Saturday, October 29, 2011

Creative Writing Resources

As a tutor, and writer, I have compiled a rather lengthy list of writing resources.  I want to share a few of my favorites.  These include reading materials, lesson plans, and sometimes a few extras...  I have used these with my creative writing classes, with tutoring students, and my own son.

For materials specific to poetry, please see this post.

For my creative writing assignment, The Autobiography of a Place, please see this post.

And, on to some fun online resources...

First up, Letters About Literature... Letters About Literature pairs a love of reading with some creative writing, specifically creative writing in the form of a letter to an author.  The program asks the student, or writer, to reflect on their reading history and what books or characters have had the biggest impact on them as readers.  Then, the student writes a letter to the author (living or dead), and sends it to the organization (not to the author).  The Letters About Literature program is actually a contest, and it looks like the winner gets a grant which is awarded to the library of their choice.  The winners also have their letters published on the site.

My only gripe is that letters written to living authors don't get forwarded to those authors.  So, if you want your letter going to the author, keep a copy and send it to the author or the book publisher for the author (most authors have websites these days with fan mail addresses, or "contact the author" type links...).  However...some of the authors find out about the letters through various means, and sometimes write back! 
Letters About Literature has a great lesson plan and teacher resources

There have been loads of books written in the form of letters back and forth between a child and author, but my favorite is a classic:

My second resource for you is the Poe Museum teacher resource page.  Of course, the Poe of this museum is the one and only Edgar Allan Poe!  When I posted this resource on my personal Facebook page (please don't send me a friend request unless I know you already), one friend called Poe a genius, and another called him a lunatic mad-man.  I think his stories and poems are a bit of both...  To receive an Educator's Activity Packet, click here and fill out the form...the packet will be sent you via email (it was about a week before I got an email back).

I got all excited posting about Poe...I was going to suggest that you visit Edgar's Cafe if you are ever in New York City, but apparently the place has closed. :(  Sigh...well, the sandwiches were only average, and the coffee not very good, but the desserts were well worth the visit!  And, the interior decor was fantastic...inspired entirely by Edgar Allan Poe's writing.  A photo from our one and only visit...

My third resource is This I Believe.  If you listen to NPR, or certain other public radio stations, you may have heard some of the essays from This I Believe.  The program began as a radio show in the 1950's, and was hosted by Edward R. Murrow.  It has since morphed into a much larger program that includes radio broadcasts, online content, and more.  This I Believe also has put together an educator's packet (four levels available) filled with step-by-step lesson plans.  I used parts of the high school curriculum with a 9th grade creative writing class last year, and it was by far one of their favorite projects. 

My fourth, and final resource today, is a website from textbook publisher Holt Rhinehart Winston.  I found this while looking for creative writing resources, and reading passages, for 9th graders.  The page includes reading selections from all genres, and from many time periods.  Most reading selections also have associated lesson plans and writing assignment ideas.

And, I leave you with a writing assignment...write a short story or poem about the little doggy in this picture.  I spotted him in a window while walking around the Upper West Side in Manhattan. Notice the details of his teeth, ears, tail, the bulging eye.  What is he looking at? Is he happy? Angry? On guard?  Is there any significance to his colors or the materials (he appeared to be made of aluminum and old packaging)?  Why is he in the window? What else is going on inside?


  1. I have no idea why I like Edgar Allan Poe so much, since I hate horror. I think the stories were just well-written. Thank you for the link. I bookmarked it.

  2. Poe's words draw me in with a magnetism, and his rich word usage is like a creamy chocolate. LOL


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