Writing Craft

Grab a Notebook!

It’s that time of year—the time when you’re back at school armed with your crisp, clean notebooks; sharp, new pencils; and lots of blank pages to fill up. The problem is, as much as you might want to doodle or draw or jot down story ideas on those pages, you can’t. Those pages are usually reserved for math and history facts, science labs, and descriptions about books your teacher asked you to read. And that’s all good! But what about the amazing ideas you have for a story?? What can you do with those?? The same thing! Grab a notebook…and a pencil.  Fill up those pages with anything and everything because like I said before, that’s how you become a better writer. 🙂

So where do we start? Well, I’ll tell you where I start. I open my red notebook—my current favorite color, and pick up a sharp new pencil with a really great erasure.  I write lots of words…in any order and in any place on the page. Whenever an idea comes to me, I write it down.  The words might describe a character, something like, he hates to tie his sneakers or she always walks on her tippy toes.  The idea could describe a setting, like a pumpkin patch behind an old, deserted church. It doesn’t matter what the idea is. In fact you may never use the idea in your real story. The point is to write down the ideas so that you can use them later if you want to.

You can include things like, she has blue eyes, or he has brown hair. Those basic facts are important but be sure you include other more creative descriptions of your characters, setting, and plot as well. In fact, more is better when it comes to getting your ideas down on the page.

This might sound like a lot of work. That’s okay. It is! But you don’t have to write down all this stuff at once. Even your favorite authors can’t do that. It might take time to fill up those pages—or even one. But there’s no hurry. The best stories take time and that’s what you want isn’t it? To write the most amazing story you can. I know that’s what I want and so I take my time. I write ideas in my red notebook, one at a time. Sometimes, one word a day. Sometimes, a hundred words a day. It doesn’t matter. The part that matters is that you’re able to get those ideas swirling! Then one day, like a spark, those words in your notebook will become an amazing story.  So go ahead, grab a red one, or a blue one or a purple one. You never know what will appear on the page.    

But first, if you can, comment in the space below!  Tell us what you think of this idea. Have you tried it before? Have you tried something different? I bet other kids would like to know how you get started on new stories.  Then ask a few friends to do the same. Let’s see how many kids we can get to post a comment!  Remember, later this month you’ll have a chance to post part of your story in Critique Corner. That’s when the real fun starts! 🙂


2 thoughts on “Grab a Notebook!”

  1. Thanks, for sharing your story ideas, Riley! It sounds intriguing. Who doesn’t love a story about someone with secrets?? I’m so glad you posted on the blog. No worries that you write YA. I bet kids would love to hear more! As long as the content is okay for everyone, I’d love to hear more too! 🙂

  2. Hi, this blog is amazing:)
    Okay, so my story idea is kind of…bits and pieces right now. But here goes:
    My MC is Kara, 17, and she works at a summer camp after the last month of school when the falling out with her best friend happened– the one where Kara is confronted with the choices she’s made recently: the ones that could get her in more trouble than she can afford to. And then she crashes into the new guy in town (possibly named Beck, but I’m not sure) who has a dead mother and a rough few months behind him. Together, they try to confront their pasts, and Kara wonders whether she should come clean.
    (NOTE: This is definitely more YA than Middle Grade, so I’m not sure how much I’ll post excerpt-wise when the critique corner gets up and running.)
    And I love writing in a notebook, I carry one with me everywhere. Today in creative writing we started going through poetry and other literature and writing down everything that inspires us and I love that and writing and also scribble tips!

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