Creating Story Characters

This year at our co-op, I’m teaching a creative writing course using WriteShop as our curriculum. Ten students in grades 6th – 9th are taking the class, and even though there is a difference in ages and abilities, for the most part, the classes run quite smoothly. The way the lessons are designed, we sometimes end up with extra class time for supplemental writing activities. One of our favorites so far has been “Creating Story Characters.”

What you’ll need:

  • Two large garbage bags
  • Various hats (i.e. chef’s hat, football helmet, pirate’s hat, etc.)
  • Other props (we used a Dr. Seuss book, a cape, a Hannah Montana wig, a pink feathery shawl, a fake beard)
  • 3 x 5 cards
  • envelope
  • pen
  • paper for each student
  • pencil for each student

To prepare, place all of the hats in one of the large garbage bags and all of the props in another.

On each 3 x 5 card, write an emotion. You might include happy, depressed, angry, excited, thrilled, lonely, etc. Place these cards in the envelope.

To play:

Ask for a volunteer to come to the front of the class. Have him choose one item from the “hat” bag and one item from the “prop” bag ┬áby simply reaching in the bags without looking. Whatever props he pulls out, he must put on. Then, have him draw an emotion card from the envelope. He must then act out that emotion.

The other students are to quickly create a character based on what they see. They can include as much detail as they want about the character, such as the character’s name, where he’s from, what his hobbies are, why he’s feeling a certain way, etc.

Students have one minute to write about this character. When time is up, go around the room and have the students share their ideas.

I found that as the game progressed so did the creativity the students displayed! They came up with some great ideas for the wacky characters they saw — ideas I never would have thought of. And I have to admit: we had a lot of fun in the process!

Photo by cohdra

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