Everybody loves a good story. As an author, I’ve got to make sure that every story I write has a strong beginning, a surprising middle and a satisfying end.

Here’s the beginning and middle of a new funny story — and now I’m challenging you to finish it! You’ll find tips for the writing process and suggestions for how you can share the story once you’re done. Grab your notebook, sharpen your pencil and turn on your brain.

Let's get writing

We’ll call the story “Boing! Boing!” by Mary Amato and __________________ (your name here).

All day, every day, it was carrots for Tickle and Pickle, the bunny twins. Carrots for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“My tummy is dead tired of carrots,” said Tickle one morning.

“Mine, too,” said Pickle. “Let’s pop out of this carrot patch and find some other grub.”

Boing! Boing! The twins hopped out of the garden and down the winding road. Mile after mile, all they saw were carrots. Finally, they spied a tree with huge green leaves and a bunch of ripe bananas dangling from a branch.

“Oh, baby!” Tickle said. “Those look sweeeeeet.”

“Let’s boing, bro!” Pickle grinned.

They hopped over. Boing! Boing! Tickle jumped on top of Pickle’s shoulders and reached up.

Just then, a mean old monkey leaped out of the tree. “Get your paws off those bananas!”

The twins froze.

How will it end?

Do yourself a favor and take the two-step process. Imagine first and then write. Young writers sometimes get stuck because they try to do two things at once: They imagine how the story should go while they decide how to write each sentence.

If you get stuck, check out these tips:

Don’t look at the blank page!

Close your eyes, and see the story as a movie. Or act it out before you write.

Pretend to be a character in the story and ask, “What would I do?”

Ask friends or family to brainstorm.

Go for a walk around the house. Stop and write when you get an idea.

Give yourself one minute to write as many ideas as possible.

Say yes to your ideas. Don’t try to come up with the perfect one.

Say each sentence out loud before you write it.

Ask a family member to write your story as you tell it.

Share your story

After you’ve finished our story, share it. Read it aloud to your family and use your most dramatic voice. Ask a parent or guardian to email it to friends and relatives. Think like a radio producer and make an audio recording complete with sound effects. (Most smartphones have a built-in audio recorder, often called “voice memos,” which you can use to record, save and email your story.) Or, go Hollywood and make a movie by acting out your story and recording it on video. Get permission and guidance from a parent/guardian before sharing anything online.

Co-writing is a fun way to exercise your imagination. You can run with this idea by writing a beginning and middle of your own story and passing it on to a friend or family member to finish. Because right about now, we could all use a fun challenge.

Amato is the author of 21 books for kids and teens. Find more of her lessons, videos, free audio stories at: maryamato.com/mary-amatos-online-resources-during-school-library-closures.