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High-Interest Writing Activities
for Reluctant Writers

At some point, most of us experience the challenge of getting our children to write creatively. Here are several high-interest writing ideas to use as exercises to stimulate their imagination.

1. Have a child who will read anything you put in front of them but completely balks when it comes to writing?

Have them read at least two novels or short story collections. Study the mechanics of the plot and characterization as well as the author’s style. Keep a file or box of ideas, pictures, quotes, words, phrases, lyrics, or slogans you come across that you like. Add to it at least once a week for a month.

2. “My son loves science and science fiction, but he’d rather get ‘spaced’ than write.” Try this.

Write a science fiction story projecting what life would be like in the future. Create your own world with its own set of rules and unique characters. You can illustrate your story with diagrams of new inventions, clothing from the future, etc.

3. “My children are history buffs! They’ll watch old movies, the History Channel, read history books, make projects for history, etc. … but trying to get them to write is like the Battle of Little Bighorn all over again.” What about …

Write a historically based fiction story. To do so, first learn about the time in history you plan to cover in your setting. Who were the famous people? What were the important events and politics of that time? What was daily life like for the average citizen? Many writers of historical fiction use real people and events in their stories to some degree. You can illustrate your story if you like as well.

4. “My child is very artistic. She loves dancing and singing, she’s highly imaginative and has a great vocabulary; but, trying to get her to write turns her into a real drama queen!” Here’s a creative outlet for the budding artist …

Try writing poetry. Learn three different poetic styles, and write at least three poems in any style you like: light verse, haiku, free verse, ballad, blank verse, sonnet, limerick. Express your feelings in your poetry, or put what you see into words.

5. And speaking of drama … “My child is a real character. I never know what he is going to be next. He may come flying down the hall with a towel tied around his neck playing a super hero; or, our porch may become the Jolly Roger and he becomes ‘Purple Beard’ complete with the marker all over his face to prove it. But when it is time to start writing … he becomes the ‘Invisible Boy.’”

For all you actors and actresses in the making why not write a short play?! Your play can be serious or humorous, melodramatic or light hearted. First, create a plot for your story. What lesson will the main character learn? How will they learn it? What secondary characters will support or attack your main character? Remember, a play depends largely on dialogue, so write it carefully. Include stage directions and ideas for scenery and backdrops. Another way to write a play is to adapt a story book or other story that you know. You could even adapt a real life event into a play.

Here’s some other ideas to explore to reach your reluctant writers:

All writers have their favorite writing tools. Some like to write with pencils on legal pads, some prefer fountain pens and unlined journals, while others need a computer keyboard to compose and organize their thoughts. Try three or four different techniques. Which one do you think works best for you and why?

There are lots of different writing, editing, and publishing software programs. Look through catalogs, visit computer stores, etc. to find out about several different ones. Which one would you pick to use? Why? If you have the opportunity, compose a piece of writing using one of these programs.

How about writing a television show?! Watch a couple of different shows to see the techniques they used. Create storyboards of each scene to help you complete your script.

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