Having trouble getting your students to want to write stories for you creative writing classes?

I remember when I was in school.  There was always that dreaded assignment about writing a story.  When you ask the teacher about what to write, she would comment... "Anything that you like!". 

The problem was... there were so many ideas that I couldn't just pick one. Whatever I picked seemed lame or trite or had already been done.  Now, if my teacher had handed me a set of cards with some pictures on them, it would have been a lot easier. That's what the ShadowMyths Decks are for.

The images (my paintings) tell enough of a story to give you an idea about what's going on but not enough to tell you the entire story. This is a great way for your students to start getting a basic outline of their story so that they can focus on telling it rather than coming up with the initial idea.  

Your students can focus on the writing and being true to themselves.  This leads to more honest and interesting stories.

How do you use the ShadowMyths Deck?


So, start out by giving each student one to five cards (depending on how long you want their stories).  They can lay the cards down in different order and write their story.  Maybe you can start a session where five different students get the same cards. Then, when they are done, they have to give the next card to a different student and the next student has to build up on the story that was already started.  From the cards that you see above, here's the story that my mind brought up:

It was a late and hot day and I really didn't feel like working in the tavern. My parents were driving me crazy and I just had to get away from them. Get away from the noise and the yelling.  As I sat there, Jonathan saw me and stopped by to chat.  He showed me his latest acquisition... the soul gem of a young wizard name Marak.  According to Jonathan, this wizard was in the middle of some dark magic and he knew that the gem would be valuable.  I really liked Jonathan but I was never sure if his stories were true or not.  I knew that he had a light touch and would regularly grab things that weren't his but I never considered him crazy enough to steal from a wizard.  As he tells the story, next thing that he knew, she had turned around and noticed him there with the jewel.  She stops her casting and sends her "pets" after him.  He said that he had never run so fast in his life.  He was able to escape and, after a while, realized no-one was coming to look for him.  As he was laughing about how he outsmarted the wizard, I got the uneasy feeling someone was watching up from the shadows.  I had this bad feeling that the day was not going to be a good one.

Now, this quick little paragraph was pretty easy to come up with.  Can you imagine what type of stories that your students could come up with?

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