Creative Writing Prompts
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Creative Writing Prompts

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This is a power point of prompts and lessons for a high school creative writing 1 course.

This is a power point of prompts and lessons for a high school creative writing 1 course.

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  • 1. Creative Writing prompt #1
    Lunch Prompt
    It’s a regular school day, boring classes, same old things. At last you hear the lunch bell ring. You sit down with your friends and open your lunch bag. There is not sandwich. There are no chips, no cookies. A mystery package gas replaced all of that! Slowly and incredulously, you take the package from your lunch bag. Not only did it appear in your lunch, but it has your name on it! What is inside? Who sent it and why?
  • 2. Creative Writing prompt #1 part 2
    You wrote the story in first person. (I found . . .in my lunch box.) What if someone else had the experience.
    There are two ways to do it. Second person and third person.
    If you use “you” it is second person. Directions are usually 2nd person.
    “You should first turn on the CD player.”
    “Watch for the red light to know that the power is on.”
    When the story is written about a character it is 3rd person.
    “Sam saw the old lady trying to cross the street.”
    “The dog raced to help his master.”
    So. . .let’s make things interesting. Write the same story about someone else---3rd person.
    “Sandy and Rcik spent the morning climbing the face of the mountain rock by rock. It had been a long and arduous journey and they were famished. At last, Rick suggested lunch, and as he opened his. . .”
  • 3. Creative Writing prompt #2 part 1
    You and the love of your life have packed a picnic lunch. Finding the “perfect spot” by a stream, you begin unpacking the lunch onto the yellow checked blanket you have apread on the ground. You are thinking how wonderful it is, so quiet, so private. You stand and look down the stream toward the old abandoned textile mill. You wonder if some other couples long ago sat by the stream. Then you notice someone behind a tree not so far away – a girl in a long flowing dress. Could it be someone from days gone by? Who is it and why is she here? Is she looking for someone?
  • 4. Creative Writing prompt # 2 part 2
    Last time you wrote a story. It was a narrative story. What if I asked you to describe your spot by the stream? That is a different kind of story.
    Narrative – tells a story. Like a narrator in a play. You story about the girl by the stream.
    Descriptive – paints a picture. It describes a person, place, thing, or idea. It incorporates the senses.
    Expository – “exposes” things about a subject. It is an information story because it provides information about a person, place, thing, or idea.
    Let’s change things up. Take the same story theme and write it as a descriptive story. Describe the mill. Describe the stream. Describe the trees and the grass, or the fish in the stream. Describe the sky. Is it night or day? Give it lots of details. Have fun with it.
  • 5. Creative Writing Prompt 3 part 1
    Expository writing gives information about a given topic. But expository writing can be written with style and in different ways. It doesn’t have to be dry and boring. In fact, some of the best expository papers are those that have a unique slant and grab the reader’s attention. When you read one of these you hardly realize all of the facts you are learning because the paper is so much fun!
    A good expository writer does research.
  • 6. Creative Writing Prompt #3 part 2
    Amsterdam – From a Sea Captain’s View
    (You can use any place that you want and you can change the sea captain to a pilot and the view from the cockpit, or a soldier invading a foreign land---check with me if you have a different idea---it must be something you can research)
    Find out all that you can about Amsterdam (or the place you choose) before beginning to write.
    Decide what year this takes place and research the duties of the person for that period.
    Write your story as if you were the person, describing the place as you see it from. . .
  • 7. Creative Writing Prompt #3 part 3
    Now, using the same information, write a narrative that tells what the person did, what he/she saw, or where they went. Be sure to use transition words that indicate time, like then, since, next, etc.
    Use verbs that are interesting and tell specific actions. For instance, instead of saying “The captain was very angry,” try using a more interesting verb. You might say, “The captain seethed with rage.”
    A thesaurus is a great tool for expanding vocabulary.
  • 8. Creative Writing prompt #3 Part 4
    Using the same information, write a descriptive story telling what the place was like from the persons point of view.
    Sometimes a descriptive story is called a spatial story because its purpose is to paint a picture for the reader.
    Be sure to cover every detail.
    Appeal to the senses.
    Make the reader long to be where this person is.
    Describe the sounds
    Make the reader long to feel the breeze on their skin
    Make them see the sights your person is experiencing
    Smell and taste the experience
  • 9. Creative Writing – Prompt #4
    Newspaper Article
    Interview each other for a mock newspaper article---a great method for developing characters. Interviewer must gather background information before putting pen to paper. The interviewee may be anything he or she wants---a sports super star, a war hero, a mystery writer, etc.
    Take a turn being the interviewer and the interviewee. Each person must write a newspaper article about the person that they interview.
    What should a newspaper article contain?
    How do you develop a character?
