by Samantha Berger

Storystormers, StorystormTroopers, Team Tara—
whatever you choose to call yourself—guess what?
It’s the end of the month and YOU DID IT.
Standing O, big bravo, red roses throw!
Take a bow, because it is January 31st, and YOU ARE HERE.
Insert applause here __________________!
And here____________!

By now, you’ve read a post a day and seen all kinds of ways folks find inspiration. And I’ve read ‘em too – ain’t it $!#?* cool? Inspiration is everywhere. Those posts were filled with all kinds of helpful hints and tricks to try. It was, well, INSPIRING!

And NOW…

(drumroll, please)

it’s *your* turn!

Because wherever you are in your writing journey, your ideas and your process, and the way YOU get inspired, are truly important.

And today, I’d like to shine the light on THAT.

So—I’d like to invite you to play a game I play with my friend Desmond.

We’ve been playing it since he was about five years old, and we STILL play it today, ten years later (even though NOW he’s a teenager with a black belt in Karate and a doctorate in sarcasm).

It helps both of us set our brains to STORM mode, and express ourselves without overthinking.

It’s a game called 21 Questions (so it doesn’t get confused with 20 Questions).

Here’s how you play:

I ask 21 open-ended questions and you say the *very first thing* that comes into your head.

  • There are no stakes.
  • There are no mistakes.
  • There are no right answers.
  • There are no wrong answers.
  • You can change your mind.
  • You can play again tomorrow.
  • You can have totally different answers.

This is just an exercise to let your brain storm, your ideas flow, and see who you are at this particular moment in time (*an awesome writer with great ideas. Shablam!)

Ready? Let’s go.

  1. If they made an action figure of you, what would it be wearing?
  2. What is the BEST Halloween candy?
  3. If you made a time capsule today, what’s one thing you would put inside?
  4. If you could meet anyone, real or fictitious, who would you pick?
  5. If you could get paid to do ANYTHING AT ALL what thing would you pick?
  6. What is your earliest memory?
  7. If you could throw any kind of theme party, which one would you pick?
  8. If you could switch places with another person for one day, who would you pick?
  9. When is it important to tell someone the truth, even if it hurts their feelings?
  10. What was one of your most memorable dreams?
  11. What’s your superhero name?
  12. If you got paid to study anything for four years, what would you most want to learn?
  13. What would you NEVER do on a dare?
  14. If you found a genie in a bottle and got one wish (which couldn’t be for more wishes) what would you wish?
  15. If you woke up and had a friendly pet monster, what would you name them?
  16. If you woke up tomorrow and could be an instant EXPERT at something—what thing would you pick
  17. What thing is totally unfair?
  18. If you could invent anything—what would it be?
  19. What’s the grossest thing you ever did?
  20. When is it time to stand up for someone else?
  21. If you wrote a book that was coming out tomorrow, what would you call it?


Play it again and again, and see where it takes you, and what it inspires within!

Storystormkateers, I have only one thing left to say here—a mantra, if you will—

Yay for YOU in 2022! (*my kinda rhyme)

I’ll be rooting and cheering for you, every day of the year.

Samantha Berger is the award-winning author of over 80 books for young readers, including WHAT IF… (illus by Mike Curato), ROCK WHAT YA GOT (illus by Kerascoet), CRANKENSTEIN, A CRANKENSTEIN VALENTINE, and TRICK OR TREAT, CRANKENSTEIN (illus by Dan Santat).

She is also a three-time Emmy nominated television writer, previous Editorial Director of Nickelodeon for 12 years, and currently writes for many branches of Sesame Street. Samantha lives in sunny Santa Monica with her Dingo-Chihuahua rescue dog Polly Pocket, who is a daily reminder of resilience and the power of love.

Play along online at, Twitter @bergerbooks, Instagram @samanthabergerauthor, and Facebook.

Leave a comment with one of your 21 answers, or favorite questions, or basically, anything at all. I will be giving away a signed copy of my book WHAT IF…

…illustrated by Mike Curato, all about the power of creativity to triumph over ANYTHING.

And as always, the deepest of bows (ow, my back) and greatest of gratitudes to the Queen of Kindness, Tara Lazar, for making this happen AGAIN, and for such a stellar charity (Blessings in a Backpack). Mwwwah!

You’re eligible to win if you’re a registered Storystorm participant and you have commented once below.

Prizes will be distributed at the conclusion of Storystorm.