I reviewed Janet Burroway's Imaginative Writing in a previous post. Today I posted 5 journal entry topics from that book which have proven to be evocative with my classes:
1. Write a short story on a postcard. (Write small.) Make sure it has a conflict, a crisis, and a resolution. Send it to a friend in another place (meaning you have published it), or to yourself (when it arrives you will be able to see it fresh).
2. Write a scene from the point of view of a young character in a setting that is uncomfortable, threatening, dangerous, or fearful. Create the sense of conflict with the surroundings through at least three senses. Use elements of weather, time of day, and time of year as well as place.
3. Pain is notoriously difficult to describe. Describe a pain you remember, in images of all five senses--its size, shape, location, color, smell, sound, taste. Then find a few quick metaphors for it--perhaps suggested by these concrete details.
4. Tell your life story in three incidents involving hair.
5. Villains are most effective when they are also being charming, convincing, touching, or otherwise not being villainous. Write a speech for an unsympathetic character that makes us for the moment sympathetic.