Making up stories

 

By Cheryl Moskowitz

Typewriter

I love stories. I love reading stories and listening to them. There are loads of great stories out there but I wonder, have you ever thought of being the one who makes up the stories?

 

Let’s try.

Stories usually have a beginning, a middle and an end.

 

The beginning should provide a setting (where the story starts), the middle should introduce a conflict (some kind of difficulty or problem that disturbs the scene) and the end should provide a resolution (some way of dealing with the problem).

 

A story has to start somewhere so right now, while we are mostly having to stay inside our houses, let’s think of a story that might take us outside. Somewhere big perhaps.

 

Think of somewhere big.

A city? A park? An ocean?

It could be anywhere.

A castle? A planet? The universe?

Some place you know about would be good. I grew up in a place called Colorado where the Rocky Mountains are, so how about we begin our story on a mountain? That’s big!

Snowy Mountain Photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger

The mountain can be the setting for our story, but we need to know a bit more about it. Is it a rocky mountain? A snow-covered mountain? A magic mountain? How high is it? What can you see there? What can you hear? Does it have a name?

 

When you’ve decided a few things about your setting, you are ready to write the first part of your story. Ours might go something like this:

 

Here we are at Mystery Mountain, the highest mountain in the world. There are many beautiful trees and flowers growing at the foothills of Mystery Mountain but as you climb higher and higher it gets colder and colder and nothing can grow. The very top is covered by clouds and no one has ever been there before. It is very quiet on Mystery mountain. All you can hear is the occasional bird flying by and the wind gently blowing. 

Doodles

Now we need to think about the middle part of the story, the conflict. Something needs to happen that creates a problem. But what? Perhaps it is something scary?

Think of something scary.

Loud bangs? Dark places? Nightmares?

It could be anything.

Monsters? Aliens? Earthquakes?

Now think of something you find especially scary. I am scared of storms, like tornadoes. So shall we put a storm into the story we are making now?

 

What kind of storm? Where does it come from? What does it look like? What does it sound like? What happens?

We are halfway up Mystery Mountain when suddenly the wind gets stronger. The sky has gone dark and everything has turned a strange colour. A brightly coloured bird trying to fly is being pushed back by the wind and needs our help. We want to protect the bird and also to find shelter ourselves from the storm but there are no trees, nothing. Only sharp rocks everywhere. The wind is roaring now, like an angry beast. We hold on to each other, and the bird, and try to find way to say safe and not be blown away. We are cold and frightened.

Goodness! That is scary. Let’s stop the story there for a moment while we have another think. We need to work out how this story is going to end. How are we going to resolve the predicament we are in? We need to think of something strong, and quick!

 

What can you think of that is strong?

Metal? Stone? Magic?

Could be anything.

People? Animals? Nature?

There is nothing but wind and sharp rocks on this mountain but they are both strong things. Maybe they can help?

Let’s see….

The rocks begin to wobble in the wind. Afraid we might fall with them we gather ourselves into a huddle and pile the rocks. They are heavy and sharp. The bird starts to knock at them with her sharp beak. She has given us an idea! Maybe we could use the rocks to chip away at the side of the mountain and create a shelter? Quick! The wind is getting stronger and soon we’ll be blown away. We find the heaviest rock to use as a hammer and an extra sharp one for a chisel. There is a loud CRACK! and suddenly a doorway in the mountain opens up. Inside is a rainbow paradise. It is the bird’s home. There are loads of other colourful birds in there, and a spiral staircase leading upwards. Safe from the wind we begin to climb, guided by the birds. Up and up we go until we come out at the top of Mystery Mountain, above the clouds, above the wind. Safe. And now we know exactly what’s up there.  

Parrot Image 

Fantastic! Maybe you’d like to write this story out in your own words, adding any extra bits you think of, and make some illustrations to go with it. Or you could start on a new story of your own. It could be set anywhere, about anything you choose. Think of something BIG, think of something SCARY, think of something STRONG. Try it.

Storm at Mystery Mountain

Here we are at Mystery Mountain, the highest mountain in the world. There are many beautiful trees and flowers growing at the foothills of Mystery Mountain but as you climb higher and higher it gets colder and colder and nothing can grow. The very top is covered by clouds and no one has ever been there before. It is very quiet on Mystery mountain. All you can hear is the occasional bird flying by and the wind gently blowing. 

 

We are halfway up Mystery Mountain when suddenly the wind gets stronger. The sky has gone dark and everything has turned a strange colour. We see a brightly coloured bird trying to fly by. The bird is being pushed back by the wind and seems to need our help. We want to find shelter for ourselves also but there are no trees, nothing. Only sharp rocks everywhere. The wind is roaring now, like an angry beast. We hold on to each other, shelter the bird, and try to stop ourselves from being blown away. We are cold and frightened.

 

The rocks begin to wobble in the wind. Afraid we might fall with them we gather ourselves into a huddle and pile the rocks. They are heavy and sharp. The bird starts to knock at them with her sharp beak. She has given us an idea! Maybe we could use the rocks to chip away at the side of the mountain and create a shelter? Quick! The wind is getting stronger and soon we’ll be blown away. We find the heaviest rock to use as a hammer and an extra sharp one for a chisel. There is a loud CRACK! and suddenly a doorway in the mountain opens up. Inside is a rainbow paradise. It is the bird’s home. There are many other colourful birds in there, and a spiral staircase leading upwards. Safe from the wind, we begin to climb, guided by the birds. Up and up we go until we come out at the top of Mystery Mountain, above the clouds, above the wind. Safe.

 And now we know exactly what’s up there. But what?

 

17 May 2020


Registered Charity Number 1174635