7 Creative Writing Techniques for High School Students + 15 Bonus Writing Prompts
Teenagers often need a bit of a push to get interested in creative writing. With a few great exercises and prompts, you might be surprised at what they create.
That’s why we’ve put together some excellent creative writing techniques you can use in the high school classroom.
All of these exercises work well as a daily writing activity on their own, but you can adapt them to become warm-up writing sessions for other writing assignments you have planned for your class.
Whether you create a lesson around these activities or use them for warm-ups, all of these techniques will help high school students transform a blank page into something exciting, and you might be surprised as to how much they have to say.
7 Creative Writing Techniques
1 – Focusing on Details
Details, details, details. Get your high schoolers paying attention to details. Many writing prompts ask students to write in-depth about specific topics or experiences. Have your students write down an outline of their topic with bullet points. Then, let them choose a bullet point and write solely about that aspect of the topic using as many details as possible.
2 – Write a Sequel
Have your students pick out a favorite book, TV show, play, or movie. Next, have them choose a favorite character and then continue the story, exploring what might happen next for that character in a sequel.
3 – Pass-it-Along Stories
Writing doesn’t have to be solitary, and this fun technique can turn writing into a fun game. Have everyone begin with a blank piece of paper. Write a story prompt on the board (get some creative story prompts at the end of this article), and then ask students to spend two minutes writing about the writing prompt.
After two minutes, have them pass their paper to the student who’s next to them, giving students another two minutes to continue the story where the previous individual left off. Continue to pass along the stories every two minutes. Have fun reading stories aloud in the classroom to see the twists and turns they took as they traveled from person to person.
4 – Guided by Words
For this exercise, high schoolers can pick their topic. Before they begin, have them create a list of words and phrases that come to mind when thinking about their topic. After completing the list, have them create their piece of writing using as many words and phrases they brainstormed as possible.
5 – Creative Revisions
Have students begin with a previous piece of writing that they can edit and revise for this exercise. As they’re editing their own work, have them do the following things:
- Add 15 adjectives
- Find a new place in the piece for the beginning. This may include cutting the piece of writing or adding additional details to the opening.
- Cut out three whole sentences.
- Change a detail in the middle of the piece. Then, go back through the story to see if they need to change other details as a result of that change.
- Remove a word from each sentence.
6 – Words Transformed to Sentences
Ask students to write down the first 20 words they think of while timing them for two minutes. Next, have them write sentences using as many of those words as possible. Have them see if they can create a complete, coherent paragraph for bonus points
7 – Write the Why
Students will need to have a previously completed piece of their writing for this writing exercise. Ask them to give their work another read, think about it, and then write about the following questions.
- Why did you pick this topic?
- Why did you include the details found in this piece?
- Why did you describe the main character, event, or setting in the way you did?
- Which details were left out? Why?
- Why do you think someone else would want to read this piece of writing?
Creative Writing Prompts
If you need writing prompts, we’ve put together a list of ideas that you can use with our creative writing techniques to build out lessons for your high school students.
- Write about a magical event that happens when you turn 18.
- Create a letter to yourself when you are 50 years old.
- You’re only able to communicate with others via social media. What does this new world look like?
- You’re trapped in your high school and you’re the only teens left who can save the world. What happens?
- Write a story about attending high school in outer space or on another planet.
- People create a world where kids never get to grow up. You have to save the kids. How do you do it?
- Create a story about a high school that’s been taken over by doctors. What happens?
- Write a story about swapping lives with your worst enemy.
- You suddenly get to trade places with a person you admire for one day. What do you do?
- Your town votes to have a teenager as the mayor.
- Someone sees your social media account and decides to make a movie of your life. Describe the movie.
- You discover a time machine that lets you travel back in time. What would you go back and tell your younger self?
- Write a story about a teen that is addicted to his or her smartphone.
- If you could talk to a famous person, who would you want to talk to and what would you ask them?
- Create a story about your dream vacation, where you go, who you meet, and what happens.
Creative Writing Resources
Until next time, write on…
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