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Whose Story Is This?

by andinadia 

Posted: 02 March 2015
Word Count: 200
Summary: It might look like cheating (!), but the idea of this story is that stories can be collaborations, so I thought I'd throw it out there. I'm at the very rough stage, but I thought I'd post the first draft spreads and see what you think and where you think it might be going. I'm trying to keep to the language and storytelling styles of young children. I hope that comes across. I'm also trying to experiment with the book format, which will need good artwork!

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Whose Story Is This?
(by Adam) (and Jake)
(with some help)
Spread 1
I’m going to tell you a story. It’s my first ever story.
It was this summer. I was out on my bike.
‘So was I, Adam! I’m in this story too!’
No, Jake. You’re not.
My brother Jake is always screaming.
Spread 2
See, I told you. My brother screams when he’s happy and he screams when he’s not.
There. That should do it.
(shuts bedroom door)
So, I was on my bike. My back wheel was squeaking, as usual.
Spread 3
I heard a noise. It was like a door that slammed above my head. Then the sun disappeared. Nearly.
I went flying through the hedge.
Spread 4
There was this train. In a field. And a lady waving a bright yellow flag, shouting, ‘Roll up, roll up! Ride your stories here.’
Ride your stories? That didn’t make much sense. Did she say writing?
‘Hey, I was on that train!’
No, you weren’t, Jake.
‘Yes, I WAS!’
Spread 5
So, there we were, sitting on this train, and the flag lady said, ‘When you’re ready to ride, just press the button.’

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Comments by other Members

a.m.edge at 18:49 on 02 March 2015  Report this post
This seems like a pretty original idea to me, Andy. I picture flaps and pop-up sections in this book as the two narrators  keep interrupting each other. Nosy Crow seem to be good at this sort of thing. I think it is crucial to get the child voice right though, and the age. My seven year old (through watching too much American TV I think) starts every sentence with 'So..' and also uses 'even' a lot. I think Lauren Child is excellent at capturing the modern child voice. 'What Planet Are You On, Clarice Bean?' is a good one to start with, and 'My Uncle is a Hunckle'.
I think this one has legs! Where's the story going?

andinadia at 21:41 on 02 March 2015  Report this post
Thanks, Annie. No flaps or levers in this! (But I hope it does have legs.)

I was wondering what world it conjures for you and for others. I'm planning for the train to be carrying several children, all involved in their own stories and finding themselves on the same story train. I just need to find a way towards a satisfactory ending that is a result of the collaborative story-telling.

Nice idea to look at the Clarice Bean books.

Do you think your seven year old would be pulled in by a story that started like this, or is he/she too old for this kind of book anyway? I was a bit worried about having the main character old enough to ride a bike - does it put him at too much distance from the reader/listener?

a.m.edge at 10:44 on 03 March 2015  Report this post
My daughter (7 in May) is reading chapter books to herself now. This story would seem too young for her, I think.
You could still have the boy saying he was out on his bike but maybe have the illlustration showing a tricycle (although even that may seem old fashioned these days).
It conjures up the everyday world at the start, and then becomes a bit like a bedtime story with the train and the yellow flag.
I think you'll just have to write it and see where it takes you.

kel35 at 13:21 on 05 March 2015  Report this post
Hi Andy,

Sorry, a bit late, I've been apologising to everyone today. 

I love this idea, very original in my eyes.  Two boys (are they brothers?) fighting over who is telling the story, it's very real!  My two boys (3yrs apart) were very much like this age 5 and 8 yrs, so I can visualise what you're trying to do here.

I also like the story train idea.  I thought it was a bit like Polar Express - when all the kids from different walks of life meet on the train, they are linked by the fact they are getting too grown up to believe in santa but you could have a similar link in that the kids could all want a happy ending to their stories, or they don't believe in stories??  so many ideas. 

Can't wait to see where this goes!


andinadia at 13:43 on 05 March 2015  Report this post
Thanks, Kerry. That's great. It seems you 'got it'!

I had one of those 'aha' moments this morning. I was struggling and then suddenly the jigsaw came together, so I think I might be able to post a complete draft in a few days.

Issy at 13:00 on 09 March 2015  Report this post
Hi Andy,

Just wanted to say that I read this one, but see that you have had an aha moment and another draft coming soon, so won't say much.

My feeling on reading was that it wasn't a picture book - I wasn't getting an idea of illustrations jumping out at me - but I did like the text. The idea of a story teller being interrupted - so annoying for him - by a smaller sibling who wants to get in on it is so appealing, and clever, but to me is something audible, in the words, rather than visual, if that makes any sense. Anyway, I shall keep an eye out for the next draft.

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