Developing a Creative Writing Club in your Secondary School
Page 2 Spooky Snippets project
A programme of themes and ideas for new or established creative writing clubs.
Designed and produced by Mark Grist as part of the Well Versed Poetry in School project
ThemeThe horror genre runs through this project, although its possible to play with the conventions of horror and mix other genres into the writing. Writing comedy with horror conventions could make for an interesting explorations of what defines a genre and how these characteristics can be subverted.
Programme LengthFrom 6 weeks to one term and culminating in a final event
Final EventA spooky themed event for students/teachers/parents during lunchtime or after school. The event will involve students sharing the scary work that they have developed over the course of the project, as well as teachers reading from scary stories/poems that theyve enjoyed reading or writing themselves.
The event can be as long or as short as you want, and could be opened up to other students maybe even with a scary competition. The best thing to do is to start with a planning meeting to decide on what you would like the final event to look like.
Filming Equipment if you choose to make your own scary film trailers.
Sound effects/lighting/costumes all help create an atmosphere for the final event.
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Suggested activities To fill the event with scary content, you should try to choose 5/6 of the following activities to do during club hours over 5/6 weeks. Or you can extend the project out across an entire term and do them all.
The best of these could then be performed to your guests at the final event.
1. Pupils write a scary story that is no longer than 50 words. The challenge is to see whether they can build suspense in a short space of time. Why not give yourselves a time limit and an agreed first line, before voting on whose you think is the most chilling?
2. Being a monster isnt as easy as some people think! Pupils write a vampire/zombie/werewolf survival guide that could be used by someone if they had been transformed into that creature. Pupils should research their monster and then write a series of tips/tricks for anyone who finds themselves so afflicted. Try to make the guide as appealing as possible, with illustrations and notes to help get your advice across.
3. Read Chapter 5 of Mary Shelleys Frankenstein together and then ask pupils to write the monsters diary for his first day on Earth how would he feel about Victor Frankensteins reaction to him?
4. Pupils imagine they are a ghost and had the chance to leave a letter for someone who has moved into the house that theyre haunting. How would you introduce yourself? What would you say?
5. Read Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 1 as a class and then recreate the scene with three pupils acting as the witches. Consider and discuss where the audience should be and how th scene could be made as chilling as possible.
6. Take the Cliff-Hanger Challenge! Pupils try to write a short story in 100 words that has a cliff-hanger at the end. Then pass the stories around the class and ask pupils to continue working on someone elses story with another 100 words, making sure to lead to another cliff-hanger. How long can the stories keep going?
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7. Find a scary paragraph in the library and ask pupils to write the next paragraph in the story. See who got closest to the actual passage. Was anyones better?
8. Encourage pupils to create a film trailer for a horror film set in your own school.
9. As a group make a display that tries to make the person viewing looking at it decide who is the greatest monster. Suggestions for monsters include Frankenstein Dracula Godzilla Edward Cullen... Or one of your own
10. Research any local legends/monsters that may have been written about. Invite pupils to write modern take on them. How can theses be shared with the rest of the school?
11. Create an anthology of monstrous poetry and illustrations as a group and then see whether you can persuade the English department to make copies with their printer budget (may take a little flattery!).
12. Write spells/potions to solve one of the following: A broken heart A curse for someone that has been mean to you A luck/love potion