Some great ideas from my friends to help spark the creative juices. Although very humerous, I opted not to use Rick's Survivor Island theme with kids being voted off. I once told a story where I killed off the kids' characters after a horrible meteor strike on their spaceship. The initial shock was quickly replaced with a long, "Nnnnooooooo!" Didn't go over very well. I had to quickly recover with the Soap Opera ploy, "It was all just a horrible dream."
Caryn, I used your suggestion and gave one of the characters computer hacker skills. My niece thinks it's pretty cool. Her character used it last night to help escape from a room filling with deadly poison gas. I'm trying to think how I'm going to fit a pony in the story. My boy doesn't have a problem with a pony as long as it's a man-eating pony. That would be cool. Even better, a man-eating pony with laser beam eyes and machine guns strapped to its back.
Chuck, I hear you about reading stories. It's tough to find stories that have the sheer number of farts, burps, mutant monsters like "Pizza the Hutt," and other non-sensical things I tend to include. I'll take any suggestions, though.