Next week (June 7 - 11) I am The Age newspaper's Premier's Reading Challenge blogger. Below is the introduction that will run in this Sunday's Age to encourage kids to go online and chat with me as a Premier's Reading Challenge ambassador about reading, writing, or anything really. If you don't get The Age you can you can access the blog by going to www.education.theage.com.au and selecting 'ERC blog' from the top navigation bar or via this link:
Hope to see some of you there!
Often when I am running writing workshops with students the first thing I will be asked is how to come up with an idea for a story.
Here is an exercise I get them to try.
Think of a character. Then think of your character’s ‘every day’ or ‘normality’. Then think of an interruption to your character’s normality. This is called an ‘inciting incident’.
It can be a big, fantastical interruption to your character’s every day life:
Every day Gus took the tram to work. But one day the tram braked suddenly. Gus looked out the window, and there on the tram tracks was a spaceship!
Or, it can be a small, more realistic interruption:
Every day Samantha checked the letterbox, but it was always empty. One day, when she opened the box, there was a letter waiting for her.
Whatever your interruption, it should spark questions in your mind that help you progress with the story.
Who is in the spaceship? How did they get there? What is going to happen next?
Who is the letter from? Why has Samantha been waiting for it? What will be in the letter?
Asking, then answering, these kind of questions can be a good way to come up with ideas for a story.