Tag: Blake Publishing

On getting ideas for stories

Because of popular request, I’m updating this blog that I had posted on my sherylgwyther4kids blog earlier this year. Thank you, Rachna Chhabria, my author friend from Bangalore, India for reminding me about it. Glad your writing students over there enjoyed my Double Trouble Game, Rachna.

Story ideas can pop into your head from lots of places: from almost forgotten memories, from over-heard conversations, from newspaper articles, from funny things you see people do, from history and even from the landscape itself. Or sometimes ideas can come from the wonderful world of WORDS.

Most of the time, writing a story can be just one plain, hard slog so if I’m looking for something to vary my day, I play a writing game/challenge. I call it the DOUBLE TROUBLE GAME. In this game, you have to pick two nouns from a list of unlikely ‘room-mates’ – naming words that do not go together. Like:

GOLDFISH  EARTHQUAKE
FROG  GUITAR
FEATHER  ROOM
FANG  BANANA

You get the idea? Now imagine the combination of two and ask yourself What if?

Like: What if you won a goldfish at the local fair – the ugliest, puniest goldfish you had ever seen. But you have to take it home because you feel sorry for it? What if that goldfish had the ability to sense an imminent earthquake? Yes, an earthquake-sensitive goldfish called Eric … all from the unlikely room-mates called GOLDFISH and EARTHQUAKE.

Before I wrote my book, Princess Clown, I chose two words from my DOUBLE TROUBLE list and asked, What if?
What if there was a princess who was different? What if she loved clowning and to make people laugh? What if she was the heir to the throne? What if she was in trouble because the last thing she wanted to be was a royal princess? What if her clowning tricks went terribly wrong? And before I could say ABCADABRA and ALLIBALOO, out popped Princess Belle and a story.

A first chapter book for 6-7 year-olds

Lots of other people have recognised how clever words can be, especially when you combine them together. Famous musicians do it all the time. Here are some of the most recognised names of rock bands words that are ‘unlikely room-mates’.

GUNS ‘N ROSES
LED ZEPPELIN
STONE ROSES
GREEN DAY
COLDPLAY (well, it could be 2 words)
PEARL JAM

Have fun using my Double Trouble Game! Write and tell me if you were able to come up with something that helped make your story happen! The only limit is your imagination.

If you would like to let others know about my Double Trouble Game List (and Triple Trouble Game), make sure  you credit my name and link to it as the author.

P.S. Want an extra challenge? Try three from my DOUBLE TROUBLE word list! Then it will be TRIPLE TROUBLE :)

Princess Clown is available from Blake Publishing, (ISBN 9781741646481)
And from educational supply retail outlets nationally.

‘Princess Clown’ is on her way

My newest story, Princess Clown is on its way. This chapter book for 7-8 year olds, will be used in classrooms as part of Blake Publishing‘s fiction series called Gigglers Blue.

They’re called chapter books because to young readers taking their first steps into the wonderful world of reading they look like the ‘real’ books older brothers and sisters read.

As you can tell from the Gigglers title, the eight books in the collection are designed to appeal to kids, to make them laugh and want to read.

I’m hoping kids will love reading Princess Clown as it snaps along with humour and its theme, follow your dream whatever the odds – although, for Princess Belle this passion almost ends in disaster.

Haven’t seen the complete book yet, but I’m sure Sian Naylor’s illustrations will sing with colour and movement. This particular front cover image doesn’t show where the grey bits are silver foil, so it will sparkle too – just like any story about a princess with a passion should!

Keep your eyes open for it at educational supplies shops nationwide, in libraries or online.

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Onwards and upwards ‘Princess Clown’

There is something to be said for perseverance and a belief that if you have a good story to tell it will find a home eventually.

So it has been for my PRINCESS CLOWN – a short chapter book for 7-8 year olds.

This year Princess Clown won Second Prize in the CYA Writing Conference competition. And now, Blake Publishing want to publish it in their new set of Gigglers Blue children’s fiction in the new year. There are usually 8 books in the pack, although they can be bought as singles, and the pack comes with a Teachers’ Guide and audio CD/Tapes.

Gigglers are humorous stories that motivate even the most reluctant reader. Gigglers have full colour illustrations which bring these funny stories to life. Gigglers situations can be realistic or fantasy, although stories should still maintain some links to familiar situations.

Blake are an educational publisher rather than a trade publisher (my other junior fiction was with a trade publisher, Lothian books).

The best thing about the Gigglers series is they are popular in schools – the kids can’t get enough of them.

So I feel very honoured to be part of the new set of Gigglers and thrilled that Australian (and maybe from overseas as well) children will soon be giggling at the antics of Belle, a princess who’d much rather make people laugh.

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