Writing is a great way of engaging children in a creative outlet. If they want to write but are finding the process difficult, whether due to writer's block or worrying about spelling and grammar, we have five tips that will help them overcome the writing nerves and create their first story.
1. Come up with ideas, lots of ideas
Having spoken with many, many children's authors over the years, the one thing that becomes clear is that writing a list is where they begin when asked how to write a bedtime story. The list can be about anything at all. Maybe ask your children to pick a word they like the sound of, and then have them list words associated with the keyword, words that rhyme with it, words that are the total opposite of it and so on. From this list they will likely have all of the important words for their bedtime story before they've even started.
2. Find the main character
An amazing bedtime story always features great characters. To come up with heir cast of characters, children could imagine all the amazing things that could happen to their characters or the imaginary worlds that could exist etc. Then they can decide to what extent their characters possess the following qualities: are they kind or selfish, friendly or aloof, a good listener or too busy talking? For example, perhaps a character starts off rather selfish, but becomes kinder once they learn an important lesson.
3. Plan out the character's journey
Once they have a character, the next step is to work out what kind of journey the character will go on. A great way of working out the plot is to work backwards, so ask your children to write down what lesson they think their character should learn on their journey and work back from there. For example, if their main character discovers that they are not real, perhaps they could learn that it doesn't matter that they're imaginary, they are still important to the child who has imagined them. From here they can work backwards to work out how their character came to this realisation and that will become their plot.
4. Take inspiration from other stories
The best way of inspiring children to write and be creative is to encourage them to read stories that are similar to their own, so that they can see what other authors have done with their characters and stories. It's also important to remember that inspiration can be found anywhere and everywhere - even from songs, television adverts and games they play with their friends - so why not try suggesting that your children write down all the interesting things they've seen that day to see if there's anything that could be the catalyst for writing a great bedtime story
5. Have fun!
The most important thing to remember when writing a story is that if you enjoy the story, the likelihood is someone else will enjoy it too - so encourage your children to have fun. Try not to let them get bogged down with things like spelling and grammar, as all of this can be corrected later on. Let their imagination run wild and they'll soon create a children's bedtime story that they're really, really proud of!
These tips are sure to help if your child is planning to enter our Bedtime Story Competition which will be opening for submissions again later this summer.