• Rachel Roussell

For children: How to be a great author and write an interesting story



Let me introduce myself to start with, no, that's not me in the picture but that's what I was like when I was a little girl. Always drawing pictures and writing funny things.


On a really good day, I look like this.


Hi, I'm Rachel.


I have written this article to help children who love writing. Writing is exciting and your imagination can take you to wonderful places where curious and fascinating things can happen. Much like in the stories Alice in Wonderland or Peter Pan.


I have always been creative ever since I was a little girl. I enjoyed dancing, art and creative writing at school. I love writing and do it for a job. I write about so many different things and I have so many new ideas all the time.


I worked in a primary school for seven years and during that time I became a qualified writer. I have written all kinds of things for lots of different people and businesses. Sometimes, my head is full of ideas that I could pop!

My favourite job is being a mum to my two children that are grown up now. When they were young, I would always do fun, creative stuff with them and we have many wonderful, happy memories. My children are creative too and my daughter is good at writing.


I hope you enjoy being an author and write an interesting and exciting story.


Good luck everyone!


Best wishes, Rachel xx


In a few words I write about the following...


  • Why is it a good idea to write a story?

  • What do you need to start writing your story?

  • What should you think about before you write your story?

  • Here's something you need to know

  • Are you ready to be an author?

  • Here's a quick tip before you start

  • Let's begin and good luck

  • What next?

  • 1st, 2nd or 3rd person

  • Do you need to do research before you start writing

  • An author's checklist

  • Not sure what to write about?

  • My story 'Boots'

  • Writer's block

  • My favourite story

  • The children's books in 2022 so far


Why is it a good idea to write a story? Here are my top 5 reasons.


  1. It’s fun and you can use your imagination. You can write about anything you want to, it can be made up or about something real.

  2. A story is something that you can keep forever and share with people. We all love a good story and you don't have to just write one. You can keep writing about so many different things.

  3. You can add pictures and be creative with your drawing. You don't have to be a brilliant artist, you can draw your characters in whatever style you like. Or, you can copy other pictures.

  4. You can practice your writing skills. Writing is something you need to try hard with because good writing skills will help you get a good job and give you lots of opportunities.

  5. Have you ever wanted to be a TV presenter or actor? This is a great way to start. You can read your story out loud and someone can video you. You can share the video with your friends and family too if you want to or keep it just for you.


What do you need to start writing your story?


  • A pen, pencil and paper or a laptop if you like typing

  • A dictionary or spell check on your laptop to check your spelling

  • Your wonderful and creative imagination. A top tip is if you're not sure what to write about yet, read some books to find out what you think you might like to do. You can always ask your family and friends for some bright ideas




What should you think about before you start writing your story?


Write down your answers to the following questions on a piece of paper.


  1. Who are you writing a story for? Is your story for little children or children the same age as you? If you are writing for very young children, you should keep the story short and easy to understand. Add some lovely pictures because little ones love to look at pictures.

  2. What do you want your story to be about? Are you going to write about an adventure? Will it be a magical story? Or do you want to write about real-life things, maybe about animals or other children doing exciting and interesting stuff?

  3. How long will your story be? You don't need to decide straight away, you can just keep writing and see what great things you can think of.



Here's something you need to know...

Sometimes stories take a long time to write and other times it just happens quickly and easily. You should work at your own pace, your story is special, so don't feel like you have to rush it.


Are you ready to be an author?


Let’s begin building your story, you should ask an adult to help you if you’re not sure how or where to start. Start your writing with a happy thought and make it a fun experience. Just like Henry, he loves to write.




Here's a quick tip before you start...

If you are writing a story with lots of different characters, it’s a good idea to have a storyboard to keep track of what happens to each character as the story progresses. Do you want to know what a storyboard is? Click here for help.


Let's begin and good luck!

Make some notes about the following points.


  1. Choose a title for your story but remember, you can always change your mind. You can always write down different ideas for your title to start with.

  2. Think about the characters in your story what do they look like? How do they act? Your story is a creative journey, you will do lots of changes along the way.

  3. How do you want people to feel when they read your story? Is it a story with a happy ending, or maybe a story that has an exciting ending? Is it a story about real life? How do you want people to feel when they finish reading or listening to your story?

