And here are some writing prompts I use with my students. They also make good conversations starters if things get dull at parties!
Writing Your Own Stories:
– write about someone or something you loved with all your heart at age 10 – or 16, 38, 67.
– tell about a time you moved from one place to another. What did you miss? What did you like/dislike about the new place?
– write about a trip you took. Did it meet, or fail to meet your expectation?
– is there something you wanted but never got? What filled that space?
– write about your jobs in the order you held them, and how you learned what you needed to know.
Tell about your best birthday gift.
Who was your favorite relative when you were 10 years old?
What would you ask your grandmother if you could?
Tell about a family food or meal that you either like or dislike.
What is the most significant weather event you can remember?
Tell about the worst haircut you ever had.
Who was your best friend as a child?
What’s the naughtiest thing you did as a child?
What amazes you most about the year 2014?
Who was your favorite teacher?
What do you remember about learning to swim or ride a bike?
How old were you when you left home? Where did you go?
Tell about your ideal Sunday afternoon.
What skill do you wish you had learned better?
Did you have siblings or cousins to play with?
Story Starters for Writing About Family Members:
It’s OKAY – more than okay – to start with questions. That may be all you really have. Consider any documentation you have about a particular person – diaries, letters, photos, charts, notes. What’s missing? What would you ask that person if you could? What do you wonder about? Know that it’s also okay if you can’t find answers. Just asking the questions connects your life to theirs, and connects their story to your story.
Try to imagine your relative in the year 2014 — what would be most surprising to him or her? Why do you think so?
Did the person emigrate from another country? Another city or state? Why? What did they miss about their old home? What did they like and dislike about their new home?
Who left for, came home from or stayed home from a war? What did this mean to family members?
Think of an object you associate with this person, and describe it in detail. What does it say about the person?
What was their first job? Their last? What happened in between and why?
How old were they when they left home? Where did they go? Why?
Tell about a vacation or trip they took.
Tell about a family food or meal that you either like or dislike. What do you know about the family members who started this food tradition?
Who in your family tells the funniest jokes?
What did an ideal Sunday afternoon look like?