Author, Sheryl Gwyther talks Story Making Ideas

Today I’m very  pleased to welcome my good friend, Sheryl Gwyther to Writing Classes for Kids. Sheryl is the author of many great books including Secrets of Eromanga and Princess Clown where she used real parts of history and situations to create her fiction.

FINDING STORY-MAKING IDEAS … it’s easier than you think

by Sheryl Gwyther 

Story ideas can pop into your head from EVERYWHERE – from almost forgotten memories, from overheard conversations, from newspaper articles, from the funny things people do, from history and even from the landscape itself. Sometimes ideas can come from the wonderful world of WORDS.

I made up a writing challenge that I call the DOUBLE TROUBLE GAME. In this game, you have to pick two nouns from a list of unlikely ‘room-mates’ or naming words that don’t go together. Like:


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

  • What if there was a clown who wanted to be a princess?
  • Or better still, 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 tricks went terribly wrong?

That is basically what I did with my chapter book, Princess Clown when I chose two words from my DOUBLE TROUBLE list – Clown/Princess and asked, What if?

Loads of other people have recognised how clever words can be 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’.





COLDPLAY (well, it could be 2 words)


Want an extra challenge? Try three words from my DOUBLE TROUBLE word list! Then you’d have to call it TRIPLE TROUBLE.

PS If you’d like to use my list of nouns for the DOUBLE TROUBLE game, head on over to my kids’ only blogsite:

© Sheryl Gwyther 2011

Princess Clown is available from Blake Publishing, Australia (ISBN 9781741646481)

Sheryl is an Australian children’s author living in Brisbane, Queensland. She likes to visit schools and libraries as well as write. For more information about her other books, short stories and plays; about how she writes; or if you’d like Sheryl to visit your school, check out:


Writers’ blog:

Perhaps Sheryl’s ideas have given you inspiration for a story of our next writing competition. Here’s where you’ll find more information:

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About Dee White


  1. Hey, thank you, Dee! Lovely to appear on your blog today. :)

  2. Angela Sunde says:

    Love that Double Trouble story finding idea. Thanks for sharing, Sheryl and Dee.

  3. Love this. I didn’t think I could love you any more, Shez. But I do.

  4. What a simply brilliant idea, Sheryl. Thanks for sharing it and for this great post, Dee.

    :) Chris

  5. Tanya Suffolk says:

    Really clever idea. I’m really interested in giving it a go. Thanks Sheryl.