A funny writing activity about writing a short story

There are many free short stories on the Internet. www.classicshorts.com is one of them, featuring dozens of classic short stories. Here are four favourites. Watch out! They often have a dark twist at the end:

Classroom Activity

In this activity, students can write a chain story about any given themes, e.g. pirates, pizza or both!

It is a good way to introduce the key features of a short story: characters, setting, plot, ending and meaning of the story.

  1. Give each student a sheet of paper. Tell them to fold the paper into eight, from top to bottom. It will look like eight strips.

  2. Put students into groups of eight. They should sit in a circle or around a few desks.

  3. Students write ‘This __________ story is set in…’ They fill in the place. Remind them to write clearly.

  4. They fold the paper backwards so that they cannot see their writing. Pass it to the person on their right. That person MUST NOT read the first line.

  5. The next sentence is about the weather. 'It was...' After writing, they fold and pass the paper again. This happens each time from now on.

  6. Write a woman’s name then ‘met’ next.
    e.g. Hilary Clinton met…

  7. The next person writes the name of a man.
    e.g. Johnny Depp.

  8. Next, is ‘She said to him, “…’

  9. Then, ‘He replied, “...’

  10. Next, ‘At the end…’ Students think of the ending.

  11. Finally, ‘We learnt that…’

  12. Students pass the paper again. Everyone gives out the paper. Each student should read out their story. Hopefully, there will be some funny tales.

  13. Each group can choose the funniest story and one which is closest to a pirate story. These stories can be shared with the whole class.

Here is an example:

  1. This pirate story is set in Mong Kok.
  2. It was snowing.
  3. Hilary Clinton met
  4. Johnny Depp.
  5. She said to him, 'I’m hungry.'
  6. He replied, 'Okay so let’s dance!'
  7. At the end, they hijacked an ice cream van.
  8. We learnt that men are strange.

This activity can be a good start to writing a short story. Students can think
about what to change to make the story believable. It helps students realise that stories need characters and a plot. It is good for students to think about the ending while planning. This stops them from ending with ‘Then I woke up!’