I sat down with my class of students. I was teaching them English, specifically creative writing. They were a low ability class who struggled significantly with their writing. I decided to trial my newly invented method. By the end of the lesson, I was left amazed by the work that they had produced!
As an English teacher, I have taught creative writing to a vast amount of students. I have trialed many methods, but I have found one that has managed to engage and motivate a variety of students to create an effective piece of writing.
The oldest rule in the book in regards to creative writing is to write about something you know. I am sure many of you heard of this rule when you were in school and believe me they are still teaching it today!
I remember being taught this old rule at university and being instructed to use it in my future classes. So being the new and enthusiastic teacher I tried this method only to be met with negativity and poor writing from my students. It was then that I realized that there was gap in this method.
I had to show them what part of their life to use in their creative writing!
So I developed the Senses Method:
Imagine creative writing as an umbrella and underneath this umbrella are the five senses:
These senses are the structure for you creative writing. When you don’t know what to write about then use your senses!
IMPORTANT NOTES TO REMEMBER WHEN YOU USE THIS METHOD:
- This method can be used by anyone to improve their creative writing, including students, teachers and keen writers.
- Whilst this method is aimed at beginners it can still be used by intermediate and advanced writers who are suffering from some sort of mental blockage.
- Noun – is a person, place or thing. Example: Mum, Australia, desk.
- Adjective – is a word that describes a noun. Example: Her beautiful smile made my day.
Senses Method: The Step by Step Guide
Get a piece of lined paper and a pen.
I want you to copy the following information onto your paper. Ensure that you write the number and then copy the words. Where you see the blank space indicated by the line (_____) I want you follow the instructions in the brackets and complete the sentences using your imagination and senses.
DO NOT copy the brackets or the instructions in the brackets! Just read and follow them.
- I walk into my ________________________. (insert the name of a room in your house)
- I can see ______________, ____________________ and _______________________. (insert three nouns you see in your room)
- They look _________________, _________________ and ___________________. (insert three adjectives describing what you see)
- I can hear the sound of ____________________ and ___________________. (insert two nouns that you can hear)
- These sounds make me feel _________________ and ______________________. (insert two adjectives that describe how you feel when you hear these sounds)
- I walk further into my room and smell __________________ and ___________________. (insert two nouns that you smell)
- The smells remind me of ______________________. (insert a noun that the smell reminds you of)
- I breathe in and taste _____________________ on the tip of my tongue. (Insert a noun that you can taste)
- It tastes ___________________ and __________________. (insert two adjectives to describe the taste)
- I continue to walk and I run my finger along ___________________ and over __________________________. (insert two nouns that you can touch in your room)
- They feel _______________________ and _____________________. (insert two adjectives that describe how the nouns feel)
- I keep walking.
- I stop.
- I look out my window.
- I see someone.
- They are ____________________, _______________________ and ___________________. (Insert three adjectives that describe the person you see)
- It is __________________________. (insert the name of the person you see)
Finished that? Good! I want you to now rewrite these sentences properly in the form of a paragraph so it will look something like this below (except there won’t be any blank spaces on yours)
I walk into my ________________________. I can see ______________, ____________________ and _______________________. They look _________________, _________________ and ___________________. I can hear the sound of ____________________ and ___________________. These sounds make me feel _________________ and ______________________. I walk further into my room and smell __________________ and ___________________. The smells remind me of ______________________. I breathe in and taste _____________________ on the tip of my tongue. It tastes ___________________ and __________________. I continue to walk and I run my finger along the/a ___________________ and over the/a __________________________. They feel _______________________ and _____________________. I keep walking. I stop. I look out my window. I see someone. They are ____________________, _______________________ and ___________________. It is __________________________.
Proofread your work ensuring that there are no spelling or grammar mistakes.
After you have finished your writing I promise you will be more than pleasantly surprised. This technique provides a structured reference point for anyone who is struggling with their creative writing. When you don’t have a clue what to write about then use the Senses Method!
I hope you benefit from this method and feel more confident as you continue your writing adventures!