I maintain I am not a creative person. So I baulked at first when we were asked to write a short story that tied in with Forest Holidays’ project, Fairy Tales in the Forest. However, considering how much N loves books, and how I’d love to be able to encourage creativity in N, I thought we could try some different methods to write a story.
Jules Miller has teamed up with Forest Holidays to provide some tips on writing stories, to encourage children to get away from screens and develop a love of books and stories. My favourite tip from Jules is to use a forest treasure hunt to get the creative juices flowing by using all the treasures you find on your hunt.
As we won’t be at another forest for a while, I tried some of my own ideas. Luckily N is happy just hearing an ongoing narrative as a story from me, rather than a finely crafted piece of prose, so we’ve created our own simple stories.
Use questions as a prompt
N’s a bit young at the moment to be making up his own stories, although he’s very good at commentating what he’s doing in his play. So my first thought was to simply ask N some questions and see what sort of ideas he’d come up with.
Needless to say, his ability and interest in answering questions and coming up with ideas hasn’t really progressed. Makes a change when usually he doesn’t stop talking!
As you can see, he’s a bit obsessed with The Gruffalo. We went on the Gruffalo trail a couple of weeks ago, so the interest in forests and the Gruffalo isn’t yet abating. You can find out more about the Gruffalo Trails here.
Use pictures to mix and match a story
We won’t be going to a forest soon, so I dug out some magazines and cut up a variety of pictures, in the hope that providing some prompts might help us develop the plot of a short story.
Once you’ve got pictures, it’s just a case of choosing the pictures in order, and creating a story from them. By using this method, if you have a box or bag full of prompt pictures or flashcards, you can have a never ending supply of ‘choose your own adventure’ stories (remember those from the 80s?!)
From our picture tale, I introduce the surreal:
Adventures in the blue
One day two boys went fishing. They ambled over the rickety bridge across to the other side of the river watching out for the silvery fish swimming below them.
As the river widened the boys spotted a boat. They swung from a tree branch overhead and into the boat, unfurling the sail and sailing downstream.
As they sailed, they heard magical music playing from the clouds. Birds began to fly alongside, singing their song until the rainclouds launched plump radishes from the sky at the boys in the boat. The boys picked up the radishes to see huge comical mouths on them singing along to the pitter patter of their falling.
As the boat bumped to a halt at the edge of a lagoon, the boys gazed into the sunset to see giraffes moving inland. Pondering how to get home again, the boys heard the roar of fire. They were drawn to the sound, running so fast, they stumbled into the hot air balloon basket as it rose up over the sands.
Only half an hour after leaving to go fishing, the boys landed back at home in time for bed.
Disclosure: We received a selection of books from Forest Holidays to prompt us in our story writing for National Share a Story Month, but all words are our own. Jules Miller’s book Ellie and the Tooth Fairy is available on kindle, and on hardback from June.