A writing starter by Michelle Robinson

If you had to pick just one item to keep with you, always and forever, what would it be? Is there something you can’t imagine life without? It might be an object that’s particularly precious to you because of the memories it holds — like a photograph or an item of jewellery — or maybe it’s something that gives you comfort, like a favourite toy or blanket?

For Grace Wonder, one of the two the young princesses in my book, DO NOT DISTURB THE DRAGONS, that cherished item would almost certainly be her troll-o mallet.

I wouldn’t mind having a go at troll-o myself, although I’m not sure I’d be any good at it (I’ve never ridden a unicorn before). Then again, I’m not exactly crazy about sport, so I probably wouldn’t become quite as attached to my mallet as Grace. For me, the item I couldn’t live without is a notepad and pen. I suppose that’s two items really, so I’m cheating a little bit — but you can’t have one without the other.

Just as being adventurous and daring is part of Grace’s nature (it’s what makes her such a great knight), writing is part of mine. I’m quiet, I’m observant, I love playing around with words and I’m always dreaming up conversations and events in my imagination. I love writing! I feel miserable when I don’t make time to write.

I try and write a little bit every day. Even if I’m not actually writing with a pen or on my laptop, I’ll find other ways to put words together. I make up stories for my children at bedtime and come up with silly chants while I do the housework. All these different ways of writing help me relax and escape from whatever is going on in the real world around me.

I particularly love writing about Grace’s adventures in the magical realm of Wondermere. Grace is the sort of person I’d love to be — how I long to go on an epic quest involving dragons, trolls and witches! The next best thing is dreaming up those sorts of adventures instead.

Why don’t you have a go at creating your own character who can go on the kind of adventure that appeals to you? You might want to visit outer space, another country, your own hometown or even explore the future. Anything goes. To help you come up with a character, ask yourself this question: What is the one item they wouldn’t dream of being without? It can be something magical or something practical. It might be something valuable or something secret. It might even be really embarrassing. Whatever it is will tell you a surprising amount about its owner — so give it a go. You might just begin an epic quest of your own.