Have students who have difficulty beginning a creative writing piece? Provide your student with an interesting story starter that they can use to begin a story. There are several ways to use story starters. You can use them to model a shared writing piece with the class. You can have students pair up or work alone to write their story. All students can begin with the same prompt and you can share the stories when finished to see how many different stories could come from the same prompt. Or, students can be provided with a list of story starters to chose from and each student writes their own story. However you use this in your classroom, it's a great way to get reluctant writers to loosen up and have some fun. Below are some story starters that I created. Feel free to use them, revise them, write your own, or even ask your students to create their own story starters to trade with one another.
1. Ebony shuddered as the wooden stairs creaked beneath her feet. Her parents had recently bought this old, run down mansion in the country and tonight was her first night alone in the house. She had sat in the living room until she couldn't keep her eyes open, comforted by the light and sound of the television. Now she was braving the dim hallway by herself. Suddenly, the front door slammed. "Mom? Dad?" she called. Silence. Ebony was no longer alone in the house.
2. Thomas stared out the window at the sea. School would start tomorrow. He hadn't seen his friends all summer. Hadn't talked to them on the phone or online. Not since It happened. Thomas wondered how his friends would feel when they found out. Would they stare? Would they whisper? Thomas sighed. If only IT hadn't happened.
3. Jessie licked her ice cream and stared at the box that sat on the park bench next to her. She had seen the man come earlier in the morning and place it on the bench. He looked to the left and then to the right and carefully set the box down. He patted the box and then walked away. Jessie had been curious ever since. She'd heard on the Subway never to touch abandoned bags or packages. But this was a park, not the subway. And she wanted to know what was in the box. Crunching the last of her cone, she scooted over to the box. She looked around. Her sister, Izzy, was still talking to her friends. She took her house key out of her pocket and placed it under the tape that was wound around the box. The box sprung open.
4. Dead. A minute ago, Ronnie had been standing right next to her. And now he was dead. Looking down, Ally saw blood covering her shoes. She raised her hand to her face. It too was covered in blood. Her mouth open in a silent scream, Ally began to run.
5. It was over a month ago when his little sister began talking to the ghosts. That's what she called them. Jackson wasn't sure if he believed in ghosts or not. But Emily sure did. And she believed they were living in their apartment.
Another way to give kids ideas for short stories, is to have them write a story about a picture. I like to cut pictures from travel magazines and National Geographic or even use pictures that I have taken. When I come across an interesting picture, I cut it out and place it in a file folder. When I am ready to use them, I bring them into class and spread them out on the table. Each student chooses a picture. They use the picture to create a short story or poem based on the picture. After the students have gone through the writing process, I take their published piece, frame the picture, and create a bulletin board displaying their work. It's really interesting to see how students are able to create a full story from just one image and the students are always interested in sharing their work with one another and other teachers in the school.
*** Check back soon for more ideas and tips for creative writing ****