How to Run Your Writers’ Group: Meeting 1: Story Prompts
Congratulations on running your first writers’ group! Whether you’re leading school students, young adults, community members or nursing home residents, these activities are flexible enough to suit most people.
1. Meet and greet
Ask everyone to introduce themselves and provide some background about their writing experience. Most groups contain beginners, people with a few pieces to their name and veteran writers who want to mentor others.
Get everyone’s contact details (email, phone numbers) and keep a centralised list. Group emails are an easy way to keep in touch since not everyone’s on Facebook or other Social Media and you can’t assume that everyone has a computer or internet. For those without, make sure you call them with any important news or cancellation of meetings, etc.
Also, a note of caution: Don’t give every member a copy of these details! Some groups attract lonely or desperate people who harass or intimidate others. While this is sad, and inclusivity vital, the wellbeing and privacy of all members should be your top priority.
3. Story prompts
Read out these story prompts and give people ten minutes to write about whatever comes to mind. Give people warning (e.g., One minute left) and then say pens down. Ask for volunteers to read their stories (don’t force anyone) and allow members to provide encouragement and feedback. Questions to ask might include: What happens next? How would your character feel about this? Do they have a secret? What’s the scenery like?
Story Prompt 1
Write a story with the title: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
Story Prompt 2
A young woman is camping deep in the bush. Inside her tent, there is a torch, some dehydrated food, water bottles, clothes, a sleeping bag, a prosthetic nose and a couple of wigs. What is her story?
Story Prompt 3
Write a story containing the words scrutiny, stowaway, deceit, forest and yacht.
If members would like some homework, here’s another prompt:
You’ve made a new friend at the local dog park. You both have Leonbergers, which is pretty rare. While you’re completing the circuit one day, they start mining you for information. Who are they really?
Creative Writing Competitions 2023
2023 Bristol Short Story Prize is Open (bristolprize.co.uk)
Furious Fiction | Australian Writers’ Centre (writerscentre.com.au)
If you would like more creative writing prompts, check out my book Creative Writing: 50 Story Prompts on Teachers Pay Teachers.