Children's fiction writer

Disappearing Act, an image of Bernard.

Work in progress!

Bernard's tinkering with this at the moment, trying to magic more stuff up. Don't worry, when he sets his mind to it he usually gets things done pretty quickly. He's added a few sheets but please come back soon to see what else he's conjured up!

Nicky's guide to doing your own Disappearing Act

Fancy writing your own children's fiction story like Disappearing Act?

Have a look at Nicky's guide, hopefully, it will have you disappearing into your story in no time.

With it, you can choose a name for your main character, decide where your story starts and ends. It will also help you consider when it is set, what is happening around them, like the weather, what period of time your characters have, e.g. does it happen over the course of an hour, a day or a week?

There's also a box so you can draw the front cover of your story. If you don't like drawing, why not have a go at collage by cutting some images from a magazine and see what you come up with? There's also a box for clues; a sweet wrapper maybe, a found note, an old photograph. It doesn't matter, just make sure you have fun!

 Remember, it's only a guide and it's your story to do with what you want. You don't need to print the page (if you can't or don't want to), ultimately all you need is a piece of paper, a pen and an imagination.

Now stop listening to me ramble on in your head and get going on your masterpiece!

Nicky's guide (pdf)


Cucumber's guide to doing your own picture diary

Cucumber is only small and still learning how to read, write, and spell, so she records her adventures in a picture diary by using a mixture of drawings, doodles, images cut from magazines, and a few arrows.

If you fancy having a go yourself, all you'll need is an old magazine, a scrapbook, some paper or a diary, scissors, glue and a pen or pencil. You can try and illustrate your day accurately, or take Cucumber's advice and make it up!

When you look back, and see the day you spent eating popcorn made from the flames of your pet dragon, or the day you were asked by the secret service to organise a treasure hunt for a gathering of world leaders, it might just give you some brilliant story ideas.

Why not challenge yourself to keep it up for a week, a month or even a year!

Cucumber's guide (pdf)


My picture diary - an example (pdf)


Cassie's guide to creating your own disappearing act

As a performer, Cassie has thought carefully about the character she becomes when she steps centre stage. She is always determined but off-stage can feel a little shy. So, when she lights go down and she has to entertain a crowd, she takes on a character. She knows the audience want to see a confident, capable girl, something she doesn't always feel.

Cassie's guide will take you though the process of thinking about the characters you want to create.

You don't have to write much, but it can often be helpful as something to refer back to, it gives them a 'life' of their own.

Why not try it for a few characters? They might not all work with the story you are currently writing but who knows, they might come knocking at your door in the future with a story to tell!

Cassie's guide (pdf)


Lucy's Guide to creating your own disappearing act map


Another way to create a story is by drawing a map. A map, you say? How does that work? 

When I started writing Disappearing Act, one of the first things I drew was a map. It helped me picture where everyone lived, shopped, went to study (the library), and where they went to school. It helped me think about how my characters travelled, journeying on their adventures (mostly by bus). It gave them common places to visit, like the library (both Cucumber and Edward spend time in the library garden, one to sulk and the other to look for clues!)

If you are stuck for a story idea, or you want to better understand a story you're writing, why not have a go at drawing your own map? You could also try it for a story you’ve written before, at school or at home.

If you search the internet (remember your internet safety), you’ll find loads of inspiration from children’s storybooks, there plenty of maps out there!

Would you create your own village, town or city? How about an entire kingdom, island or country? You might even create an entire planet?

Click on my Disappearing Act map, maybe it will give you some ideas but remember, maps come from your imagination. They can look flat like a road map, be 3D like a satellite view, you can look at them from the side, from above and below (what's underground?), or they can even be viewed from outer space! 

Do some research and see how many different styles you can find.

And remember, if you don’t want to draw, you can always take a leaf out of Cucumber’s picture diary and collage one instead with images from old magazines.

On the Disappearing Act map can you find?

Edward and Nicky’s house? Clue: they live on a hill.

Edward’s treehouse? Clue: it’s in Edward and Nicky’s garden.

Mrs M’s caravan? Clue: it looks like a caravan but be warned, do not go inside.

Cassie and Cucumber’s home? Clue: it’s abandoned.

The shops on Station Road? Clue: there’s a dress hanging in one of the windows.

The library garden? The library has big windows so you can see all the books more easily.

A poster? Clue: nope, not going to give you one.

Edward and Nicky’s school? Clue: it’s a tall building.