Write It Sideways

Novel Writing Tips From A 7-Year-Old Genius

I know every mother thinks her kid is a genius, but mine really is.

Well, at least at writing stories.

If you’re writing a novel or taking part in NaNoWriMo this year, you might find some inspiration in my 7-year-old son’s most recent work of fiction, “The Transformer’s Battle.” He spent the last two days sitting at the computer typing this story by himself. Now that’s tenacity!

I haven’t touched the spelling or wording at all, but I’ve done a few format tweaks for the sake of readability (capitals, spacing, italics, and quotation marks). Other than that, this is first draft material.

Here’s the gripping drama in all its glory, followed by some writing tips we can all glean from it:

The Transformer’s Battle

by Micah, October 2009

Chapter 1

Long, long  ago, in  1332, there  was  a  child  who  had  a  big  imagination. Every  night  he  had  a  dream. Once  he  dreamt  of  transformers  coming  to  life.

One  bright  and  sunny  morning  the  child  heard  a  bristle  in  the  trees. He  looked  out  his  bedroom  window  to  see  what  was  happening  but  he  coud’nt   see  anything  so  he  got  back  into  bed  but  while  he  was  in  bed  he  heard  a  noise. It  sounded  like  they  were  coming  to  his  house.

By  about   3  minutes  later, the  child  noticed  that  his  dream  about  transformers  coming  to  life  had  came  true!  They  had  all  gathered  around  his  house  and  they  were  singing!  They  were  singing  this  song: We  are  transformers, we  want  our  food. We  want  our  breakfast, lunch  and  tea. And  they  kept  reapeating  that  and  it was  so  annoying!

Chapter 2

The  child’s  father  had  become  very, very  angry  with  the  transformers  and  so  he  thought  of  a  plan  to  get  rid  of  them. He  said  to  his  wife “ we  should  start  a  war, that  would  destroy  them  all. His  wife  said  “Yes, but  we  can’t  fight  1500  transformers  in  one  day.”

Chapter 3

But  the  child’s  father  said  “Trust  me,  just  ask  my  son  to  dream  about  it  tonight  and  it  will  come  true. Then  it  won’t  take  us  a  day. It  will  only  take  27  minutes. I’m  sure  it  will  work  out  in  a  good  way. Except  you  might  want  to  bring  your  earplugs.” His  wife  asked  him  why  she  needed  to  bring  her  earplugs. The  child’s  father  said “ just  to  be  civilised”.

“Just  to  be  what-what-what?”




“SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!  your  going  to  wake  up  Fluffy  the  cat!”

Chapter 4

And  sure  enough, Fluffy  was  skipping  down  the  hallway  and  puring. The  child’s  sister  was riding  on  Fluffy.  She  had  taken  the  child’s  toy  shield  and  sword  and  she  was  practicing  for  the  coming  battle. Fluffy  was  just  about  to  jump  onto  the  sofa  when  he  saw  a  toy  mouse  running  down  the  hallway  so  he  went  racing  after  it.

Chapter 5

It  was  8:30 pm  so  Fluffy  and  the  children  all  went  to  bed. The  child  dreamt  about  the  next  day. The  next  day  was  the  day  of  the  battle. While  the  child  was  in  bed, he  heard a noise. BANG! BANG! BANG! CLASH! BOOM! CRASH! BANG!

The  transformers  had  been  training.

Chapter 6

The  next  day, it  was  the  battle. Before  the  battle  had  begun, the  family  practiced. First, they  practiced  punching  dummies. Second,they  practiced  sword  fighting. Third, they  practiced  kung  fu. Then  finally, fourth, they  practiced  there  moves. They  were  now  ready  for  the  battle.

Chapter 7

The  battle  had  just  begun. There  were  565465 665 65667 7654 56777765 678 78756 5674 560  transformers  in  the  battle  versing  4  people.


Chapter 8

When  the  family’s  friends  came  along  to  join  in  with  the  battle  there  were  99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999

9999999999999999999999999999 people.

The  people  destroyed  the  transformers.


If you’ve ever read my About page, you’ll know ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.’ I, too, started writing at a very young age.

I may be ever-so-slightly biased, but here are some of the immediate writing gems I took from reading my son’s story:

  1. Improve your writing habits. My son worked quickly on this story, typing it key by key, one finger at a time, over just 2 days. Unlike adult writers, he didn’t stop to critique himself along the way; he went with what felt right at the time.
  2. Make sure your characters face conflict. The characters in this story face an army of transformers–a terrifying thought for a child.
  3. Don’t forget story structure. The beginning  of “The Transformer’s Battle” sets up the problem, the middle shows the characters preparing for attack, and the ending shows them defeat their enemies.
  4. Inject some comic relief. Fluffy the cat? The bit with the earplugs? Priceless! Remember to keep your story entertaining.
  5. Give it a fantastic title. It’s nothing fancy, but “The Transformer’s Battle” is straight and to the point. The reader knows exactly what this story will be about.
  6. Up the stakes at the story’s midpoint. We learn in ch. 5, “The Transformers had been training.” Our characters now know what they are up against–an army of robots who are ready for battle.
  7. Ensure your characters have a plan of action.  We learn that “the  child’s  father  had  become  very, very  angry  with  the  transformers  and  so  he  thought  of  a  plan  to  get  rid  of  them.” Then, we discover how they plan to achieve their goals. Ch.6 shows our characters training to fight in the battle.
  8. Use cliffhangers to build suspense. The last few chapters of this story leave the reader wondering what will happen next. Always great to keep them guessing.
  9. Bring your story to a logical conclusion. Good triumphs over evil in “The Transformer’s Battle,” because the family enlists the help of their friends to overcome their enemies.
  10. Use believable dialogue. I’m positive at some point my son must have witnessed a conversation between my husband and me regarding earplugs being civilized. In a child’s mind (and maybe in reality), parents are always arguing over petty things.

As far as I’m concerned, this is a pretty solid story, and I’m so proud of my son for how hard he worked on it.

If you have any words of encouragement for this budding writer, please leave a comment.

And keep an eye out for his name on the bestseller’s list (in about 20 years…)!