Tristan Bancks | Australian Children's & Teen Author | Kids' & YA Books: 'I Remember' Story Starter

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

'I Remember' Story Starter


'Where do you get your ideas?' That's what kids always ask.

I believe that the best place to search for story ideas is your own life. Especially for kids. I read so many stories about mutant-zombies taking over the world and being blown up by armies of gung-ho commandos. But, rarely, a story that a kid can tell authentically. The story can be about a mutant-zombie but, as a reader, I just want one that I can relate to.

My Nan's Tougher illustration by Gus Gordon
In My Life & Other Stuff I Made Up and the upcoming My Life & Other Stuff That Went Wrong I use my own memories from childhood as the starting point and then I add fictional elements, pushing those stories to the end of the line. They are a mash of fact and fiction.

Girl I Like Most in My Class illustration by Gus Gordon.
I Remember
Spend five minutes freewriting a list of memories from your childhood. They can be significant or mundane events. The goal is to write as many memories as possible in five minutes. Write flat out. Don't stop. And go.

1. I remember...

2. I remember...

3. I remember...

4. I remember...

5. I remember...

At the end, read through and choose your favourite idea to develop into a story!

This Story Starter is in the My Life & Other Stuff I Made Up teaching materials and is inspired by an exercise in John Marsden's inspirational book Everything I Know About Writing.

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