twists and turns during this middle section. There could be obstacles stopping these two characters from reaching their desired destination, and there could be more at stake for them both – maybe reaching their destination would help save someone’s life or stop something bad from happening. But if you are new to writing stories, it’s okay for the story to be fairly basic and simple, because once you get good at writing simple stories, writing more epic and complicated stories will become naturally easier for you.
Simplicity Is A Solid Foundation
It’s important to remember that being able to tell a simple story really well is far better than having a complicated story with lots of characters that has no flow or direction. It’s just like reading – when you learn to read you have to start with basic sounds, then you start to say basic words, then basic sentences, and then gradually and naturally your speech can become more complex where you can explain things in detail, but that all comes from mastering the simple stuff first. So don’t be afraid of having a simple story at this stage. Simplicity is a solid foundation for great complexity.
🖋 Start Writing 🖋
So, now it’s time to write the middle part of your own story. As with the last story writing lesson video, you can approach your writing in two different ways…
Option #1 – Plan
The first way to approach the next part of your story (the middle of your story) is to have ideas about what you want to happen. What other characters would you like to be involved, what would you like them to learn, or how would you like them to be helped? What lessons do you think are important to learn as you grow up, or what have you learned so far?
Maybe someone learns how to be free from negative and limiting opinions of other people, maybe someone learns that sometimes it’s good to not always fit in, because you don’t get influenced by other people’s ways of thinking, or perhaps someone learns that you don’t need to be liked by people in order to be happy. Perhaps someone needs help fixing something, making something or saving something. The possibilities are endless, but you can start by writing down general ideas for other characters you want to bring in, and how they need to be helped or what you want them to learn.
The middle of the story usually involves some kind of journey, so you can plan in a very basic way what journey you want to happen. It doesn’t necessarily have to be physical journey, moving from place to place, it can be an inner or emotional journey as someone starts to change the way they think, or they grow in some way or begin to achieve something.
So, to make things simple, if you’d like a guideline of what to plan for the middle of the story, you can answer these basic questions:
We have already defined who your main character is and why they are unusual. In my story the main character was Jerry, the boy who cannot worry.
Main character – Jerry the boy who cannot worry.
Then you can ask:
Who will be helped or who will learn something in the story?
In my case it was:
Albert – the man who has everything but still wants to know how to NOT worry.
Then you can ask:
How will this character be helped?
For my story the answer would be:
He will search to find Jerry, and he will be aided by a boy named Cecil.
What will happen during the journey to get help?
In my story the answer would be:
Cecil will guide Albert, they will become friends, and Cecil will also gain wisdom from Albert.
So that’s a very basic way of planning the middle of your story. Once you have those questions answered, you can start to write the story yourself.
Option #2 – No Plan
The other way to approach writing your story is the approach I take – which is to have no approach at all. With the story I have been reading to you, I just sat down and started writing it. I didn’t have any plan, I didn’t ask myself any questions about what was going to happen, I just let the story write itself.
The meaning and the lessons behind the story was inspired by articles I had been writing for my blog, InnerPeaceNow.com, but what happened in the story was very spontaneous, in the moment.
This might seem like a strange approach. Some people can’t understand how it works, and that’s fine. If you like to have a plan for your story, if you have lots of ideas for what can happen and what characters you want to involve and the kind of journey they can go on then that’s great. You can even write a far more detailed plan than they one I have already mentioned. You can write every detail that comes to your mind about what you want to happen in your story, as your characters go on their journey to learn something or be helped in some way.
Personally, when I try to plan stories, I don’t have many good ideas. My ideas and good writing come when I’m directly in the story, when I don’t know what will happen next or who will show up next. When I approach a story in that way, it’s almost as if I’m entering another world where I’m watching the story unfold, so I don’t have to think about what will happen next, it just happens in my mind. I’m not thinking, “What do I want to happen next in the story?”, it’s more like I’m asking, “What does the story want to happen next?” or “What actually happens in the story?” You can treat your story as a very real thing that you are a part of, watching it unfold, and rather than thinking about what to write, it writes itself through you. For me, this process makes the whole experience of writing much more enjoyable, where I can be surprised and delighted by characters that arise or events that happen.
If you use this method you might still have ideas about what can happen later on in the story, and if you do it’s always useful to note down your ideas so you can refer to them later on.
This method of spontaneously writing a story with little or no plan can take a level of trust. Sometimes you might find yourself writing something that you think makes no sense, but later in the story, somehow it is solved. Maybe I can make another video about this process in more detail, but at the end of the day, what you are doing right now is experimenting. Remember in lesson 1 that the very first tip was that you don’t have to worry about the story being good. If you are a young person, or a person of any age, being creative is about finding your best way of doing things, seeing what works for you and experimenting with ways of creating that can bring the best out in you.
There are some tips that I have to help you connect more strongly with the creative power inside of you that can create and write stories through you. I’ve made a separate video for this, and when it’s available I will post the link at the bottom of this page.
The middle of the story sets this up, but doesn’t fully resolve everything. The lesson is not yet fully learned, or the help has not yet been fully given. The middle of the story is the process to reach the help or the lesson to be learned, in this case. In other stories it can set up the fight that is about to take place, the enemy that must be conquered, or the danger that must be averted. The middle of the story takes you to the end, but it doesn’t end anything.
To summarise, the middle of your story, in this case, should include:
1. Who needs help from your main character, or who will learn something from your main character.
2. Their journey to achieve this. Their journey could take place within a school playground, or it could take place through a journey overseas between countries. It’s completely up to you.
And that’s it for today. Now it’s up to you to just relax and let the middle of your story be written through you. Remember if you start to judge your story when you are writing it, that might interrupt your creativity. If you really want to judge your story as good or bad, you can always do that later, but don’t think too much or judge too much while you are writing. Let the story write itself.
The next video I post will be about the end of the story, where I’ll also be reading the end of my own story from “Happiness Is Inside“. Subscribe to my YouTube channel above or bookmark this page, and I will share the link below when it’s ready.
I hope this video has been helpful for you. Thanks for reading this story writing lesson for kids, and I’ll see you next time.