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Blog How to Invent Your Own Secret Island

How to Invent Your Own Secret Island

By Tamzin Merchant | Guest Blog

How to Invent Your Own Secret Island

In my new book The Troublemakers, Cordelia Hatmaker discovers a secret island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean called The Island of Lost Souls.

The island is impossible for most people to see on a map and it's impossible to get to, unless you're called there by a certain star that hangs in the sky above it... and when Cordelia eventually sets foot on the island (after sailing through the skeleton jaws of an enormous Sea Dragon fossil), she discovers some wildly magical creatures living there - strange and powerful creatures that haven't been seen by human beings for centuries!

I'm challenging YOU to invent your own secret magical hideout island!

There are several things you need to think about when inventing your own magical island. Here are some questions:

What would you name the island?

How do you get to the secret island? Is there a map you need to find? Is the map really old and drawn in strange ink? Or perhaps it's carved on a bit of rock, or hidden in a painting?

Do you have to follow a star, or say a password or a magic spell to reach the island? Is it a dangerous journey to get there?

What size is the island? Is it bigger than a sprawling city or smaller than a football pitch? 

Who (or what) lives there? What brilliant or terrifying magical powers do they have?

If you found this island, what would you do?

Now you've answered these questions, it's time to draw a map of your island. Start with the coastline and then fill the land in with illustrations of all the different places on it - trees, mountains, lagoons, glades, rivers, swamps, caves, sandy desert dunes, volcanoes...! Whatever you've imagined, be sure to put it in!

Don't forget to give each of the places on your map a name. You can even make a key, labelling each place with a number, then writing a numbered list of all the names at the bottom of your sheet of paper.

Now, add a place to live! It could be a castle, a treehouse, a lair, a palace, a tiny hut, an ice-cream parlour...

Next, add the magical creatures that live on your island. They could be scary beasts, like a 12-ft python with eyes that turn a person to stone, or cute like a colony of pink guineapigs with candy-floss fur , or something funny, like a flock of parrots who squawk rude words and whose feathers have the power to tickle a person so much that they float into the sky.

When you've drawn the map of your island (and perhaps even coloured it in), think about what kind of story could happen there! Imagine you've just discovered this secret map, and your mission is to find the island, reach a magical creature that lives there and persuade it to help you with an urgent problem! Let your magical imagination run WILD!

To give you a little bit of inspiration, here's the map of the Island of Lost Souls you'll find at the beginning of The Troublemakers.

Happy mapmaking!

Published: Thu 1st Feb 2024

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