One of the most effective ways to light the fire of imagination is with an intriguing writing prompt. In COW, we provide a bank of over 150 prompts (with even more on the way). You’ll notice that our prompts always leave off in mid-sentence. Experience has shown us that by asking the writer to complete the sentence, this often gets the flow of writing and ideas going more effectively.
Another form of prompt is the visual prompt. (Otherwise know as a picture!) Although visual prompts are currently not featured in COW, we’d like to periodically feature a visual prompt on our blog that writers can use for inspiration.
For teachers, just project or display the image for the entire class. As a pre-writing activity, have a discussion about the picture to get some ideas circulating.
What events or circumstances lead up to this picture?
What do you think might happen following this picture?
What characters are not shown in this picture but are important to the story?
What sort of problem could exist in this picture?
When did this occur? Distant past? Present day? Distant future?
How does your perception of this picture change if you know the story behind it is a fairy tale? Science fiction? A mystery?
It’s really helpful to leave the image up during the writing session so that students can look back and re-examine the picture for further ideas.
Maybe the old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” but a really good visual prompt can be the spark for so much more.