Ping! I Just Had A Good Story Idea For Kids!

Is there such thing as an original idea? Probably not, and there’s no way of finding out if someone had the idea before you did. What can be an original though is how you relate the idea to your particular context.

Whenever I get what I think is a good story idea, it just pops out of my mouth before I can stop it. And my friends have been known to groan and say, ‘Oh no, not another one.’ That’s because most of my ideas usually mean work for someone. Like when I had the idea to dramatize my two books The Pile Up and Yesterday I Played in the Rain at the book launch (or is that books launches?)

My friends however, being a bit like me and not afraid to have people laugh at them, all agreed. And they were spectacular, the best ducks ever. And Anthony had a ball riding the trike around. Now, I’m certainly not the first person to have the idea to dramatize a book. But I’m certainly the first person to get the idea to dramatize my books. So maybe in one sense it was an original idea.

Ideas are like balloons. One puff in the balloon and the balloon expands and changes shape. Another puff and the balloon is bigger again. Regardless who blows into the balloon, its shape will change. Unless you let the air out of course. Now, if the puffs keep coming then ultimately the balloon bursts. So knowing when the balloon is just perfect, that’s the time to stop puffing and tie a knot in the top.

Lets share good story ideas around

Liken this to an idea. You have an idea for a story or any creative writing ideas and share it with friends. By sharing, you’re putting it out there for comment. Someone will perhaps make a suggestion or simply make a like or dislike comment. And that’s what you want, isn’t it? Otherwise why put it out there in the first place?

When a comment or suggestion is made, your idea grows and expands. And your friends become enthusiastic about your idea (you hope) and become part of it. You can learn from other people, maybe they have ideas you would never have thought of.

The point I’m trying to make here is, it doesn’t matter if your idea is the first time, someone, in the history of the world, ever had it. What is important is what you do with the idea. How you blow it up to perfection.

After words are on paper

When Yesterday I Played in the Rain was still words on paper, I took it to a group of friends, Heather Dale the illustrator was one of them, and we were discussing the illustrations. Originally I wrote the story from a comment a Year Three girl said to me. So my idea was to have children as the characters in the book.
During the discussions about the illustrations (everyone was puffing into that balloon), Heather said, ‘Why not make the characters ducks?’

That was a big puff! There was silence around the table for a moment.
‘Great idea,’ said Jenny.
‘I love it,’ Helen.
‘Ducks and water, really works,’ said Coral.
I have to admit, while the conversation was going on around me and everyone was puffing into my balloon, I felt a bit hurt.
I wanted to say, ‘Hey, what are you doing with my idea. They’re supposed to be people, not ducks. Don’t you get it?’
But, there were four excited faces looking at me eagerly, wanting me to like Heather’s duck idea. So instead I said, ‘Maybe, could work.’
Excited chatter broke out around me and I had time to think about the idea. And I realized that the idea was a really good idea.
‘Okay,’ I said, ‘Let’s do ducks.’

And that was the idea that led to the creation of the Quacker family. I let everyone puff into that particular balloon that day. Who knows what would have happened to Yesterday I Played in the Rain if I had decided to let the air out of the balloon there and then? I have a lot more good story ideas for kids still yet to come, so stay tuned for more.

Love the ducks, Heather!

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