I know with some writing groups the brief for the next meeting is always just a single topic – and yes, in our writing group, Writers in Stone we have single topics sometimes such as Driftwood, Time, The Bay, but we also have other suggestions for writing. In the past we have had a story in fifty words, haiku’s and euphonic writing, this time we were charged with writing a story for children.
I had it all planned… I’ve mentioned before that I’m forever searching for books I read as child which I have since lost… the children who stay with an elderly relative and in the orchard they find an old caravan attached to an equally elderly car with the registration YAK 1 – in the morning the old car has turned into a yak and they get into the caravan and go for adventures. The other story was of a young girl staying with grandparents who live near a lighthouse and she becomes friendly with the lighthouse keepers, one of whom is called Ben. Since i can’t find these books, not knowing the title or author, I have decided I’m going to rewrite the stories myself, just for my own entertainment – if anyone knows the actual books and either accuses me of plagiarism or just lets me know, I shall delete them immediately and try to get copies of the originals!
So that was my plan, to begin to write one of these stories and share the first chapter with the group… however, new dog intervened and i didn’t finish the part of the story I wanted to share. I brought along another story I had written for children, for reluctant readers, so all was well.
The variety of stories produced by the others was fantastic, and the target audience ranged from 3-5 year olds, to mid to late teens. Here’s a brief description:
- a story for young children told from the point of view of a friend of a little girl in a wheel chair, a little girl with limited speech and movement who turned out to be a super-hero. Genius idea to have the friend as narrator!
- a story for very young children of a brother and “big” sister visiting the beach for the first time, told from the point of view of the little girl. It would be fun for anyone reading it to children as well!
- a little boy whose night is interrupted by a curious but friendly creature, maybe an alien who climbs in to his bedroom through the window. The little boys toys are equally mystified about what it is! We thoroughly enjoyed this, and the active engagement with young readers by asking “what do you think?” was another great idea
- a young boy who neglects his teddy-bear in favour of an iPad; the teddy-bear runs away from home but is found by an elf and some fairies, repaired and returns home to be welcomed by the little boy who loves him and has missed him. This rang bells with all of us, children who neglect a favourite toy when something new comes on the scene – we loved it!
- a little boy’s first day in a new class. Luckily his friend Stewie is moving into the new class too so all is well… even though Stewie is only visible to the little boy! A great story, subtly told – we’ve all had imaginary friends!
- a hilarious story for young teenagers (and adults!) of the blog a teenager has to keep for twelve days for homework, recounting what happens in school – particularly assembly! We were all hooting with laughter!
- a beautiful, truly beautiful story for older teenagers (particularly girls) about a mermaid. This would appeal to adults too, magical!
We published an anthology earlier this year and we intend to publish another next year – maybe we should publish an anthology of children’s stories too!