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Lesson Plan by Lauren Martin M.Ed.

Writing Prompts and Story Starters

Pixton Lesson Plan on Writing Prompts and Story Starters

Make creative writing come to life with comics!

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Featured Layouts

When students complete the activities in this lesson plan, they will use the following comic layout types.

  • Mind Map
  • Comic Strip
  • Storyboard
  • Plot Diagram
  • Character Map

Featured Props

Writing Prompts and Story Starters

Student creations come alive with these themed objects – in addition to our library of over 3,000 props!

  • Compass
  • Desk
  • Dog
  • Light
  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Plane
  • Ship
  • Wand
  • Water
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Teacher Guide

Writing Prompts and Story Starters

Step 1Class discussion with students

Getting Started

Many students with Dyslexia and learning disabilities have IEPs and 504 plans with accommodations, including the mandated use of graphic organizers. Storyboards are an effective way to engage students in graphic organizers for writing activities. Teachers can provide students with dyslexia or reading disabilities with a partially completed graphic organizer before they begin writing. Teachers can also have students fill in their own graphic organizer as a way to jumpstart or organize the writing process.

Opening Discussion

Discuss the following types of stories and main characters, giving examples of each and brainstorming ways students can write their own:

  • Memoir
  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Creative Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Mystery
  • Allegory
  • Fable
  • Tragedy
  • Comedy
  • History
  • Epic Journey
  • Hero's Journey
  • Types of Heroes: Classical, Tragic, Epic, Everyman and Anti-Hero
Step 2Pixton comic-making activities
  • Make a Mind Map
    Creative Nonfiction & Memoir

    Complete after class discussion.

    View Activity
  • Make a Comic Strip
    Hero's Journey

    Complete after class discussion.

    View Activity
  • Make a Storyboard
    Create Your Own Drama

    Complete after class discussion.

    View Activity
  • Extension / Modification
    Plot Diagram (Extension / Modification)

    Create a Plot Diagram to illustrate the plot of your creative story or memoir.

  • Extension / Modification
    Character Map (Extension / Modification)

    Brainstorm the protagonist or antagonist of your story using a Character Map.

  • Extension / Modification
    Storyboard (Extension / Modification)

    Brainstorm the setting and/or several imagery-heavy scenes using a Storyboard.

Step 3Concluding discussion with students

Discuss the following:

  • How does having specific writing prompts make it easier to write a creative story than having a broad or general focus?
  • What was the most difficult part of writing your story?
  • What was your favorite part of writing your story?
  • Are you inspired to write more stories or creative writing pieces after this project? Why or why not?
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Pixton Activity: Writing Prompts and Story Starters 1 Creative Nonfiction & Memoir

Featured Layouts

  • Mind Map


Write a creative nonfiction story about yourself, someone you know personally or someone from history or current events. Instead of writing a research report about a historical figure or informative essay about your life, make your nonfiction story or memoir engaging and creative by framing yourself or your historical figure as an "everyman" hero. Review the characteristic of the everyman hero, draft your hero and then write your story centered around this hero and their heroic traits and actions!

  • Ordinary person: The audience can relate to the normal strengths and weaknesses of this character.
  • Extraordinary circumstances: The ordinary protagonist is pushed into a situation that requires their heroic action.
  • Heroic Action: The hero's sense of human understanding and compassion drives their heroic action.
  • Stands up for beliefs: The hero stands up for what is right, staying committed to upholding values in the face of adversity.

Read some of the following memoir prompts to jumpstart your memoir writing?

  • What is your earliest (youngest) memory? What are your five earliest memories?
  • What is your biggest adventure, most exciting activity or most unexpected experience?
  • What is your favorite holiday or vacation memory?
  • What experience taught you the most about yourself, the world or another culture?
  • What is the most challenging thing you've ever done or something you worked really hard to achieve?


Create a Mind Map to draft yourself or your chosen historical figure as the "everyman" hero of your creative nonfiction story or memoir:

  • Identify the characteristic in the panel title.
  • Write a detailed description of each of the everyman hero's characteristics.
  • Include the traits and actions that make you or your character the hero of your story.
  • Include an appropriate illustration for each panel.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

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Pixton Activity: Writing Prompts and Story Starters 2 Hero's Journey

Featured Layouts

  • Comic Strip


The twelve steps of the hero's journey are:

  1. Ordinary Life: Typical life with some level of tension, dissatisfaction or indecision.
  2. Call to Action: Hero faces pressure to step outside of his comfort zone.
  3. Refusal of the Call: Hero ignores the call to action due to fear of the unknown.
  4. Meeting the Mentor: Hero is helped by wise mentor or finds wisdom from within.
  5. Crossing the Threshold: Hero follows the call to action outside of comfort zone.
  6. Tests, Enemies, Allies: Hero encounters enemies and allies.
  7. Approach: Hero and allies prepare to conquer the major challenge ahead.
  8. Ordeal: Hero confronts death or fear, and is reborn anew.
  9. Reward: Hero is rewarded, but the reward is not secure.
  10. The Road Back: Hero completes the adventure and attempts to return home.
  11. Resurrection: Hero's final sacrifice, death and rebirth, on a more profound level.
  12. Return with Elixir: Hero returns home transformed and able to transform the world.


Write your own hero's journey Comic Strip starring themselves or another protagonist they invented.

  • Include at least twelve panels
  • Include dialogue that illustrates the step of the hero's journey.
  • Include an appropriate illustration for each panel.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Example Comic Strip

Create your Own Hero's Journey by Student
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Pixton Activity: Writing Prompts and Story Starters 3 Create Your Own Drama

Featured Layouts

  • Storyboard


Elements of Shakespearean Tragedy:

  1. Tragic Hero: A hero of noble birth has a fatal flaw or error that leads to his downfall.
  2. Anagnorisis: The moment when the hero makes an important discovery.
  3. Catharsis: The audience's feelings of pity and fear.
  4. Hamartia: The hero's flaw that leads to his tragic downfall.
  5. Hubris: A hero's extreme pride and disrespect for the natural order of the world.
  6. Nemesis: The unavoidable fate of the hero, usually caused by his own hubris.
  7. Peripeteia: The hero's experience of a reversal of fate or fortune.

Elements of Shakespearean Comedy:

  1. Humorous language
  2. Unexpected plot twists
  3. Mistaken identities
  4. Obstacles to love
  5. Festive gatherings or celebrations
  6. Elements of a History

Elements of Shakespearean History:

  • Allusions to historical events (Current events during Shakespeare's lifetime)
  • Characters are British historical figures
  • Propaganda
  • Plot and character embellishment


Students will create their own "Shakespearean" tragedy, history or comedy, illustrating each element of the tragedy, comedy or history in each panel of a Storyboard:

  • Identify the element in the panel title.
  • Write a detailed description of the drama as it relates to one of the elements.
  • Include an appropriate illustration for each panel.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

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