Friday, 8 November 2019

Three writing prompts.

Here are some exercises I used to use at City University when I ran the Writing for Children evening class. 

1) The story grid. (Thanks to Amanda Swift, my own teacher when I took the course for this one.)     Write one column of six possible storybook locations (beach, castle, etc) 
              Write another column of six storybook main characters (witch, fireman, fairy, etc) 
              And then another of animals.
Number all the items in your grid. 

Then throw a dice three times. If you get 1/3/6 write down those items from your grid (beach/wizard/ elephant  for example.   Then write a story incorporating these elements. (You can have as many columns as you want, and change the criteria for each) 

2) Family history.  Think of a story from your own family history, and write it down. Now think about how you could transfer elements of that story into another genre. So, say, a story of migration (we had a lot of those) could transform itself into a sci fi tale of space exploration. Which elements would stay the same? Which would change? 

3) I would make a list of different sorts of ways of starting a story -  first person/third person/genre/past/ present etc. And then get the class to write the first line of Cinderella in all those different ways. Then ask them to pick their favourite three versions, and their least favourite. It was fun to read out the ones they liked, but the point of the exercise was to get them to think about how they preferred to write-  a narrator in the first person, for example.
This is a good way of developing voice.

4) The post-it timeline.  Think of a one line plot - Chocolate is banned!, say, or The Prince who Vanished.  Get your students to write potential scenes in that story onto post its. Then arrange the post its roughly into 'beginning' 'middle' and 'end' scenes. And then arrange them into a timeline -  ta ra! You have a plotline! 


Sue Purkiss said...

Thanks for these, Keren - they'll come in very useful!

Penny Dolan said...

Nice ideas, Keren. Thanks - they're going in my notebook.