When my kids were in middle school, they participated in a program called Power of the Pen. A group of them would meet once a week after school and work on writing. At the end of the year, there was a contest amongst multiple schools. During the day, the kids would be given a writing prompt and would have a set time to write something about that prompt.
If you’ve never done much writing and aren’t sure what a writing prompt is, it’s just an idea or a sentence to spark your creativity. They are designed to make you think of something different and get the juices flowing so you can write.
Recently I have run into a great weekly writing prompt subscription. These are from Reedsy, a job type website where authors can connect with and hire editors and other professionals to help with their book publishing.
On Fridays, a list of writing prompts is sent out and displayed on their website at http://www.reedsy.com/writing. You can write anything you want based on any of the writing prompt ideas and submit them. They pick one to publish on their blog and receive $50.
I believe that most school kids are too young to legally enter the contest, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the writing prompts. Go to the website each week to see the new prompts. Use your imagination and write a short story. Then, the following week, go compare your story to the one that was chosen. Think it stacks up?
Recenty, my favorite writing prompt was this:
In the human world, a magician reaches into a hat and pulls out a rabbit. In the rabbit world, the God hand has appeared again and a sacrifice must be made. This time, the Council of the Hop has chosen you.
That’s pretty good and sounds like it could be a fun story. This also seems to be appropriate for middle school kids, so it could be used with almost any age.
Even if your kids aren’t in a writing club, they can still do this on their own. Or, how about at breakfast or the dinner table? Look at the writing prompts and choose one for each night and everyone can make up a story on the spot or do a group story where everyone contributes.
These also would be great for trips. Throw out a writing prompt and makeup stories.
If you’ve been looking for a way to get kids interested in writing, start with just making stories. And if you aren’t good at coming up with the ideas, these are a great way to help get started.