  • 10. Creative Writing Prompt #5
    • Fairy tales have happy endings. All of us know what happened in that mushy fairy tale, Cinderella. Yeah, it’s a romantic, the prince actually finding Cinderella. They lived happily ever after. But happy endings can sometimes be, well. . .boring. No zing. So predictable. So. . .happy. What if the shoe fit one of the sisters? Play with your imagination here. Be funny if you like. Or serious if you feel like it. Or be an Alfred Hitchcock. Whatever you are into, write your ending to the Cinderella story—but this time, make it so that the shoe fit one of the icky sisters. What does Prince Charming do? How does Cinderella cope with it? And what about the Fairy Godmother? Start your story here.
  • Dialogue Practice – Voices in the DarkCreative Writing Prompt #6
    The purpose of this practice is to develop skills in dialogue writing.
    In this writing activity the writer-narrator sets up the plot situation in a beginning paragraph-not too lengthy. In this plot situation, the narrator -cannot see- (either blind, or blind folded)-but can hear- two speakers, one "for" and one "against" the narrator. The dialogue should comprise 85% of the paper. The two characters discuss 'back and forth' focusing mostly on the 'blind' narrator rather than on each other. [The speaking characters may be 'developed' as well as the narrator through the dialogue.] The dialogue may have a theme.
    *Incidentally the 'for and against' part of the assignment builds a tension and interest in the plot for both the reader and the listeners.
  • 11. Creative Writing Prompt #7
    Create a character who has a secret to confess, but who is afraid to confess it. Write the diary or journal entries that your character would write as she or he considers the secret, explores why it needs to be confessed, thinks about who will be affected if the secret is known, and considers why she or he is afraid. Write a series of diary or journal entries, as if they were written over a period of several days or a week. In the entries, you can incorporate the main character's interactions with others and explore the ways that the day-to-day events that the character experiences influence the way that she or he thinks about the secret and confession. Your character's decision to tell (or not) should be revealed in the final diary or journal entry. All the entries need to work together as a whole -- they should sound like the writings of a single person, and should show consistency from one entry to the next (for example, if the person writes in the diary that she is afraid of water in one journal entry, it would be inconsistent to have her mention that she had been water skiing in the entry written two days later).
  • 12. Creative Writing Prompt #8
    Below are three sets of words. Use all of the words in each set to write mini stories in 300 words or less:
    paper clips, principal, lunch box, swing, girl with a pink ribbon
    biology, class card, foregin student, leaf, blood sample
    computer, filing cabinet, hole puncher, data entry person, printer, janitor
  • 13. Creative Writing Prompt #9
    Where do you go when you want to get away from the pressures of family, school work, life, etc.?
    Write about this place.
    Some things you may want to consider:
    Describe the place so that we can see it and feel it.
    Tell how it makes you feel there.
    Explain how this came to be your place.
    Who shares or knows about this place, if anyone.
    How often do you go there?
    What factors drive you there?
  • 14. Creative Writing Prompt #10
    Re-write the fairy tale, Snow White, from the perspective of one of the seven dwarfs.
    Bashful
    Doc
    Dopey
    Grumpy
    Happy
    Sleepy
    Sneezy
  • 15. Creative Writing Activity #11 Part 1
    Take a walk around the block. Look at everything – people, cars, trees, flowers, trash, sky, etc.
    Write a description of your walk, using every appropriate adjective when describing what you saw. Don’t worry about using too many – this is supposed to be overblown.
    Write a second description of your walk without using any adjectives or descriptive phrases.
    Now that you’ve done both overblown and bare-bones versions, re-write your walk using a comfortable number of adjectives. This will be different for different writers.
    How did you do? Which version was harder for you? Did you discover that you are a naturally spare writer like Dick Francis? Or a descriptive writer like Anna Quindlen? Or somewhere between the two?
  • 16. Creative Writing Activity #11 Part 2
    Go back to your final version for more revisions:
    Can you use a stronger noun and delete an adjective? Instead of “red sports car,” can you write “red Corvette?”
    Can you replace a long descriptive phrase with a shorter one? How about changing “the wall was covered with spray-painted words” to “grafitti-covered wall.” Or make it more specific in its own sentence, such as “High schoolers had sprayed ’Cougars Rock’ and ‘Class of 2010’ in red across the brick.”
  • 17. Creative Writing Activity #11 Part 3
    One final exercise to do with the narrative of your walk.
    Create a character (or use one you’ve already created) and experience the walk through his or her eyes. Does the red Corvette remind him of lost dreams? Does she grimace at the ugly grafitti? Or smile at remembrances of when she did the same thing?
    With your character in mind, choose which details are important to him or her and delete the others. Part of writing descriptive fiction is choosing what to include, and a character who notices the red Corvette may not care about the maple tree under which it is parked.
