Perhaps you’ve heard the lore about how the Night Buddies’ adventures started as bedtime stories made up by Sands Hetherington and his John. Five years ago, we investigated what it takes to become a master at crafting nighttime tales. So grab a pillow and blanket and settle in as we review that conversation with Sands.

Start with the characters. The main character can be anything or anyone your child identifies with. It can even be your child, just like I included my son John in the Night Buddies books! Kids love hearing made-up scenarios that get their friends or pets into wacky situations, so be sure to fill the story with an entire cast of characters.

Pick a setting. Your story needs to happen somewhere, whether in outer space, your neighborhood, or maybe even a far-off island. Are your characters trying to travel the world? Are they spending the day at the best amusement park in town? Ask your child what places they have in mind to get them involved!

Lead the characters into small, silly situations and conflicts. Are your characters explorers hunting for treasure? Are they detectives solving mysteries? Are your characters trying to lasso the moon? The wackier the situation, the better!

Organize the story. A good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning says who the story is about, where, and when it happened; the middle says what happened; and the end is how the conflict is resolved. The more conflict you have, the more entertaining the story!

Don’t worry about getting it right! Instead, enjoy the process, and soon you’ll be creating stories that your children love and will ask you to tell again and again!