Category Archives: Prompts

Kids’ responses to fun writing prompts

This past weekend, the Loft and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts hosted a fun event for all of the Combo Classes we’ve held this summer. In Combo Classes, students start the day upstairs at the Loft, working on their creative writing, then go downstairs to MCBA to create book art. This year, for the first time ever, students had the unique and exciting opportunity to display their book art in the gallery here at Open Book. We held a reception to celebrate.

Visit the Loft’s Facebook page for pictures of the reception.

For a fun activity at the reception, we handed out writing prompts. A few student artists were brave enough to share what they came up with.

By Isak D., age 9

By Andrew K., age 8

By Daniel B., age 10

Also by Daniel B., age 10

Many thanks to We adapted the prompts slightly from their Daily Themes.





Cinquain by Shamli M., age 9


Want to write a cinquain of your own? Click here to see how challenging it is!

Today in Spying on the City

A group of Spying on the City students crossing the Stone Arch Bridge.

Today I tagged along with a class called “Spying on the City.” The students had a really fun assignment: an I Spy game with categories like ” person who doesn’t match their dog” and “someone who just got dumped.” We walked from the Loft past the Guthrie and over the Stone Arch Bridge to St. Anthony Main, people-watching and eavesdropping the whole way.

It’s a great way to generate stories. On the walk back, the students wove an elaborate tale about one of the people they saw: a rock star-looking dude they caught walking his poofy pomeranian into the doggy day spa.

So if you’re in Minneapolis this week, beware! You never know when a Loft student will overhear you and steal your quote for a story–or observe you and make something up about you.

So…What’s your type?

One of the highlights of my job is that I get to spend time in our classes for young writers. I had a blast today in Personality Matters: Using Myers-Briggs Typology to Write Realistic Characters. If you’re not familiar with Myers-Briggs, there’s a basic quiz you can take for free here and find out more about what it means here.

Today we talked about the 3rd of the 4 indicators, which affects how you make decisions: thinking versus feeling. We started with a brief quiz (a fun one!) to evaluate whether we’re thinkers or feelers. Thinkers and feelers approach problems differently, which is an important thing to consider when you write characters. You can make dialogue interesting, tense, and realistic just by considering how two different personality types play off each other.

Can you think of someone whose personality is the precise opposite of yours, or someone who just sees a problem completely differently? Try writing some dialogue that highlights those differences. Will your characters find a solution? Or will they just keep butting heads?

Summer resolution: write, write, write.

Everyone knows that practice makes perfect–or if not perfect, then at least a lot better. It’s as true for writing as it is for anything else. One of the best ways to improve your writing is to keep writing, at least a little bit, all the time. So if you love to write, what better way to spend the summer?

I’m a big fan of the folks at Figment. If you’re not familiar, Figment is an online community for teen and young adult writers to share their work and get feedback. If you want some more practice and feedback before you try to publish formally, it’s a great step. (Especially because they offer contests.)

But one of the greatest resources that Figment offers is a daily theme, that is, a daily e-mail with a writing prompt.

Some of the prompts are serious, like these:

May 14: Write about the final time you did something that you have since sworn never to do again.

May 8: Write a scene in which a person moves languorously, performing each action slowly, lethargically, close to the point of stillness. The cause for this languor can be positive or negative, but let the pace and quality of those movements inform the energy and direction of your story.

Other are not so serious:

June 8: Photo prompt: Write a poem or story inspired by the scenario in this photograph.

Because the themes vary so widely in focus, from character to setting to dialogue to the absurd, they’re bound to encourage you to focus on something you’ve never tried. You’re sure to write something you’ll love and want to share.

Have you made a resolution to spend summer writing? Need some help getting started? Click here to sign up for Figment’s daily theme.