7 quick ways to get students writing creatively


What do we mean by creative writing? What creative writing have you enjoyed doing? What do you learn from writing creatively?


Creative writing is any writing that goes outside the bounds of normal professional, journalistic, academic, or technical forms of literature, typically identified by an emphasis on narrative craft, character development, and the use of literary tropes or with various traditions of poetry and poetics. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_writing

Key Points


Use an enticing title to get students writing creatively, e.g. ‘Betrayal’, ‘Jealousy’.


Use objects to trigger ideas: students take out some objects in their pockets or bags, and then sequence them in a particular order, telling a story about the objects which connects them.


Use a first line which students continue: ‘I opened the door and she was sitting there waiting for me…’


Use pictures or photographs to get students writing: students have to describe the picture and then imagine a story set in that particular place or connected with the picture.


Ask students to structure a story in a particular genre, e.g. horror, Western, sci-fi.


Write about an unusual happening in a very familiar place, e.g. a murder, aliens land, someone goes missing, two opposites fall in love.


Ask students to start a notebook in which they take notes about the world around them and then use those notes to shape a story or poem.

Learn more




About @wonderfrancis

Francis Gilbert is a Lecturer in Education at Goldsmiths, University of London, teaching on the PGCE Secondary English programme. He also teaches the Creative Writing module on the MA in Children’s Literature, which is run by Maggie Pitfield and Professor Michael Rosen. Previously, he worked for a quarter of a century in various English state schools teaching English and Media Studies to 11-18 year olds. He has, at times, moonlighted as a journalist, novelist and social commentator. He is the author of ‘Teacher On The Run’, ‘Yob Nation’, ‘Parent Power’, ‘Working The System -- How To Get The Very Best State Education for Your Child’, and a novel about school, ‘The Last Day Of Term’. His first book, ‘I'm A Teacher, Get Me Out Of Here’ was a big hit, becoming a bestseller and being serialised on Radio 4. In his role as an English teacher, he has taught many classic texts over the years and has developed a great many resources to assist readers with understanding, appreciating and responding to them both analytically and creatively. This led him to set up his own small publishing company FGI Publishing (fgipublishing.com) which has published his study guides as well as a number of books by other authors, including Roger Titcombe’s ‘Learning Matters’ and anthology of creative writing 'The Gold Room'. He is the co-founder, with Melissa Benn and Fiona Millar, of The Local Schools Network, www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk, a blog that celebrates non-selective state schools, and has his own website, www.francisgilbert.co.uk. He has appeared numerous times on radio and TV, including Newsnight, the Today Programme, Woman’s Hour and the Russell Brand Show. In June 2015, he was awarded a PhD in Creative Writing and Education by Goldsmiths.
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