Assignment #3 Web Based Activity

Lesson #1 from a Unit on Exploring and Evaluating Unique Ideas (Creative Writing or Writing Unit in High School English)

Lesson #1: Preparation — Laying the ground work for finding original ideas.

Learning Outcome: Transform ideas and information to create original texts. (from BC’s New Curriculum Creative Writing)
Content: Metacognitive Strategies

Students will develop personal creative strategies, and metacognitive skills for exploring creative ideas.

Pre-Lesson Questions: Can creativity be taught? Where can you find good ideas?

Overview: So you want to write a unique and interesting piece of writing? It all starts with a seed idea. From opinion pieces (essays), to short stories, to screenplays and novels, it all starts with an unstructured idea that then gets worked and re-worked into a final and complete work.

Let’s see how various published authors speak about their seed ideas:

Gish Jen: “It’s not like you have one flash and the whole story appears.”

Marie Arana: “It was a feeling first.”

Micheal Cunningham: “I always start with a character.”

E.L. Doctorow: “Many of my stories and books come out of an image in my mind that I find evocative.”

(Burns 2008)

Read them again.  Not one is like the other.  They have all found their personal creative process.  And now you will take a step in discovering yours.

The Creative Process

Even though each writer has their unique creative process they all share some common steps.  Graham Wallas unpacked the creative process into 4 steps he calls The Model of the Four Stages of Creativity

  1. Preparation:  The individual takes the conscious first step of preparing the mind to think creatively.
  2. Incubation: The subconscious and unconscious needs time to work through the problem.
  3. Illumination: The conscious self gets insight into the new possibilities of the idea.
  4. Verification: Testing the idea and perfecting it.

This week we will be working in the first stage Preparation.


For the next week you will be “sowing the seeds” for future stories.  Explore the strategies and techniques that work for you.  Adopt them or discard them as you wish, but the main thing is that you, the writer, asks the question, “Does this work for me?”  A utilitarian approach is best for writing, because there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to creativity.

Seed Ideas

I’m not looking (and neither should you) for plot points and summaries.  A short 2-3 words, up to a sentence seed idea is enough.  Just something that captures the idea.  We will be expanding on it in future lessons.


Party animal gets serious when he falls in love.

The End of the World Defense Team 

Dead people talking from their graves

The toddler who knew everything

You don’t have to commit to any of these ideas, so take it easy on yourself, don’t judge, and just list out ideas that interest you or evoke emotion.  Remember we are preparing and “sowing the seeds” for our unconscious mind to work out some of these ideas.


  1. Create a list of story ideas to work with.Generate a list of 5 possible story ideas from EACH of the SIX Story Source Strategies below.   It’s better to work with one Story Source Strategy per day then to cram all six Story Source Strategies into one massive creative session.  By the end you should have around 30 story ideas.
  2. After you’ve assembled your list of 30 story ideas, write a blog entry discussing which Story Source Strategy worked best for you?  Worst?   And any other creative breakthroughs you experienced while working with these strategies.  If you’d like share your favourite story idea with the class.


Select 6 of the following strategies or come up with your own.

  1. Explore your own life. What’s the most interesting, hilarious, scary thing that has happened to you. Could you write about it?Type “interesting story” in Google and follow any links that peak your curiosity
  2. Explore pictures in Flickr’s Galleries.  Does any visual images evoke some ideas?
  3. Explore Random Story Generators like The Brainstormer 2.0  to randomly land on story ideas.
  4. Dream Exploration.  Make your list as soon as you wake up and are in half sleep state.  Or check out iDream app part journal part dream interpreter.
  5. Listen to your favourite band.  What story ideas come from their songs?
  6. Watch movie trailers on YouTube.  Could you use them as a springboard for your own story?
  7. Talk to somebody you trust.  Is there a story they’ve wanted to read but never found?  Are there ideas you can come up with together?
  8. Flip through Print Media: Newspapers, Magazines, Books.  Anything jump out at you?
  9. Look through old photographs or census reports at the library.  Are there any untold stories buried in them?



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