Storystarters – Just a Dog

Inspired by our recent reading of Michael Gerard Bauer’s brilliant novel Just a Dog, I have been working with my sons on our own dog stories. It’s no secret that most kids love animals so they make for brilliant story starters with funny, insightful and emotional results.

Here are some of our Starters (Hope they work for you. Let me know how you get on):

1. ‘I remember’… Write a list of as many memories of Boston (our dog) as you can in five minutes. No stopping to think. No making it perfect. Just write flat out and see what happens.

2. Choose one of those memories and write it in greater detail, then add fictional elements if you like. Expand the story. Ten minutes. And… go!

3. Think about what it would be like to be a dog. What would be going on inside them? Do they have thoughts or just feelings? How might the world look from their perspective? Write a story from a dog’s point-of-view. Ten minutes. Flat out. No stopping.

4. Write a conversation between you and a dog. If a dog could speak what might they say? How might they sound? What would they be concerned with that humans might not think about?

Boston the Dog

These are fun freewriting exercises but they also explore Memory, the Melding of Fact and Fiction in Stories, Empathy, Detail, Point-of-View, Anthropomorphism and Dialogue – key elements of the writer’s craft.

Enjoy! (Check out other Story Starters here.)



  1. February 15, 2013 / 10:41 am

    Beaut – love them. Great way to expand into characterisation development too. Sorry to miss chatting with you last night, Triston. I was otherwise blinded by the illumination of some many wonderful 'stars' in the room. ;-)Dim

  2. February 18, 2013 / 2:35 am

    Hey Dimity

    No worries. I hadn't realised you were there or I would have come and said hello. Next time…

    Glad you like the storystarters.

    Best 😉


  3. February 18, 2013 / 2:46 am

    Ha, lol. Yes it was one of those typical valentine tales…I saw you across a crowded room…

    Always next time 🙂

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