I've been writing a lot, recently (coincidentally, I'm writing a follow-up to my children's book, Seven Days With The Cherry Tree Gang, so if your little ones haven't read that yet, you can find a copy here) and it made me think about how I started writing stories when I was a little girl. That was the inspiration for this week's bedtime story. I hope you like it.
Remember that you can now listen to the weekly bedtime story as a podcast! Last week, as a test run, I uploaded the story as an mp3 to a file-hosting site. This week and from now on, it's available on iTunes and via www.theramblingcurlweeklybedtimestory.libsyn.com. Check it out and tell your friends, too!
Bessie And The Story That Wrote Itself
"I don't want to do my homework," Bessie moaned. She snuggled into the sofa, refusing to budge.
"Bess," her dad began, rolling his eyes. "If you do it now, then you have the whole of the evening to yourself. Besides, all you have to do is write a story. It won't take very long!"
Bessie folded her arms. "But writing a story is hard, Dad. I haven't got any ideas and I don't even know where to start."
Her dad sat beside her on the sofa. "Bessie, writing a story is like having the best adventure of your life," he told her. "You get to decide what happens and who it happens to. You can create a world where anything is possible!"
Bessie wrinkled her nose. "Anything?"
"Anything you like," her dad replied. "You can start with the smallest thing and then let the story take you absolutely anywhere."
Bessie bit her lip. The way her dad was talking made it almost sound like fun. But surely homework couldn't be fun?! She pulled a face. "I don't believe you."
Her dad pointed to the computer in the corner of the lounge. "Why don't you sit in front of the screen and just see what happens?"
Bessie groaned and heaved herself off the sofa. She plodded across the room and dropped into the swivel chair in front of the computer. She switched the computer on and watched as the screen came to life. Clicking on the writing programme, she stared at the little cursor, blinking back at her, as though challenging her to write something.
"I can't think of anything," Bessie huffed.
Her dad joined her by the computer. "Remember," he said, gently. "You can write whatever you like. Your story can go absolutely anywhere - you make the rules!"
"So... It could even be about me?" Bessie asked.
"Yep!" Her dad laughed. "And you could do all the things you've ever dreamt of."
Bessie grinned. "You mean, like riding a unicorn, or being able to fly?!"
Bessie slowly put her fingers to the keys. "I think I might call this story... Bessie's Best Day EVER."
Her dad nodded. "That's a good title," he said. "And what's going to happen in your story?"
Bessie beamed back at him. "Anything I want!"
Bessie began to type. Slowly at first, but then, faster and faster, as ideas swirled around her excited mind. Magical images swam in front of her eyes and she found herself giggling, as she created a world all of her own. A world in which she had super powers and could turn invisible with a click of her fingers. A world in which she danced with her favourite popstars and travelled to amazing places. A world in which she fought against giant monsters and won every time. Faster and faster she typed, almost unable to stop. Words poured onto the page, each line of her story more exciting than the last.
As she went on, Bessie added more characters to her story - people she wanted to play with, people she wanted to have adventures with and people she'd always wanted to meet. Princes, Queens, heroes and villains - Bessie filled her story with the most colourful characters she could create.
Page after page, Bessie went on writing, filling her story with wonderful scenes. Funny things happened, scary things happened, silly things happened... Bessie knew that anything she wanted could happen in her special story.
Mysterious new countries were created as Bessie typed; magical worlds where nothing was quite as you expected it to be. Through her words, Bessie built palaces, created huge, towering mountains and filled the sky with a thousand glittering stars. A whole universe came to life as her fingers hammered the keys.
Finally, exhausted but delighted, Bessie reclined in her chair and read her story back to herself. As she did, the smile on her face grew ever wider. "That story pretty much wrote itself," she laughed. "And it was so much fun!"
Her dad smiled. "I can't wait to read it," he told her. "Aren't you glad it's done? Your homework is out of the way and you can enjoy the rest of your evening."
Bessie pressed the 'print' button and grinned. "That was the best homework ever," she replied. "In fact, I hope I have more tomorrow!"
And with that, Bessie took her freshly printed story and rushed to the sofa, to curl up and read it all over again.