Six Creative Writing Techniques to Introduce in Your High School Classroom
Looking for a fresh way to revitalize your high school students’ interest in creative writing? Sometimes all you need to make teens interested in writing again is a few new exercises and prompts to get their pens going. With that in mind, we’ve put together six new creative writing techniques to introduce in your high school classroom.
Each of these exercises is designed to function as a complete daily writing activity on its own, but they can also all be easily adapted to serve as an introductory warm-up session to another writing assignment you may already have planned. No matter how you use them, each activity will help your students face down the blank page and find that they have plenty to say.
1. Focus on the Details
Many journal prompts ask students to write in-depth about a particular experience or topic. In this exercise, students should instead jot down a brief outline of their topic using bullet points. Then, have them choose one of the bullet points and write solely about it in detail.
2. Write Your Own Sequel
Have students choose a favorite book, movie, play, or episode of a television show. Then, they should select one character to focus on and continue the story to explore what might have happened next for him or her after the original work concluded.
3. Let the Words Be Your Guide
In this exercise, students can choose any topic they want to write about. However, before they get started, they should make a list of all the words and phrases that come to mind when they think about the topic. After the lists are completed, have students write their pieces using as many of the brainstormed words and phrases as they can.
4. Get Creative with Revisions
Ask students to choose one of their previous pieces of writing to edit and revise. Then, as they edit, ask them to complete the following tasks:
- Find somewhere else to start the piece from. They may have to cut out some of their earlier work entirely, or add on more details at the beginning of the piece!
- Remove a word from every sentence.
- Add 15 adjectives.
- Cut out three entire sentences.
- Change one detail somewhere toward the middle of the piece. Then, go through the rest of the writing and see what other details need to be changed as a result.
(Note: Each of these items can easily be completed as its own activity, or they can be worked on simultaneously during a single round of revisions!)
5. When Words Come Before Sentences
Give students a one-minute or two-minute timer and ask them to write down the first 20 words that come into their heads. Then, they should write 3-4 sentences using as many of the words as possible in each one. Bonus points if they can create a coherent paragraph using their word lists!
6. Write About the Why of Your Writing
For this exercise, students will need to choose a previously completed piece of writing. Ask them to read their work and then consider and write about the following “why” questions:
- Why did you choose to write about this topic?
- Why did you describe the main setting/character/event/etc. as you did?
- Why did you choose to include the details you included?
- Which details did you leave out? Why?
- Why would someone else want to read this?
- Why do you want/not want to share this piece of writing with other people?
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Until next time, write on…