    Change details as necessary to fit your character. Perhaps the red Corvette won’t mean as much to your character as a fully-loaded black pick-up with chrome accents.
    Change details to enhance your theme. At a conference, Jessica Page Morrell encouraged writers to look for details that resonate. She gave the example of a ginkgo tree, whose yellow autumn leaves fall very suddenly, all within a few days. This sort of description can echo a failing relationship, for example.
  • 18. Creative Writing Prompt # 12 part 1
    Write the following four words on your paper:
    Character
    Setting
    Time
    Situation
    Now chose a number from 1-10 and write it next to each of the four words.
    You may chose any number that you want. It can be the same or different for each number, or any combination.
  • 19. Creative Writing Prompt 12
    Character
    a new mother
    a photographer
    a recent high school graduate
    a restaurant owner or manager
    an alien from outer space
    a homeless child
    a 93-year-old woman
    an environmentalist
    a college student
    a jazz musician
  • 20. Creative Writing Prompt #12 Continued
    Setting
    near a National Forest
    a wedding reception
    a celebration party
    an expensive restaurant
    a shopping mall
    a city park
    the porch of an old farmhouse
    a polluted stream
    a college library
    a concert hall
  • 21. Creative Writing #12 Prompt Continued
    Time
    during a forest fire
    after a fight
    the night of high school graduation
    after a big meal
    sometime in December
    late at night
    after a big thunderstorm has passed
    in early spring
    first week of the school year
    during a concert
  • 22. Creative Writing Prompt #12 Continued
    Situation/Challenge
    an important decision needs to be made
    a secret needs to be confessed to someone else
    someone's pride has been injured
    a death has occurred
    someone has found or lost something
    someone has accused someone else of doing something wrong
    reminiscing on how things have changed
    someone feels like giving up
    something embarrassing has just happened
    someone has just reached an important goal
  • 23. Creative Writing Prompt #13 Assignment
    Write a story with the character, setting, time period, and situation that you've chosen. The character that you've chosen should be the main character in the story, but isn't necessarily the ONLY character in the story. Likewise, most of the story will take place in the setting that you've chosen, but you can include other settings or elaborate on the setting that you have chosen (breaking it into several smaller settings, for example). The situation or challenge that you've chosen may involve the main character or your main character may observe someone else who must deal with the situation or challenge. In other words, you can combine these elements anyway that you desire, so long as all four are included in your story.
  • 24. Creative Writing Prompt #14
    Create a character who has a secret to confess, but who is afraid to confess it. Write the diary or journal entries that your character would write as she or he considers the secret, explores why it needs to be confessed, thinks about who will be affected if the secret is known, and considers why she or he is afraid. Write a series of diary or journal entries, as if they were written over a period of several days or a week. In the entries, you can incorporate the main character's interactions with others and explore the ways that the day-to-day events that the character experiences influence the way that she or he thinks about the secret and confession. Your character's decision to tell (or not) should be revealed in the final diary or journal entry. All the entries need to work together as a whole -- they should sound like the writings of a single person, and should show consistency from one entry to the next (for example, if the person writes in the diary that she is afraid of water in one journal entry, it would be inconsistent to have her mention that she had been water skiing in the entry written two days later).
  • 25. Creative Writing Prompt #15 part 1
    Brainstorm:
    Create a list of places where you have vivid memories.
    Brainstorm more:
    Select one of the places from your list that holds strong potential for a story.
    Create another list, this time with as many stories as you can remember tied to that one place.
  • 26. Creative Writing Prompt #15 part 2
    Pre-Writing
    Narrow your list.
    Select two stories that you would want to write about.
    Draw a picture depicted the moment.
    List as many details as you can remember
    Concentrate on sensory details.
    Drafting:
    For each of the two stories write a story using sensory description.
  • 27. Creative Writing Prompt #15 part 3
    Revision:
    Select the one of the two stories that you want to write about.
    Look for places where you can elaborate
    Zoom in on a precise moment and focus on showing---not telling about that moment
    Add more details, especially imagery.
  • 28. Creative Writing Prompt #16
    Write from the point of view of a knife in a thief’s pocket.
  • 29. Creative Writing Prompt #17
    Fired from her job after getting a wrong number.
  • 30. Creative Writing Prompt #18
    Create a newspaper article with this headline:
    “Army Tough Guy Trampled by a Deer.”
  • 31. Creative Writing Prompt #19
    Us the following words in a story:
    Grandfather
    Photo albumn
    Post office
    folder
  • 32. Creative Writing Prompt #20
    Write a story based on this plot:
    mailed Valentines card never arrives.
  • 33. Creative Writing Prompt #21
    Write a story about why Fortune 500 companies would start to hire Fortune tellers.