Sources of Inspiration


By Michelle Lynn Senters-

This week, we continue to train our brain to think like a writer. Today, you will learn how to transform a life story (true experience from your life or from someone you know) into a fictional story.

Think about the stories of your life. Think about the pictures in your photo albums and the stories behind them. Your stories do not need to live only in your memory! Writers often use personal experiences as inspiration for fictional stories.

Think about the people in your life and their life stories. Other people can be a great source of inspiration. I love the following items and thought of displaying them in my home. After all, it is right to give people fair warning! (Ha! Ha!)


Writers laugh and joke about this idea because we use everything around us (people, places, conversations, events) for inspiration. I choose to be kind, however, when using people as an inspiration. I would never expose the faults of someone or cause them pain because of something I have written. Rather, I want to honor people by what I write.

Several fiction stories I am writing are inspired by true stories in my life or the life of my family. For example, I once had a student in my classroom who hated writing, but he loved dancing. This experience inspired a story about a little boy who uses dance to help him learn. I am also writing a fiction story called “The Pea Pickers”. This is inspired by my Grandmother. She worked in the fields as a child, picking peas with her Italian immigrant family. In each of the stories, I retained the most important elements- a student who used dance to learn and a 6 year old girl who picked peas to help support her family. I changed the names and some of the details to tell the story in my own way.

Today, you will write a fiction story, inspired by a true story in your life.


1. Choose a true life story that inspires you. It can be YOUR story or the story of someone you know.

2. Keep the most important elements of the story. Was there something funny that happened? Did it teach you something? Is there a relationship you want to highlight

3. Change details to create a NEW story.

  • Always change the names of your characters.
  • Setting: You can change the setting (time and place) of your story to add an exciting element. How would your story change if it was set in the future or on a remote island?
  • Characters: You can add or remove characters from the original story. You can change the culture, gender, and age of your characters. You can even change your characters into talking animals. Be creative!
  • Plot: You can change the events of the story to make it stronger or more engaging.

4. Write your story.


Write your first name and age in the comment section below. Tell us how you will use a life story as inspiration for a fiction story.

headshot smallMichelle Lynn Senters is the Founder and Director of KIDS ARE WRITERS. She spends her days working as a Reading Interventionist and spends her evenings writing books for children and adults. You can learn more about Michelle HERE and at

IMPORTANT: Students, NEVER reveal personal information while commenting. NO last names or contact information. I will delete any comments that contain personal information or comments that are inappropriate or off-topic.

10 thoughts on “Sources of Inspiration

  1. I remember I once took something my little sister said, a real life event from my dad’s life, and a lot of imagination and turned it into a picture book with lizards and a chicken as the characters.. :) Erik, age 12.

  2. Hi! I am Hosanna. I’m 13 years old. I am not sure yet what I will write about but I am thinking of basing my story on the time we looked out the window if our Grandma’s house and saw some policemen and a civilian standing on the grass! When we asked them what they were doing they told us that there was a male goat behind one of the houses and they were trying to get it. It was rather funny to see them hiding with their guns behind our neighbors houses and yelling to each other where the male goat was and where it was headed! It all ended when the male goat ran into the woods. A few minutes thereafter came a truck load of men ready to join in the chase! The policemen just told them politely that it was gone and they finally left!
    I will probably make it even funnier and have the police be called out to squish a spider that is giving a lady freaks! Then a car load of policemen come because the hysteric lady kept talking about about something HUGE! They are amazed to find that it is just an itty bitty spider. They squish the spider when they finally find it ( the lady being so hysterical she can barely talk) and take out her trash because the lady won’t have anything in her house that touched a spider! Then they leave. Unfortunately, they think it was so funny that they tell their boss… He tells them that that time accounted for their lunch break!

    • That is a brilliant concept, Hosanna! As a children’s writer, I know that would make a fantastic children’s story- especially if you keep the fact that it was a small spider until the very end. I’d really like to see you work on this story. It has great potential.

    • That’s a really funny story idea! I’m always the designated “spider-catcher” for my family. Some people are really afraid of them.

  3. Hi I am Chloe and I am 9 and a half. I think that I am going to write about the first time I had a sleepover with my BFF Sarah.

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