Do you have pets? Do you ever wonder if they possess magical powers? Or, if you don’t have any pets (like Adam), do you ever imagine that you have a magical animal companion anyway?
Well, as we have traveled across the country visiting elementary schools, we have enlisted the students help to create their very own familiar stories. The process is not so different from the one the two of us use, and it shows how easy writing can be. Below, you can find 10 questions that will lead to the birth of a brand new familiar. You can write your own story and if you want, add an art project as well, by creating the familiar itself!
Make Your Own Familiar
1. What kind of animal is your familiar?
2. Is your familiar a boy or a girl?
3. How old is your familiar?
4. What’s your familiar’s magical talent?
5. What’s your familiar’s name?
6. Where does your familiar live?
7. What other kinds of animals might live there, too?
8. Is your familiar friends or enemies with that other animal?
9. What makes your familiar sad? What makes your familiar happy?
10. What is the title of your story?
Keep in mind:
Every familiar should want something. Whether it’s to save their wizards, find food or shelter, or escape their enemy, they need to have a goal.
After you have established the hero’s goal, you need to have an antagonist, or obstacle, keeping that hero from achieving his or her goal. It could be a person, an element – like a violent storm – or an emotion, like fear.
Another thing you should consider while writing this story is how your familiar’s magical talent might be able to help them achieve their goal and overcome the antagonist or obstacle keeping them from achieving it.
Here’s an example:
1. What kind of animal is your familiar? An elephant
2. Is your familiar a boy or a girl? A girl
3. How old is your familiar? 12 years old
4. What’s your familiar’s magical talent? Time travel
5. What’s your familiar’s name? Black Hawk
6. Where does your familiar live? China
7. What other kinds of animals might live there, too? Pandas
8. Is your familiar friends or enemies with that other animal? Enemies
9. What makes your familiar sad? What makes your familiar happy? It makes our familiar sad when she doesn’t have enough peanuts to eat.
10. What is the title of your story? Panda Strikes Back
Now that you’ve answered these questions, you need to write your story!
Remember that your familiar needs a goal, an obstacle to achieving that goal, and a magical talent that will help them overcome that obstacle.
“Panda Strikes Back”
For Black Hawk, an elephant in China, life could be difficult – even when you have the magical power to travel through time. First, China is practically covered with panda bears, and as we all know panda bears and time traveling elephants do not get along. Especially when one of those panda bears eats the last of Black Hawk’s peanuts. And you never want to make an elephant hungry. But this was a clever elephant, one that knew how to use her magical talent the way any good familiar should. So she decided to travel through time to a baseball game where she knew there would be stands and vendors filled with peanuts, and she would never go hungry again.
What is Black Hawk’s goal? To find peanuts so she wouldn’t be hungry.
What’s the obstacle to achieving that goal? Her enemy, the panda bear, ate them all.
Now you try. And be sure to send your stories and any art you create with it to us at [email protected].
Note from Melissa: Genius! Thanks, guys and kudos on the awesome book, I LOVED it! This post is fun, all my teacher and parent readers thank you, too. Readers, if you haven’t read The Familiars – run, don’t skip or hop, out to get it – you won’t be able to put it down.
Download my "Can't Put 'Em Down" book lists for your kids ages 3 - 13.
Also, I'll send you a bonus "23 Reasons to Read" printable poster!