…But where do you start?

Along with February comes the brand new creative writing challenge, ‘February Fables’. So if you’ve always fancied having a go at writing a children’s story, now is the perfect time!

But maybe you’ve never written a story before… Maybe you find it hard to come up with a story at all… Maybe you just don’t know where to start.

It’s actually not as hard as you think…

You just need to tap into a part of your brain that you haven’t visited for a while… like, since you were a child. And I say that loosely because the chances are, you regularly use that part of the brain without even realising it… particularly if you spend any time around children!

For example, every Christmas, we share a story with the children around us that a herd of reindeer and a bearded man are going to land on the roof, climb down the chimney and leave presents under the tree. And as unbelievable as that is, somehow, using our own unique ways to make the story seem even more real, they believe it! We even find ourselves becoming totally invested in it too… leaving out mince pies for Santa and of course a carrot for rudolph. We find all kinds of ways to make the story believable… and we do a good job of it too!

One great way of reconnecting with that ‘story-telling’ part of the brain, is to spend time with children. Watch them play, listen to what they are saying to each other… They have the most amazing imaginations and in their world, absolutely anything can happen!

Think back to when you were a child…

When I was a little girl, my best friend and I used to play a game where we had been accidentally swallowed by a giant. We used to throw ourselves around the garden pretending that we were sliding down to his stomach. Then we’d pretend that he’d burped and then promptly throw ourselves in the opposite direction! We would spend hours making our way right through the giants digestive system, until we finally ‘plopped’ out the other end (usually when our Mum’s called us in for tea)!

These days, that same friend and I drink coffee and natter. Humph!

But she now has two young kids of her own and I have a 3 year old Grandson, so both of us are still able to tune in to that storytelling part pretty easily when we want to.

Here’s how…

Every day, I walk the dog in the woods behind our garden…

We walk through the gate at the bottom of the garden, down towards the cut-through, past the one way badger door, alongside the badger setts, past the tree stump, past the pond and then make our way home. It takes about 50 minutes.

Whenever our Grandson comes to stay, I also take him down the woods behind our garden. And even though we take the exact same route, it is a whole new adventure…

We walk down the garden to find the ‘magic gate’ to the ‘secret garden’ beyond and tiptoe through the gate really quietly, so as not to frighten the ‘woodland folk’ away. Next, we make our way to ‘Goblin Alley’ to find the ‘Fairy Door’ that the elves, fairies and goblins use, stopping for a while in case we are ever lucky enough to see one. Then we make our way to the big holes in the ground, where the two of us crouch down with our torch and ponder on what might be down there… a Fox? A Rabbit? A Badger? A Monster????

Then we make our way to the ‘Goblin Chair’ and look out for any magical things that might be going on… Once we are satisfied that all is as it should be, we make our way to the pond, looking for the perfect branch to use as a fishing rod on the way. Perching our bottoms on a log, we spend some time fishing for leaves, weeds or anything else that gets caught at the end of the branch. Eventually, myself and a very tired little boy make our way back to the ‘magic gate’. It takes us around 2 hours.

You see? Anything can happen!

What if…?

Spending time with children is a great way of unlocking our own imagination. But even when they are not around, you can still do the same. The next time you are doing something ordinary, challenge your mind to imagine that it’s something ‘extraordinary’. What if, when you open the fridge to get some milk, there was a whole other world behind it… Would you explore it? Well, that’s what’s so great about imagination… You can explore everything in a whole new way! You just have to think like a child again.

February Fables children’s story writing challenge

If you are taking part in this challenge, there are a lot of useful tips on the ‘February Fables’ page to help you with your story. And there, you can also sign up to the newsletter for our free Children’s Story inspiration pdf.

Feb Fables inspiration pdf

I really hope you join us and please do share your writing experience with us! We can’t wait to see what adventures unfold!!

Sandra x

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