Story Starter: Inspo from The Official Jacqueline Wilson Mag

Earlier this week I blogged about The Official Jacqueline Wilson Mag – JW Mag – and how brilliant it is.

I’m particularly taken with their inclusion of story starters, so I’ve decided to shamelessly pinch theirs this week.

They call it Shuffle A Story. See how the columns are headed Characters, Events and Outcome? The basic building blocks of a story.

The grid comes with the instructions: Cut out these squares, fold them and put them in a container. Pick out a green square, a pink square and a blue square…

And off you go to build your story.

A story about a witch?

Now, you’re probably thinking, But the Friend won’t want a story about a witch, would they? And you’re correct. But a witch can be the term used for a mean and nasty woman, can’t it? Or one who has that knack of getting people to do what she wants in the most charming way. She doesn’t have to literally be involved in the dark arts.

Any one of the characters, events or outcomes can be taken metaphorically like that and given a mature spin for our readership.

Take teacher. A teacher can be something other than the person who stands in front of a classroom full of school pupils. It can be a mentor, a guide, a wise head. Male or female. Adult or child.

An orphan can be, yes, someone who’s lost both their parents – but it can be an orphan sock that’s lost its partner…

See? Same for the events and the outcomes. Don’t think literally – think laterally.

Word count reminder

I’ll take a moment to restate some figures for you. We publish 300 2000-word stories per year. 200 3000-word stories. 1200 words? Only one per week; that’s just 52 per year. At 4000 words, it’s only 17 per year.

I’ll leave you to do the math, as they might say in JW Mag….


Love Shirley’s Writing Prompts? Browse her others here 

Shirley Blair

Fiction Ed Shirley’s been with the “Friend” since 2007 and calls it her dream job because she gets to read fiction all day every day. Hobbies? Well, that would be reading! She also enjoys writing fiction when she has time, long walks, travel, and watching Scandi thrillers on TV.