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Writing Prompts 101 – Part 2: How to Use Standard Prompts

Writing Prompts 101

Part 2: How to Use Standard Prompts

Writing Prompts 101 - Help Kids Write HQ
Peanuts by Charles M. Shulz

What Is a Standard Writing Prompt?

Today I want to show you standard writing prompts. These can be as simple as a word, a phrase, a sentence or a paragraph. They help you create ideas about what to write. In the last post, I said that a writing prompt can be anything that gets you thinking and imagining something. We looked at photo or picture prompts and how to use them. It was pretty easy. We just ask ourselves questions about the photo and then answer them using our imaginations.

How to Use a Standard Writing Prompt

In the cartoon above, we see that Snoopy likes to start a story with the words, “It was a dark and stormy night.” If you think about it, that sentence is already part of a story. How? We have to ask ourselves questions and answer them. Let’s try it.


Where is it a dark and stormy night?

Let’s say it’s a dark and stormy night in my home town.


What time of the year is it? Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter?

Let’s say Fall.


When does this story take place? Hundreds of years ago, this year or many years into the future?

I’m going to say this year.


Is the story taking place outside in the storm or inside a warm house?

It takes place outside in the storm.


Who do you see? What is happening?  What is going to happen?

I see an old man and a little girl. They are both wet and cold. They need something to eat and a place to stay for the night.


Who are they? Why are they walking in a storm? Where will they stay? Will they find something to eat? Will people be kind to them?

Again, you can see how much fun this is. You can try this using just one word which is a lot easier because you can do almost anything with one word. Try it. Write down the word “horse” at the top of a piece of paper and then start asking yourself questions like we did here. Where is the horse? What is it doing? What is its name? What color is it? And so on until you have enough to start a story or poem, or whatever else you want to write.

More Standard Writing Prompts on the Web

To find more than one hundred and fifty standard word prompts, you can look at this Pinterest board.

Here are some other websites with standard word prompts you can use:

The Teacher’s Corner

 Daily Teaching Tools

Scholastic Story Starters (this one is pretty fun)

Journal Buddies

In my next post, I’ll be showing you how to use musical writing prompts. These are my favorite prompts yet.

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