Story-Writing 101 (20/1/2010)

A while back I was invited into the local infant school to teach children a little bit about writing stories. I think what I actually managed to teach them was how to draw a cartoon dragon and a cartoon goblin, but hey, they liked the visuals, so here they are, in case anyone wants to try and do a better job.


The ideas I was trying to present are pretty simple, and are also pretty much how I set about writing a novel:

Start at the beginning of the story

Know who your story is about

Know what problem they need to solve

(or what challenge they need to overcome – remember I’m talking to six-year-olds here)


Know the end of the story

What is their last chance to succeed?

What is the final outcome?

(Between you and me, sometimes I do this the other way around and get the end before I even know to whom it is happening, but remember: 6 years old).

(The “story” we ran through here is pretty obvious: Dragon and Goblin want to make a book. Contrary to popular (6-year-old) opinion, Simon Skeleton in the last scene isn’t Simon Cowell…)

Now you’re ready to start. Think of the rest as setting off on a journey: You know where you’re starting, you know where you want to go, but you don’t know how to get there. You need a map (or a compass and some orienteering skills or some combination of both in practice but we’re keeping it simple, remember?).


This is the bit where you just think of a couple of things that sound fun and exciting and happen between The Beginning and The End. I have to admit I’m not very good at describing what happens here: make some stuff up. Don’t lose track of where you’re trying to go.

Anyway, anyone who fancies using the pictures, help yourself. They’re probably a damn sight better than the words that went with them.

One Response to “Story-Writing 101 (20/1/2010)”

  1. simon says:

    Simon Skeleton? Hang on a minute . . .

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