Skip to main content

How to Be a Kid Again—or at Least Think Like One 2

Here are idea exercises you can use to help you get started.

Try webbing using the following as central topics:

  • A childhood fear
  • Your best friend in grade school
  • Your favorite pet
  • Your most embarrassing moment in high school
  • The kids who made your life miserable.

Use the following sense activities to help you write in the voice of one of your story characters:

  • Go outside and sit on the grass with your eyes closed. Listen. What do you hear?
  • Open your spice cabinet. Sniff jars of chili powder, cinnamon and cloves. What seasons do you remember?
  • Go to a park and sit on a swing. Kick out your legs and swing as high as you can. What does the wind feel like What happens to your stomach?
  • Climb a tree and peer through branches of leaves. What does the world look like from up there?
  • (Warning: we expect everyone to try the next activity several times!) Go to a drugstore or supermarket. Stand in front of the candy counter. Treat yourself to the chocolate bars, bubble gum and candy you remember from when you were a kid. Then go home, sit under a shade tree, and dig into your candy bag. Eat it slowly. What do the different tastes remind you of?

Let your mind wander in new directions and try writing using the following what-ifs:

  • What if the tree outside a kid's bedroom window started talking?
  • What if a snowstorm closed school for a month?
  • What if the school bully declared war on everybody with freckles?
  • What if your story's main character told a lie?
  • What if the teacher in your story embarrassed someone every day and today was your day?

Write the following fictional letters to help you generate and expand ideas:

  • Write to a childhood bully. Tell him or her what you really think of him or her.
  • Write to the worst teacher you ever had.
  • Write to the best teacher you ever had.
  • Write to a reader explaining what you hope he or she will gain from reading your story, article or poem.
  • Write to your story's protagonist from the antagonist.

Read more idea generators from Jones and Dadey

Check out other books on writing for children

Marcia Thornton Jones and Debbie Dadey are the authors of Story Sparkers: A Creativity Guide for Children's Writers.

6 Effective Steps To Promote Your Forthcoming Book on Social Media and Feel Good About It

6 Effective Steps To Promote Your Forthcoming Book on Social Media and Feel Good About It

Social media is a daunting albeit important aspect of promoting our work. Here, author Aileen Weintraub offers six steps to promote your book on social media authentically.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 609

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a world-building poem.

Writer's Digest Presents podcast image

Writer's Digest Presents: World-Building (Podcast, Episode 5)

In the fifth episode of the Writer's Digest Presents podcast, we talk about world-building in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, including interviews with authors Whitney Hill (fiction) and Jeannine Hall Gailey (poetry).

Heirloom

Heirloom

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, someone's shown up demanding your narrator's family heirloom.

May Cobb: On Stolen Moments

May Cobb: On Stolen Moments

Author May Cobb discusses offering readers a summer of mayhem with her new novel, My Summer Darlings.

The Time Is Now: Securing First-Hand Accounts of History for Writing Projects

The Time Is Now: Securing First-Hand Accounts of History for Writing Projects

Writer Stephen L. Moore discusses the benefits of having first-hand accounts for historical writing and offers advice on best practices in securing interviews while there’s still time.

From Script

Character Exploration and Development in Television (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, exclusive interviews with writers, showrunners and more who share a common thread of character exploration and development!

Janet Key: On Letting Your Novel Take Shape

Janet Key: On Letting Your Novel Take Shape

Author Janet Key discusses the experience of letting the novel take shape through the editorial process for her debut novel, Twelfth.

Benjamin Myers: On Fleeting Moments Becoming Finished Novels

Benjamin Myers: On Fleeting Moments Becoming Finished Novels

Award-winning author and journalist Benjamin Myers discusses the out-of-body experience of having the idea for his new novel, The Perfect Golden Circle.