Today the little booklet has one of the best pieces of advice I think I’ve seen.

The best place to start is simple: Write what you like to read.

And I do. I read fantasy, I devour fantasy, so that is what I write.

Today’s exercise focuses on children. Imagine that you have stepped into a time machine and it has taken you back to when you were five years old, all the knowledge that you have gained since has disappeared. Then answers these questions from your five-year old perspective:

  1. What scares you the most? The dark.
  2. What do you keep secret? That I buy chocolate with my pocket money when I’m allergic to it and it makes me sick.
  3. Whom do you most want to spend time we? My best friend Lauren.

Now step into the time machine and answer those question again but instead if you were ten years old.

  1. What scares you the most? Spiders
  2. What do you keep secret? Still eating chocolate when I shouldn’t.
  3. Whom do you most want to spend time we? My first friend in my new home, my neighbour Britany.

Fifteen years old.

  1. What scares you the most? Spiders
  2. What do you keep secret? That I believe in Wicca and practice in the house without my mother’s knowledge
  3. Whom do you most want to spend time we? My girls, Julie, Laura and Cat.

And finally twenty years old.

  1. What scares you the most? That this might be the only life we get.
  2. What do you keep secret? That I had been kicked out of my first university.
  3. Whom do you most want to spend time we? My boyfriend of the time, Mark.

Now look at your answers and think about the following:

What changes can you see between the years. What do you think is a normal part of growing up, and what do you think is part of your personal childhood? I think my fears are fairly normal for children, since most children start being scared of the dark and then move onto other things. My twenty year old fear in particular is fairly ‘grown-up’. Whom I want to spend time with changed as I moved around though, so that’s particular to me. I moved when I was ten years old, and then went to university across the other side of the country. Thankfully the internet made it easier to keep in touch with people, even if I didn’t see them as much.

Did any of your answers take you by surprise, or spark memories? Not really. I have a pretty good grasp of who I am as a person and what I’ve been through to grow to this point. I’m still growing, as we all are in life, but I’m pretty proud of how far I’ve come.

Which mindset was easiest to put yourself in? Fifteen years old. I know that twenty was more recent, but I had real trouble remembering what I was keeping secret at that time. Whereas I remember most of the secondary school escapades quite well.

Vivid memories can generate powerful writing. Did the answers for one particular age spark the most intense memories? Fifteen again. I remember my mum catching me after I had performed a wicca ritual. She was not impressed and I remember her tone of voice as she realised what I was doing. Not pleasant.

Choose your favourite memory. There’s a photo on my bookshelf of my three girls, taken when we were at Thorpe Park one day (a theme park in Britain). I remember us having such fun that day, romping around without our parents supervision and me trying to persuade them to go on all the big scary rides. It was a great day.

Write about that memory in a way that would appeal to someone of that age.

For the first time, we got the day to ourselves. No parents, no younger siblings, nothing to get in the way of us and fun. We had money in a pockets and bags as we stepped off the train and took ourselves down the road to the park.

Getting through the ticket barrier and walking over the bridge which was the entrance to the park was marvellous, it was like we were leaving behind the big wide world and stepping into a place of fun, where we could do what we wanted and wouldn’t have to answer to anyone but ourselves.

The shops and arcade games greeted us and we stepped through the entrance hall, out through those doors into the park proper. Ahead of us were the first few rides that we could go on, and in the distance we could see the big roller coasters, already hurtling people through the air on steel tracks in the name of fun. The only question we had to answer was what to do first?