Monday, February 19, 2007

Free writing prompts

By Maria Spelleri, Manatee Community College, USA (Illustration source unknown)

Cambridge University Press has a book called The Mind's Eye by Maley, Duff and Grellet. It had unusual photos (and some fairly ordinary too) with creative writing prompts. Although I no longer have this book ( Iooked up the authors on Amazon) I remember the kind of prompts it featured because they opened me up to a new and virtually limitless world of free prompts.

Take any photo, strange or normal, and ask the following questions:

  • This is the last scene in a movie. What was the movie about?
  • This picture illustrates a poem. Write the poem.
  • What was happening right before this picture was taken? What will happen right after?
  • Write the conversation the people in the photo are having.
  • Write a story incorporating this scene. By the way, you must prominently feature the word "Shark" (some word that has absolutely no connection to the photo.)
  • Look at the object in the photo. It is someone's most treasured possession. Who owns it and why is it so treasured?
Art is another great prompt, and I used to keep a couple of art books on my class shelves. Some art related questions:
  • Why is xyz a good or not so good name for this painting?
  • You are in this scene. How do you feel? What do you do or want to do?
  • Which of these two scenes would you rather be part of - why?
  • How are these two paintings the same? (the paintings don't have to look at all the same!)
  • With abstract art (these also works well with musical prompts): This represents an era or event in world history. Which one does it represent? It represents a person in your life, a kind of music, a place you know, something that happened to you....

1 comment:

Susan Morrison, NZ said...

I love this. It makes teaching so much more alive. Thanks so much!