This creative writing lesson plan is broken into topic sections. Each section includes a short lecture with questions to ask the class along the way, along with a few follow-up activities.
The Rough Draft Part 1: Ideas - How to Get Them
Usually creative writing can be broken down into three drafts, or the "3 Rs": Rough, Revise, Refine. There is the first stage, or rough draft, where you take your random thoughts and ideas and anchor them to a solid plot, a character or two, and an order of events that makes sense. Then there is the second stage, or the revision draft. This is where the finer points of writing come in, such as point of view, grammar usage, spelling, and format. After your rough story is written, this part ensures that the work doesn't have any distracting errors, that it flows well from scene to scene, and that it has all the details necessary in order to tell a good story. Finally, the third stage, or the refining draft, puts the final touches on your story that transform it from simple words on paper to true artistic expression. This stage is where you bring in the use of metaphors, similes, symbolism (strange words, I know, but each will be explained later), further character development, and possibly different points of view in order to add depth and meaning to your story.
Keep in mind that every writer works differently. Some writers don't worry about mechanics at all until they get to the second draft; some obsess and pay attention to every single comma during the first draft. Some plan out every scene in the story ahead of time (making an outline of the major plot points in the story can be helpful in this case); some don't plan out anything. You have to find, and be comfortable with, your own writing style. Longer stories that are more complex need a bit more planning than shorter ones. For now, let's start where people seem to have the most trouble, with the initial ideas themselves.
IDEAS: WHERE THEY COME FROM AND HOW TO GET THEM ON PAPER
"I have nothing to write about." How many times have you heard that come out of your mouth? I've said it myself, many times. That is simply not true. (For teachers using the Druidawn game system) By now, you've surely found something in the world of Druidawn that sparked your imagination. A character, a place, or an event. If anything has made you stop and say, "Oh, that's kind of cool," you have something to write about. If you've ever watched the world around you and wondered why people do the things they do, or events happened the way they did, then you have something to write about. If you've ever had a birthday party, been to a school dance, had your first crush, or just got up this morning, you have something to write about.
The best way for a writer to get story ideas is to say "What if..." Let's try it. What if someone found an old map in his attic that led to a treasure? Of course, he would have to go find the treasure, right? Well, if he didn't, it wouldn't be much fun. So, he packs up his suitcase, tells his friends and family good-bye, and heads out to find this treasure. What if he has to travel through some dangerous territory, like, an enchanted forest, or a mountain filled with trolls? What if he keeps getting sidetracked on his quest? Maybe he meets people who need his help.
Starting to get the idea? Apply this to anything from Druidawn stories to your everyday life. What if you woke up one morning and your parents were different people? What if you got an A on that math test you've been sweating over? Try it. Look around you and ask "What if..."
Discussion: Have students ask "what if" questions. Brainstorm ideas together as a class.
Okay, so you might have a few ideas floating around. "What next?" you ask. Now the fun starts. Now you write. Sounds easy enough. This is the time where you want to get as many of your ideas on paper as you can. Let yourself go, and have fun with it. Writing should feel like you're slipping into a special place, a place you've created. In your real life, you cannot eat candy for dinner, you have a bedtime, you have homework, and yes, you might have to make your bed, even if you are just going to mess it up when you sleep in it again. Life is full of things that don't seem all that fun (even for adults). In writing, you are the boss. If your main character wants to have cake for dinner, then let her eat cake.
Writing Lesson Plan Activities:
Can be done aloud with a partner or on paper. Partner the students. Have one student ask a "What if" question and then his/her partner can answer the question until both students have an idea for a story written down on paper.
Here is a quick list of a few prompts just to get your imagination going. These could be used to help develop your characters, or start a completely new story, or used in any darn way you like. You don't have to do all of these; you don't have to do any of these, but the more you practice at writing the better you get. Pick one that appeals to you and see where it takes you.
Someone finds a jewel-encrusted box.
Your main character wakes up to find himself in a completely different place from where he fell asleep.
Your character is afraid of something. What is it? How does he confront it?
Your character is being chased and steps in a mysterious puddle of goop, or makes a wrong turn and ends up in a dead end, or is rescued by someone she does not like.
Your character is fishing and catches something interesting.
Your character sees a shimmering light through the trees.
The sky changes color.
A secret room is found.
A path branches off in three different directions and your character has no idea where to go.