As a writer I know that deep down each of us has stories worth telling. The writing prompts offered here will help you find your own special voice. Read them, let your mind wander freely and listen carefully to the voice within. Then begin writing. Don’t be afraid. Just write what you want to say. Amaze yourself!...

Using Great First Lines from Literature to Create Your Own Story

Kim Stafford, a writer-poet who also is founding director of the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College in Oregon, wrote a wonderful essay for Teachers & Writers Magazine in which he suggests that writers searching for writing ideas consider using the first line of their favorite book or poem as a way to start their writing.  Let the first line of a favorite book stimulate your imagination to create your own story.

He gives these first lines as some examples:

.”I read about it in the paper, in the subway, on my way to work.” (This first line came from ”’Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin.)

.”There was a woman who was beautiful, who started with all the advantages, yet she had no luck.” (This first line is from ”The Rocking Horse Winner” by D.H. Lawrence.)

.”The grandmother didn’t want to go to Florida.” (This first line came from ”A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Conner.)

Stafford offers a stimulating idea to help us in our search for things to consider writing about.  Why not try it out, starting with one of your favorite first lines from a novel or poem?

Using the Words ”I Remember…” to Capture A Memory

Joe Brainard, a poet, wrote a book about his life titled ”I Remember” in which he started each sentence with the phrase, ”I remember…” and then wrote a sentence or two about a memory.

Examples are: “I remember ‘Love Me Tender” and “I remember ‘Payday’ candy bars and eating the peanuts off first then eating the center part”  and “I remember ‘Spam.”’  The words, ”I remember” are a way of searching in our memories to see some of the things that make up our lives and history.

Why not use the ”I remember” prompt to highlight some of the things you remember in your life — they can be light things, important things, surprising things that tell about your own life and interests.   Write one or two ”I remember” sentences each day to see if you can develop a book about your own life of memories.

If you wish, you can create a comic strip at where you choose a character to represent you and talk about the things you remember in his or her comic strip.

Create An Autobiographical Comic Strip with MakeBeliefsComix

At the beginning of each new school term have your students use to create autobiographical comic strips talking about themselves and their families or summarizing important things about their lives to help a teacher or fellow student learn more about them.

Let each student select a cartoon character as a surrogate to represent her- or himself. In their comic they can talk about their dreams, their goals, a happy or sad memory, and about their family members. What are they most proud of?

Or, let the comic character they choose to represent them talk about their favorite music or book or author. What new thing did they learn or do this summer? Which new friend did they make? What new idea came into their head? Those students who are immigrants might want to talk about where they came from and about their families; they can talk about the opportunities and problems of being in the United States.

After students complete their comic strips, print them out and encourage them to exchange their comics with classmates so they can learn more about each other. You may want to place these on the class bulletin board.

These autobiographical comic strips can even become the opening pages of a daily comix diary that students can be encouraged to keep throughout the school year. See Take Our Daily Comix Diary Challenge! at

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