Let’s say you want to write for children. It’s something you’ve always wanted to do. But, coming up with a great idea for a story can be difficult. Don’t let writer’s block get you down, though. The first thing you should do is think about the story concept. What do I mean by “story concept” you ask? I mean, what will your story be about? Will your story be about a dog finding his way home? Will your story be about a cat who doesn’t get along with other cats? A strong story concept is very important. It is the foundation of your story. Later, it will help you and your editor target a certain market, i.e., children ages 3 to 8 who are interested in cats or dogs.
So how do you come up with a strong story concept? Here is my tip. Ask yourself “What if…..?” Then fill in the blank. Be creative with your concepts. For instance, the market is pretty full of stories about cats and dogs right now. You may want to make your story concept more interesting with something like, “What if a cat and dog pair hitch a ride on the first trip to Mars?”
Here are some more examples of story concepts. Some of them are from my own books:
- What if an oyster wanted to clean the water in the bay? (from Olly the Oyster Cleans the Bay)
- What if a mama duck couldn’t find her nest? (from Mallory the Forgetful Duck)
- What if a child wanted to go on every ride at the carnival, twice?
- What if a lion wanted to make peace with the other animals in the jungle?
- What if the town banned ice cream and it’s your protagonist’s favorite treat?
- What if there was a photography contest at school and your protagonist was determined to win?
- What if your protagonist decided to organize a fundraiser at school for a special family in need?
Take note, each time you write your “what if” statement, be sure to include your protagonist, i.e. the main character.
Once you get started writing “what if” statements, it’s hard to stop. Give it a try and see how many story concepts you can come up with.
Check back again for more writing tips.