The Seventh Story by Kevin Brooke - RUNNER UP - Cherished Children's Story July / Aug / Sept 2021
The Seventh Story by Kevin Brooke
Comedy, Tragedy, Rebirth, Quest, Rags to Riches, Voyage and Return and Overcoming the Monster. Seven themes, seven potential stories that would cover the entire world of storytelling.
Tasked with writing about one of them, eleven-year-old William left school with a feeling of dread. He knew facts, lots of them. Ask him about medieval castles, for example, and he'd know the answer. Creative writing? That was different.
“Don't worry,” his mum said. “Your Uncle Albert is coming over. He’ll help you.”
“Great,” William replied sarcastically, and headed upstairs.
“Your mum tells me you need some help with a story,” Albert said, as he stood at the bedroom door, “and here I am.”
William sniggered at the brightness of his Uncle’s flowery shirt, then wondered whether Comedy could be the theme of his first ever story and he started to make some notes.
Albert peered over Williams shoulders.
“You’ll need some jokes if you're going to be comedian,” he said, picking up a plastic gun and pointing the light beam in William’s direction. “Or is this just a phaser you’re going through?”
William looked down at his notepad, realising his Uncle’s lack of funniness was quite tragic. He crossed out the word Comedy and moved onto Tragedy.
“As well as a plot,” Albert said. “Every story needs characters; funny ones, not so funny ones, nice ones, not so nice ones.”
William held up his hand. “You're talking Double Dutch.”
“Double Dutch?” Albert asked. “Maybe, or as I prefer, good clog, bad clog. If the characters are too nice in the first place, how can they change their ways?”
“A Rebirth, you mean?” asked William, crossing out Tragedy and moving onto story number three.
“At first a nobody,” said Albert, “then heroic and prepared to travel into dangerous places.”
“Like a Quest?” William said, as he crossed out Rebirth and changed the theme of his story for the third time.
“If so, you'll need a reason for going,” Albert continued. “If you were poor maybe, you'd have the perfect incentive to risk everything.”
William crossed though the word Quest and added a pot of gold to his notepad. “Rags to riches?”
It felt exciting to be changing the theme of his story but as he did so once again, a realisation dawned.
“We're back were we started,” William said. “We've been sitting here for ages and gone absolutely nowhere.”
“Not quite,” Albert said, pointing at the castle. “You started here, but then it changed when you found your character; funny but tragic, then a hero reborn who set off on a Quest to transform his Rags to Riches and finally, he came home and completed the Voyage and Return.”
William looked at the scribbles and sketches on his notepad and realised his Uncle was right. For the first time, William had created something that didn't rely on facts and in Overcoming the Monster, he’d managed to write the seventh story of seven.
“Thank you,” William said, smiling the widest of smiles.