"Once upon a time, there was a dog named Ella, who wanted..." Kate got stuck there for almost half an hour, in her first-ever experience of writer's block.
"Ask your Aunt Sarah," everyone told her. "This is her kind of thing." And it was.
"Who wanted...to be president?" I proposed.
"To play outside," said Kate.
"In the backyard." She recorded it carefully in her composition notebook.
"With a ball."
So she's writing mainstream literary fiction, and I'm a cheery genre hack. At least (A) I got her unstuck, and (B) she kept faith with the story she wanted to tell.
Maybe if I started keeping a WOW notebook, myself, I'd learn how to write short stories that are actually short. Maybe this is how other people get their stories to weigh in under 5,000 words. And wouldn't that be a handy skill in my line of work?