Creative Writing Tips for Students and Teachers
Sometimes it is difficult for teachers to get students to be enthusiastic about their writing exercises. Kids usually associate ‘writing’ with homework and immediately think that it won’t be fun. However, Creative writing is an exercise of the imagination and can benefit the development of a child significantly. The trick is to get the kids engaged in the activities and for them to utilize their creativity to construct something ‘new’ from something ‘boring’.
Below we’ll be diving into a few writing exercises you can do with your kids right now that will set them on the path to becoming better and more creative writers.
Expanding the Vocabulary
One of the fundamental aspects of Stellar Creative Writing is having a robust vocabulary which can be used to turn trivial into something exciting. There’s a big difference between saying, “He tired after the gym” as opposed to saying, “Drenched in sweat, he could barely carry the weight of his body as he exited the gym…”
As you can see, by adding a few more descriptive words and by not just stating the state of being of the character, we created depth to the scene. We know the character is tired because he ‘could barely carry the weight of his body’ and the emphasis of sweat allows us to imagine he had a rigorous workout.
Thus, expanding vocabulary is important. You could let your kids go out and find a strange word they have never heard of before and make that the basis of their short story.
More than one way to skin the proverbial cat using adjectives and synonyms can significantly expand your vocabulary allowing you to write more descriptive and non-repetitive sentences. Walking could be ‘strolling’ or eating could be ‘devouring.’ These simple substitutions for commonly used words will allow your students to become more versatile in their writing. It’s important to keep the reader’s mind engaged at all times, and thus switching up your words allows them to feel that each page is a “fresh new window into the imagination.”
To help with adjectives and synonyms, you can let your kids write out a short story and then find as many adjectives and synonyms to replace the words in their story, essentially creating an alternate version of their original story. This allows them to create a connection between the ‘words they know’ and the ‘words they ought to know.’
Fiction from non-fiction
Another exercise that can greatly help develop their creativity is creating fictional stories out of non-fictional events. For this exercise, you’ll want your students to get a newspaper article. Their aim is to find a story that resonates with them.
It can be about anything!
Once they have singled out their article, their task will be to re-write the article in story form and to change the details of the event. They can be as creative as they want with this exercise. The point is to let them assimilate ‘how the world works’ and ‘how to incorporate it into fiction’. It’s a bit more advanced writing techniques. However, it’s loads of fun reading the “fake news” stories.
In fact, once all of your students have finished the assignment, you can then turn it into a newspaper filled with their own stories.
The Letter Game
Another game you can implement in class is “The Letter Game.” It is a game I used to play with my sister when I was little. The entire point of the game is to name words starting with a letter. You start with the letter “A” and work your way down.
The way it works is that you divide the class into two teams (you can make more teams too). Each team will have one opportunity to say a word starting with the selected letter. So if it’s “A,” then the words could be, Apple, Acorn, Asthma, etc. Each team has a turn and can only say one word. A team is eliminated from the round the moment they don’t have any other words starting with the letter.
Once there is only one team left, they crown the “winners” of the round, and you move onto the next letter in the alphabet.
The trick is to let the teams answer quickly. They don’t have time to think when it’s their turn. So give them 5 seconds on a clock to answer, if they can’t they are eliminated from the round.
While this game might not seem closely related creative writing, it will help make their minds more nimble when it comes to thinking up words, which is the crux of writing.
Keep on Reading
Finally, get your kids to read as much as they can. Read to them in class, do a class activity read a scene then act it out. Get them involved with reading and their writing abilities will naturally become more defined.