Helping Students Develop Creative Writing Ideas

Helping Students Develop
Creative Writing
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Have you ever asked students
to write a creative story, only to have
them stare at you blankly, with no idea
what to write about?
Sometimes the opposite happens.
A student will have too many ideas to
narrow down to just one.
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Creative writing exercises can
help students to:
 generate ideas
 get started on a story
 improve their writing skills
 find their voice
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There are many ways students can
practice creative writing.
Here are four:
1. stream of consciousness
2. image prompts
3. writing prompts
4. co-writing
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1. Stream of Consciousness
A simple way to practice creative writing is to
choose a certain amount of time
and just write.
About anything.
No pre-planned topic necessary.
Set a timer for, say, 15 minutes and have students
write, write, write...
Try it, they might just surprise you (and themselves)!
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2. Using Image Prompts
Is there a particular picture your students find interesting?
It could be...
a famous painting
a picture in a magazine
a book cover
an illustration
a personal photo
Have them choose an image and write a story about it,
using descriptive details and covering all of the 5 senses.
Imagine... and give the image a voice!
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3. Using Writing Prompts
Have students ask someone else to come up with some
creative sentences to use as the beginning of their story.
For example:
"The dog started acting strangely, just
after the full moon."
"I had no idea what was in that bag or I
never would have opened it."
Sometimes it just takes a few words to spark a student's
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4. Co-Writing
This means having students partner with each other and write together.
Many great books and research papers are co-authored.
This is a great exercise to generate ideas!
Have them brainstorm topics together and bounce ideas off of each
other. Once they've decided on a topic, provide other writing tools
(graphic organizers, idea webs, character trait sheets) to help them
structure their writing piece together.
Finally, have them assign each other either
o roles (one person writes, the other edits) or
o sections (one does the intro & conclusion, the other the body)
Try it and see if two minds write better than one!
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Ideas for a Plot
Help students remember experiences they've had.
Suggest they create a character that goes through
similar experiences like:
 learning to ride a bike
 moving to a new school
 winning an award
 making a new friend
 interviewing family members
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If a student feels stuck,
have him or her...
•take a few minutes to brainstorm ideas
•look around... notice things and people
around them
Is there an interesting story there?
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Ideas for Characters
If your students are not ready to create their own
characters yet, have them include
people they know in their story.
 their mother
 their best friend
 their neighbor
 their teacher
 even their dog!
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If They're Still Stuck
Bring up things that wouldn’t normally happen:
animals that can talk
a magical place or faraway world
Ask about a book they’re reading or recently read:
Can they write a similar story?
Can they write a new ending to the story?
Have them make a list of whatever comes to mind
and write it all down.
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Important Tips
for your students:
1. Have them focus on only one subject
2. Suggest they compare this subject,
using similes & metaphors
3. Encourage them to use descriptive
paragraphs to paint a picture
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The end.
More free TEACHING WRITING resources:
graphic organizers
writing conventions
critiquing & grading
the writing process
Eight-week WRITING courses:
elementary school
middle school
high school
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