Brewing Stories with Sam Gayton

This resource is great for:
Getting your pupils motivated to start writing their own stories.

Watch an excerpt from Sam Gayton’s 2017 Book Festival event and then use the creative writing prompts inspired by the event.

Download this resource:
Brewing Stories with Sam Gayton – PDF
Brewing Stories with Sam Gayton – Word doc


We’re not allowed to have favourite authors at Edinburgh International Book Festival, but if we did one of them would be Sam Gayton – and you’re about to see why!  Watch his amazing 2017 Book Festival event based around his book His Royal Whiskers. Don’t be afraid to join in with the interactivity – shouting out answers and suggestions. Then, use our activities to help you get writing your own stories inspired by Sam’s event.


Part One: Ingredients for a Story

During the event, Sam outlines 5 basic ingredients which your story needs:

  1. A “What If?” question – a magic question which kick-starts your imagination
  2. Some characters
  3. Something to go wrong
  4. A setting – somewhere your story takes place
  5. Something your characters find or discover at the end of the story – this could be anything from an amazing piece of treasure, to self-confidence, or something else…

Use Sam’s 5 basic ingredients to brainstorm your own plot for a story. You can do it as a whole class, a group, or by yourself.

Part Two: Brewing Potions and Plots

In Sam Gayton’s book His Royal Whiskers, the ”What If?” question is:

What if you were really, really good at brewing magical potions?

Imagine that you’re going to make a magical potion. What would you want it to do?

What ingredients would you put into your potion, and what action would you make above your cauldron to help your potion brew?

Add a warning label to your potion: “Warning! If you add X­­­­, this potion does strange things to you.”

Then imagine what those strange things would be by completing the following sentence: “Your nose turns XX, your hair turns XX, and you turn into a XX.”

This is the start of a story. Obviously something has to go wrong – and then your characters will have to work out how to fix the problem…

Part Three: Blending Stories to Make Sequels

In pairs, describe your potions to one another. Now, imagine your two potions were mixed together. What would happen to them?

Using a combination of your ideas, start a new story. This could be the second story in your magical potion series!

Further information

You can find out more about Sam Gayton and his writing on his website:

Look out for lots more resources based on Book Festival events being added to this Learning Site over the coming months.