Recipe for a Story

by | Feb 15, 2021

Want to know how to cook up a story idea? Make a recipe!

Follow this simple recipe. All you need are a few good ingredients. Mix them up with a bit of imagination and you’re good to go.

Recipe for a good story - Storymakers

What you will need:
– Two characters
– A place
– Two objects
– An adjective
– An abstract noun

What to do:
1. List all your ingredients.
2. Do character profiles for each of your characters – name, age, likes, dislikes (you can ‘ask’ them as many questions as you like!).
3. Think about what connects the characters to the place you have chosen.
4. Think about who owns the objects and why.
5. How can your adjective and abstract noun be related to these characters and the setting?

All your ideas can be jotted down in rough notes. That means, you don’t need to worry about full sentences until you are ready to start your story.

Right then! So, you’ve put all your ingredients into a pot (your head) and given them a good mix. Now it’s time to fire up your imagination and cook up a lovely story.

Fresh stories make an ideal snack and are great for sharing.


In true recipe style, here is one we have already prepared. It was written by Scarlett in Year 7 and it’s called, ‘Waiting for Edna’. Although this is only the opening few paragraphs, I think you’ll agree it has an interesting premise and character. I hope this example, and method of coming up with a story idea, helps and inspires you.

Characters: Porter and Humphrey Hopkins
Place: Hotel
Objects: Suitcase trolley and coffee
Adjective: Pitiable
Abstract word: Grief

I have just taken up my tenth lot of suitcases. I can already feel the tiny drops of sweat trickling down my cheeks and back and it’s only 9:58. As I step out of the service lift, pushing my suitcase trolley, I hear the ancient Grandfather Clock strike 10:00. And then, in the doorway, stands Humphrey Hopkins. At the same time, in the same place, Humphrey always appears in the doorway as soon as the clock strikes ten every morning.

This man seems homeless, clothes are grimy and crumpled. Hair matted from not being washed and his skin is greasy and sallow. His fingers are spongy and his fingernails have been bitten raw. Sadly, no one really knows Humphrey’s background, but he is never seen in the streets. He shuffles over to the bar, as he does so every day, and asks for a coffee. There seems to be some agreement between him and the waiter who serves him. They nod slightly at each other as he hands over the hot drink in a porcelain cup and saucer. He never takes any payment. Henry sips his coffee in silence and then gets up and shuffles back out of the door.


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