One of the greatest challenges we face in getting students (or anyone) to write more is tackling the question: “What should I write about?” Hopefully this site, Muse, from Archetype Writing will help answer that, both in your classroom, and in your own personal writing.
Taking its name from the muses of mythology – the goddesses of artistic inspiration – Muse seeks to help provide that inspiration for writing by offering four different areas (or muses) to prompt creativity and get everyone writing. All of these are excellent tools for both long-term creative writing assignments in any class, or as part of a shorter journal type warm-up writing assignment.
Story Starters – Three random generators are available that will give students ideas for their writing:
- Plot Scenarios provides an event to start the story, and for longer writing, a second conflict to add depth.
- Character Generator gives a short character sketch with a character’s gender, key strengths and weaknesses and most prized possession. It’s up to you to expand on these brief descriptions or determine how that character will interact with the world you create.
- Everyday Problems Generator sets up scenarios for characters that could be taken from the “real world”. This is great for anyone who is afraid his or her characters and story doesn’t feel “real”.
Visual Prompts – since art means very different things to different people, Muse has partnered with DeviantArt to link ambiguous images to help spur creative ideas. These images run the gamut or art, and are all safe for school (always double check though!) Project these images in the beginning of class and have students write a timed response on the image, or have them build a full story around one image as a longer assignment. You can also click on each image in Muse to be taken to the larger version in DeviantArt if you like.
Two other sections in Muse are Writer’s Block and Madness. Writer’s Block provides links and tips that explain the psychology of writer’s block and how to hopefully avoid it and how to get back on track if you encounter it. This is particularly useful to those students and writers who are working on longer, more detailed creative writing projects. The Madness section is an interesting collection of articles that helps explain the connection between mental illness and creativity, both in writing and through other media.
Give any or all of these generators and tips a try with your classes to help spark their creativity. Find out which work best for your projects and hopefully soon you will have a plethora of happy, creative writers on your hands!