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Writing Prompts from The Write Stuff!


Writing Prompts from The Write Stuff!

Writing prompts from The Write Stuff Grades 3-5. Image of pens.

This past month, young patrons gathered once a week to write fantastic tales at our event The Write Stuff. At each session, I provided a number of creative writing prompts based on a theme. The responses these young writers provided absolutely blew me away. Their stories were funny, heartfelt, silly, scary, innovative, thoughtful, and inspiring. These writers also courageously chose to share their stories aloud with each other. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to all of our magnificently creative attendees!

The Write Stuff is over (for now!) but I wanted to provide a few of the writing prompts our young patrons completed in November. If your child could not attend, try out a select few of our silly prompts at home! If your child feels particularly inspired and wants to share their work with the world, feel free to share the stories created by making a comment on this post. And be sure to keep an eye out in the future for another series of The Write Stuff!

Session 1 (11/2): Point of view/perspectives

In this session, we talked about what it means to tell a story from different points of view. What is something that one character knows that another character does not? How can we use that to create humorous stories?

We read the book The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka (this story is told from the point of view of the wolf).

Sample prompts:

  • I (the librarian) hear something in the back of the library. I walk to the back. I see you (the patron) standing there, hair standing on end, covered entirely in glitter. You have lost one shoe and you are holding a rubber chicken. “What on earth happened?!?” I say. Tell me: What happened?
  • Tell a story (especially a commonly-known fairy tale) from the point of view of a villain or minor character.

Session 2 (11/9): Dialogue

Ah, dialogue! It can be so difficult to write! I find that I am often quite bogged down when writing dialogue and am overly concerned with getting punctuation correct and providing enough variation in my uses of the verbs “said,” “questioned,” “stated,” etc. So we got rid of that this session! We just focused on the words themselves, writing out dialogue like one would a script. I also encouraged writing in different colored markers for different characters so that writers could really focus on the distinct voices of each of their characters.

We talked about how different people will respond to the same prompts in different ways depending upon their personalities. For example, a nice librarian, a mean librarian, and a busy librarian might respond to the prompt “Hi, I’m looking for a book about beetles. Can you please help me find it?” in extremely different ways.

We read the book Yo! Yes? by Christopher Raschka.

Sample Prompt: An alien from the planet X has disguised himself as a child and enrolls himself in school. It is recess. He introduces himself to another student at school to try to learn more about human culture. Little does he know, the student he is talking to is ALSO an alien from another planet: Y. This alien is also in disguise and thinks she is talking to a human. What does their conversation look like?

Session 3 (11/16): Descriptive Text

We did the exact opposite of the previous week! Here, we looked at examples of texts that did a great job of using descriptive language to really immerse the reader in a world. And then, of course, kids wrote their own stories!

Book excerpts from: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia; The Patron Thief of Bread by Lindsay Eagar

Sample prompt: You are a young dragon. It’s time to leave the nest! Describe what it is like to jump out of the nest and soar through the air. What does it feel like? Maybe also describe what it feels like to breathe fire.

Session 4 (11/30): Science Fiction

This time, we explored a genre: science fiction! We talked about (and wrote our own) science fiction Choose Your Own Adventure stories. We also discussed sci fi radio shows, even listening to a small snippet of an old children’s radio show!

Sample prompt: You are hanging out at home, reading a book. All of a sudden, you see a bright light and a person appears in front of you! They say, “I’m you from the future. I need your help.” You are flabbergasted. How does this conversation go? How do you know it’s really a future version of you? What does this person need help with?

~Lisa Jenkins, Youth Services Librarian

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