Diary of a hopeful author: How to make up stories off the top of your head

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks making up stories. It’s not what you think. We’re not talking massive lies here, although the time I told my mum that no, absolutely no, we had not had a house party while she was a way, and no, my brother -14 at the time – had absolutely NOT drunk any alcohol and or/smoked. (Um, hi, mum…).

No, I refer here to stories of the lighter style, namely kid’s stories. It’s been Christmas, see, and for some reason our youngest has taken a liking to making up stuff. Thankfully, this does not include telling huge porkies, but means trotting out a little bit of fiction. Made up on the spot. Off the top of your head. And it’s scary.

I say scary, by which I mean nigh on impossible. Well, at first anyway. Seems I have forgotten how to make stories up. When I was a kid, this kind of thing came as naturally to me as piddling on a lamppost comes naturally to a dog. Kind of. Oh dear. Anyway, some amount of years down the line and lots of written stories later, I have found, when put on the spot to be creative, my mind goes blank.

On the spot stories are the carefree children of fiction writing. They have no baggage. There are no boundaries, no rules. You just come up with an object, opening line, or a person, and hey presto, you’re off. And the great thing is, you don’t know where you’re going.

When you make up a story off the top of your head, you have not planned. Not a thing. Not a single sausage, although sausages in stories are also good. Anything, basically, is good fictional fodder when you make it up. We – ie.my family – choose things when we do our stories. We start with usually three things that my kids pick and those are the elements that we have to incorporate into the tale. It can be quick, it can be long – whatever floats. And any genre will do, thriller, comedy, romance, you name it. It’s so free.

When you come out with a tale without writing it down it’s all so much more, well, fun. And different. And sometimes, heck, even better. It ain’t all a picnic, mind. Sometimes, like in the laptop writing world, your mind goes blank, but do you know what? That just adds to it. It means whoever is with you can step in and take up were you left off, or rather, petered out.  That’s if you’re telling stories off the top of your head out loud to other people. You may just be telling them out loud to yourself, in which case, you may want to not do that whilst in a public space. Just some advice.

So, while this week I am embarking on edit round number 2 of my novel (yup, edit one finished!!), I’ll be making stuff up. Stories, characters, you name it. It’ll all be off the top of my head. It’s a bit of fun and the kid’s love it, so what the heck. I might look a bit daft, but it beats staring at a winking cursor on my laptop. Ah, such fun.

Make up stuff, well, stories? Or do you only roll with a total laptop/pen and paper kind of thing?

 Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog. This week I’m talking about  why post offices are vital to village life…**


2 thoughts on “Diary of a hopeful author: How to make up stories off the top of your head”

  1. I just love that post! Immediately, it made me think of that scene in Wonder Boys where Michael Douglas and Robert Downey Jr are making a story up about a guy sitting at another table in a bar…that’s a priceless scene!

    Sausages are good in stories too? I don’t know if I can work the word” Sausages” in my project but I’ll give it a try, just for you!

    Have a great day my friend!


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