I recently signed up to be a writing mentor for children and young people as part of an organization called Fighting Words Belfast and, in training for this voluntary role, a group of us went through the writing exercise that we would normally set the kids, to get a first-hand idea of what it’s like.
The gist of it is this: people suggest ideas for a main character, a secondary character (the best friend of the MC), a desire for the MC, and the MC’s main fear. These ideas then get voted on, and a story begins to be built around whatever combination of details that were picked.
My idea of a story about a pink-haired warrior princess with a helicopter for a best friend wasn’t picked, but I decided to write a little story about her anyway – mostly because my partner, who’s also a volunteer, was a little dubious about it…
Rebelle was the last in a long line of warrior princesses, hailing from a tiny island, just off the coast of Estonia.
Insurgent groups had just overthrown her parents, and now she was fleeing for her life.
Her best horse was galloping at top speed towards her other best means of a getaway – her best friend, in a lot of ways – a helicopter, affectionately nicknamed Hel.
If grown men could love cars and spaceships, referring to them with female names, Rebelle saw no reason why she couldn’t do the same.
Hel was like a miniature, one-pilot version of a black hawk – completely Rebelle’s own design. A black sparrow, she called her. One of a kind.
But none of that would matter if Rebelle couldn’t make it to the waiting copter in time. She’d voice-activated it, via her wrap-around headset, and the blades were already whirring around – Rebelle could hear them even over the sound of Jasper, her horse, panting, and over the roar of the mob. Many of them were mounted on quad bikes, and Tracktor-Xes. If she didn’t keep up her pace, they’d soon steal her sliver of a lead.
Hel couldn’t come any closer to Rebelle by herself, obstructed by the forest as she was, but the engine was warmed up and ready to go.
Closing the final distance, Rebelle stayed on Jasper until the very last second, at which she had to jump from the horse directly through Hel’s open door. Her high ponytail got sliced off by a chopper blade in the action, leaving Rebelle’s pink hair to fall down over her eyes in a fringe.
With no time to mourn for it, she slammed into her seat and rose into the air even as her seatbelt came around her waist.
Jasper continued running, off towards the horizon, and she missed him already; knowing that she likely wouldn’t see him again, and hoping that he wouldn’t be caught, or trapped.
Rising higher and higher, the mob was now only a series of dots to Hel and Rebelle.
The princess flipped them the bird as she took off towards the freedom of another land.