Write a story collaboratively. I recently did this with my group for Halloween and it was a great success! One week before Halloween, we decided to write a ghost story collectively by opening a Google Doc and making a list of who would start the story, who would go second, third, etc. We each could write as much or as little as we wanted, but we had to make sure we all got it done by Halloween.
First Line Prompts. Basically, someone generates the first line for a story, like “It was a dark and stormy night.”, and everybody in the group writes a story including that first line.
Last Line Prompts. Like the first line prompt activity, someone generates a possible last line of a story, such as “She never went into that house ever again.”, and everybody in the group includes that line at the end of their story.
Weekly Draw: Poetry, Short Story, or Screenplay? Each person randomly selects (virtually) which type of writing they will pursue that week. Will they try their hand at a poem, a short story, or the first few pages of a screenplay?
Picture Prompts. Each person selects a picture from a random collection provided by the initiator and writes a story, movie, or a poem using the picture as their topic.
Collective submission for recent calls for stories. Each person writes and submits something to the same publisher’s call for writing. This activity gives members of the group practice submitting their work for publication.
Story-sharing. The initiator can set aside some time at the beginning or conclusion of the meeting where members can each share something they are writing or books they are currently reading. This is a good opportunity for people to get feedback for their writing as well as receive book recommendations to help inspire future writing. Reading is, after all, one of the best ways to become better writers (and vice versa).
Poetry Workshop: each person reads some poetry and then writes a free verse, haiku, sonnet, limerick, or a villanelle. This could be a good opportunity for those who are not very familiar with different forms/structures of poetry to learn different ways of writing it.
NaNoWriMo Workshop. This month a few members of my group are trying to write a certain amount a day so that their stories can be finished by the end of November. So far, we are communicating by giving feedback on their work via Google Doc comments and messaging. While this is a good opportunity for members to write, set deadlines, and strive to meet them, it’s also nice for those who are not necessarily in the mood to write to read others’ work and practice their editing skills.
Storyboarding. While this is ideal for helping screenwriters, who may use sticky notes with different scenes scribbled on them, find out where to put certain scenes in their film, this can work for stories as well. What comes first? Should the story start at the end? Or should it be told linearly?
A-Z Story. I did this once in a creative writing undergrad class. We were invited to tell a story starting each sentence with the next word in the alphabet. It was pretty instrumental in helping me to find different words to tell a story and it actually helped me to do what I was not very good at: finishing a story.
POV Activity. Tell a well-known tale from the point of view of a character other than the protagonist. For example: the view of the Prince in Sleeping Beauty, through the eyes of Voldemort from Harry Potter, the inner monologue of Jane from Pride and Prejudice, etc.
Tense & Narration Switch Up. Give everybody the same prompt, but they each need to write it in a different tense (past, present, or future). This would also be fun if each person writes it from a different type of narration (such as first person, second person, or third person).
Write a version of a popular story/fairytale in a different genre. For example, what if Snow White was a princess in a dystopian society? What if the tale of Dracula was a historical fiction story set during WWII?
For more ideas, visit the teacher resources page for Purdue’s website here.