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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Seven Good Sources of Writing Prompts

On Sunday I shared my ideas for using picture collages as writing prompts. I realize that creating a collage isn't always feasible or appropriate for every situation. Therefore, I went through my archives to create an updated list of sources of creative writing prompts.

StoryToolz offer a nice collection of useful tools for writers. Writers who are struggling to come up with ideas for fiction stories will like the story starters featured on StoryToolz. StoryToolz has three tools that you can use to get story ideas; Random Conflicts, Half Title Generator, and Story Idea Generator. To use any of these three tools just select the tool from the main menu then look at the randomly generated idea. If you don't like the options, run the tool again until you get options that you like.

Scholastic Story Starters is a great tool that students will enjoy using to create short, creative fiction stories. Scholastic Story Starters offers four story themes; fantasy, adventure, sci-fi, and scrambler. To create a story on Story Starters a students picks a theme, enter his or her name, chooses his or her grade, and spins the big wheels of prompts. The student can spin the wheels until he or she finds a prompt he or she likes. After the prompt is selected the student can write his or her story using the letter, postcard, notebook, or newspaper format provided by Scholastic Story Starters. When the story is finished it can be printed. Story Starters will work on your students' iPads.

Things to Think About is a free iPad app that offers 100 writing prompts created by students for students. The prompts were created by 2nd through 5th grade students in Jackson County, Michigan. The app itself was built by two high school students in the same county. Things to Think About has writing prompts spread across twelve categories. Each prompt has a picture drawn by a student. A short audio recording of a student reading each prompt can be heard too.

Toasted Cheese is a daily writing prompt site that publishes prompts on a monthly calendar. The whole month is laid out for you with a different prompt each day. Don't see anything you like on the current calendar? That's okay, click through the previous months to find old prompts. Periodically, Toasted Cheese holds writing contests which you can learn about by clicking on the links on the calendar. The writing contests are based on one or more of the prompts from the calendar.

Quotes Daddy, as you might guess from the name, is a compendium of quotes from famous and not-so-famous people. Each day new quotes are featured on the homepage of Quotes Daddy. If you have a class blog you can add a Quotes Daddy widget to your blog.

One Word is a simple writing prompt generator. The way it works is the user clicks "go" on the One Word homepage and they are presented with one word. Users then have sixty seconds to write in the text box whatever comes to their minds regarding that word. The idea is not so much to write definitions of the words, but rather it is to write sentences using the word.

Make Beliefs Comix is a multilingual comic strip creation service that offers more than 300 comic templates. These printable templates are in addition to the online Make Beliefs Comix creation tool. The templates are divided into dozens of thematic categories including history, holidays, and civil rights. There is even a category of templates titled Emotions which is designed to help students express how they are feeling through comic characters. The printable templates from Make Beliefs Comix could be excellent resources to use as creative writing prompts. You could have students start a simple story by using the templates then expand the story into a longer narrative.

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