Jacintaz3 at the launch of Flight Time Stories with Emirates

On Saturday, we headed off to Maggie and Rose for an interesting morning with Emirates and authors Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve.


Emirates is launching a programme called Flight Time Stories which encourages families to get inspiration from their travels and think creatively. They can then visit the Flight Time Stories Website and submit a travel inspired story. Philip and Sarah will be taking inspiration from the stories for a new children’s book, which will be available in early 2017. Kids entering the Flight Time Stories competition could see elements of their own stories appear in the book, and one family will win a once-in-a-lifetime holiday for four to Dubai to provide them with inspiration for future stories. Sounds like a fantastic idea? It does to me.

The children were quite inspired after the event where they learnt that the sky is the limit when thinking of a story. Philip and Sarah got the children to create some rather interesting characters and created a story plan which involved a boat of penguins, a Tabifly (a tiger, rabbit, butterfly) and Dino Island. Doesn’t that sound like a good storyline already?


Philip and Sarah have also shared some top tips for writing and illustrating your story –

Top tips for story writing from Philip Reeve

·         Write about something that really interests you – a setting or an idea that you really love (or maybe really hate!) If you’re interested in it, hopefully the readers will be, too.

·         Start with your main character wanting something – they need to go somewhere, or get something, or escape from something, or meet someone. Maybe they’re just lonely and need to make a friend, or maybe they want to find some buried treasure. How they get what they want will be your story.

·         But they don’t get what they want straight away! There are problems to overcome along the way. Perhaps they meet other characters who help them, or try to stop them. It’s like a board game: there’s a start point and an end point, and what makes it interesting is the obstacles along the way.

·         Don’t worry too much about the words. Just tell the story. Then, when you’ve finished, go back and see if you can tell it better. Does it make sense? Could it be shorter? Can you make it funnier (if it’s a funny story) or sadder (if it’s a sad one)?

·         Enjoy yourself. Have fun. surprise yourself! Writing a story should be a bit like reading a story – you’ll want to find out what happens on the next page.


Top drawing tips form Sarah McIntyre 

·         Focus on making your main character look awesome, but think about keeping it fairly simple because if you make a whole book, you’ll be drawing that character over and over again.

·         Think about setting: are you going to draw your character in a forest? At the beach? In space?

·         Add extra details: your character might have a plaster on its head, a moustache, attract a swarm of flies, or be holding a magazine. Often it’s these little details that will make a picture funny or interesting.

·         The colours you choose can set a mood for your picture: a blue background can suggest night-time, sadness, or cold. A yellow or orange background might look joyful, hot or full of energy.

·         Don’t worry about making things perfect: We all need to make lots of bad drawings before we learn to make better ones. Try your hardest, but then be kind to your artwork.


Feeling inspired? Then head on over to the Flight Time Stories website and get writing. The competition is open to 4 – 10 year olds and closes on 6th November 2016. Please do read the terms and conditions on the website.


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