Teach English Writing Skills: Creative Stories

Learn Creative Writing

Writing Skills: idea, organisation and sentence fluency

Where does the door lead? Do you enter? What happens next? These are the essential questions that ESL students will tackle in this creative writing assignment.


This English writing exercise has two learning objectives. The first is to write a thoughtful, compelling and well-organised creative story based on a picture prompt.

The second objective is to demonstrate a specific writing skill by incorporating a few complex sentences into the story.

Step 1 Introduction

Explain creative writing. It’s making a story. Like any good story there is an element of cohesion. That means there is a beginning, middle and end. Something happens.

For this writing exercise the students will be given a picture prompt. The purpose of the prompt is to stimulate creative ideas.

Step 2 Review Complex Sentences

The value of this lesson can be maximised by building on previous learning. I have designed this lesson so that it provides students with an opportunity to incorporate complex sentences into the text.

Be sure to run through this lesson on complex sentences before starting the creative writing assignment.

Step 3 Introduce Prompt

Students will write a creative story using one image of a door. Doors are great prompts because they suggest mystery, something unknown, a journey.

Before starting the written portion of this assignment, it might be a good idea to let students read a sample or two from this website (go to the page and then click on the pdf links in the fourth paragraph).

The student story on page 3 (Mystical Door) consists mostly of complex sentences.

The student story on page 12 (Doorway to Heaven) has a great structure but seems incomplete.

Step 4 Doors

This file contains a number of door images. Review images of doors with class. Brainstorm some initial thoughts with each picture: what thoughts come to mind?

After the review, ask students to select one image and write a story.

Remind students they incorporate a few complex sentences into their text during the first draft or during the editing stage.


Students should be able to produce 1 to 2 pages of text.

Additional Resources

This lesson builds on previous learning. Specifically, students should be able to write complex sentences and write a story with a unique voice.

Teach writing?

Get the ebook Teach Essential Writing Skills. Transform the quality of EFL student writing by focusing on four essential skills. Click here for details about the ebook that should be part of every writing teacher’s resource library.


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This writing activity and the student writing samples linked above based on a mini lesson by Barb Mahnesmith.

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