Bob Boone

January 2010

First sentences - Write a short, short story (beginning. middle and end) that begins with one of these sentences:    

  • Horace had a real problem with wart hogs
  • Mrs. Felix wasn't so sure what to make of the kid with big ears.
  • I thought the coast was clear, but now I wasn't so sure.
  • College changed my bother in ways we had never imagined.
  • I am a spy, but not the kind of spy you are imagining.

Describe these places:   

  • Lonely mall
  • Sinister classroom
  • Welcoming classroom
  • Bizarre Bazaar
  • Groovy Library
Write this as if you were a tour director. ("On your right...on your left ... step over here and take a look at....)

Imagine that you are:

  • walking next to Columbus taking your first steps in the new world
  • getting shot from a cannon at a small-town circus
  • escaping from an island prison
  • preparing to deliver your State of the Union speech
  • climbing the highest mountain in Antarctica
Write a letter to your best friend describing one of these experiences.

Rants. Pretend you're one of these people and angrily tell someone just how you feel. You are a:

  • teacher who just caught favorite student cheating
  • coach who just found out his star player has quit the team
  • businessman who wife just ran off with a spy
  • spy whose wife ran off with a businessman
  • parent whose daughter has just joined a cult

Write a letter describing one of these exciting moments:

  • You have just decided to leave your job as a forest ranger and try to make it as an actor.
  • You're a cop who has just cracked the biggest case of his life.
  • You just learned that you have an identical twin living in Tulsa.
  • You have been given a chance to make a lot of money by performing a risky task.

Write a story for children that relies heavily on one of these word trios.

  • anger, ant, attic
  • daring, doughnut, department store
  • fright, foghorn, Finland
  • cunning, crow, carnival
  • pride, pigs, palace

Write a children's story that "proves" one of these morals.

  • Life is fair.
  • Life is not always fair.
  • Loyalty has its limits.
  • We often learn too late.
  • People will surprise you.

Write some true stories with these titles:

  • "A Coincidence"
  • "Not My Day"
  • "Never Again"
  • "Not your Usual Classroom"
  • "Surprise"
Write this in the first person, present tense.

More true stories - Describe:

  • your third grade teacher
  • your first best friend
  • an employer
  • coach
  • neighbor

Write a short story that ends with this sentence:

  • "Now what?" Ruby whispered.
  • Life for Uncle Herbie would never be the same.
  • "Shut up...shut up...shut up," Gaylord whispered to himself.
  • Clancy got ready for the fight of his life.
  • When Wilber entered the room, I got up to leave.

Tell the story that led to this headline:


Ask students to change a story you have just read. Here are a few possibilities:

  • Change the point of view.
  • Change the setting.
  • Rewrite the first few paragraphs as a children's story.
  • Remove a paragraph and then explain how the story has been damaged.

Email your advice to

Read Bob's Previous Writing Ideas Columns:

  • December, 2010
  • November, 2010
  • October, 2010
  • September, 2010
  • June, 2010
  • November, 2009
  • September, 2009
  • August, 2009
  • July, 2009
  • May, 2009
  • April, 2009
  • March, 2009
  • February, 2009
  • December, 2008
  • September, 2008
  • August, 2008
  • July, 2008
  • June, 2008
  • May, 2008
  • April, 2008
  • March, 2008
  • February, 2008
  • January, 2008
  • December, 2007

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