  4. Build a story mountain. You need an idea for the start, the middle and the end. It can just be an idea, remember, you can always change things. You could create different endings and choose your favourite one. What is a story mountain?




What next?


Let your imagination explode with ideas and write. Sometimes it helps to draw the characters that are in your story and keep the pictures close by, changing different features as you work through the story. Remember, there's no rush to write your story, you can do a little bit each day.




1st, 2nd or 3rd person? (this is good to know and it's a good idea to talk through this with an adult).


It's more common to write in the 3rd person, you write the story with the words he/she/it/they instead of writing I. For example, you could write, 'she was running as fast as she could and when she got to the park her friends were there and they decided to climb into the time machine and travel to another world.' Click here to understand more.


Do you need to do some research for your story?


Do you need to do some research for your story? For example, if you are writing a true story you need to make sure you have all the facts right. Ask an adult to help you find that information. Click here to see how to develop your research skills.


When you feel ready, start writing your story and let your imagination run wild. Think of fun, happy, exciting things or your story can be a bit scary, it's up to you.

Use the story mountain as the foundation of your story and create the rest of your story around that. Keep writing until you finish your story and when you have, you can call yourself an author!


If you're not sure how to start, take a look at these classic best opening lines for children's books.


When you've finished writing your story, use this checklist before you start to share your story:


An author’s checklist...


Use this list to check your story.


1. When you have finished your story, check your spelling and grammar. You can ask an adult for help or use spell check or a dictionary. Want to know what a spell check is? Click this link for help. Learn how to use a dictionary here.


2. Have you used good punctuation? Did you remember capital letters, full stops, question marks and commas? Did you use speech marks? Click here for extra help.


3. Are you happy with the title of your story? You can change it if you want to. Click here for help.


4. Have you used descriptive words, are you giving your readers good information in your story about the way things look or how people look? Click here for help.





Not sure what to do?



Here's a little helping hand, here is the outline for my short story called 'Boots'.



Boots

My story is about a cat and a spider who are best friends and the story is written for 5-8-year-olds. It’s an adventure story with a happy ending.






The title of my story is Boots

The main characters in the story are:

  • Boots the cat

  • Legs the spider

  • Harry, Boot’s owner

  • Dotty, Molly’s cat

  • Molly, Dotty’s owner and Harry’s neighbour

  • Bobby, a little boy that lives in the same block of flats as Harry

The character descriptions:

Boots is a black cat with four white feet. Boots is very brave and loves his owner Harry

  • Legs is a spider that has one of his eight legs missing and is Boot’s best friend. He lives in a cupboard and only comes out when Harry isn’t around

  • Harry works from home and he loves hanging out with Boots. When his new neighbour Molly moves in they become good friends and fall in love. Harry is smart and handsome

  • Molly is Harry’s new neighbour she is pretty and kind. She loves her cat Dotty and she falls in love with Harry

  • Dotty is a white cat with black dots, she falls in love with Boots

  • Bobby is 8 years old and he lives in the block of flats, he’s an only child, loves pets but isn't allowed one


Where is the story set?

  • In the block of flats called ‘Tree View’

  • In an old house in the woods


Story mountain:


  • Beginning - Boots lives with Harry and legs, Harry gets a new neighbour Molly who also has a cat called Dotty and they become good friends

  • Middle - Boots gets mistaken for a stray cat and gets taken away by the RSPCA with Legs the spider attached to him but Boots and Legs escape from the RSPCA people and they find an old house in the woods to live in. Harry and Molly are heartbroken that they don’t have their cats anymore

  • End - Harry and Molly decide to buy a house together now she is going to have a baby. They buy the old house in the woods not knowing that it is where Boots and Legs live. They all find each other again and live happily ever after


of You might develop writer's block. Don't worry it happens a lot.


Sometimes, no matter how old you are, how good you are at writing or how much you love writing, you can get writer's block. Even very famous authors get it.

Writer's block is when a writer is stuck, they can't think what to write or the best way to write it. If you get writer's block, the best thing to do is put your story away and wait for a few days then go back to writing it again. Find out more about writer's block.


You might like this:


What's my favourite children's story?

What are the best children's books so far in 2022?