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My seven-year-old niece loves nothing more than writing stories. To date, she has written three fairy stories and a series of seven pony books. She has a wonderful imagination but her stories are quite unstructured. What can I do to help her?

I think aged seven she can be forgiven for not structuring her stories properly!  Your niece sounds wonderful,  and full credit to you for wanting to help her.  I am tempted to say, do nothing except what I am sure you are doing already – ask to read or listen to her stories, tell her how much you enjoy them, encourage her to write more, and let her give full rein to her imagination while she still can. Other than that, you should also encourage her to read widely, and gently compare the ways in which other writers tell their stories – some may use more dialogue, others may be more descriptive, or make use of humour, suspense, illustrations etc.  Reading other writers and making the time to think about why we enjoy them (or don’t enjoy them…)  really  is the best and most enjoyable way for all writers to progress.

There are also a number of creative writing books on the market for children. I recommend CREATIVE WRITING FOR KIDS by Amanda J Harrington. And she can, of course, get lots of inspiration and help from authors in our Storycraft videos.

I look forward to reading your niece’s books in the future!