Short Story Writing Workshop Guide: Activities, Prompts, Process, & Resources


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Want to take your writing curriculum to the next level?

In my sixteen years of experience, I have found nothing that gets students excited about improving their skills like a writing workshop.

But if you haven’t ever conducted a successful workshop, it can be such a daunting task. Letting go of the reigns and giving students choice and flexibility to work at their own pace sounds great—but it is also slightly terrifying. What if students aren’t inspired to write? What if they get too rowdy and aren’t working enough? What if they blow off the peer conferences? How do you keep from being inundated with paperwork and grading? What if you end up overwhelmed, wasting everyone’s time, and teaching your students to hate writing even more than they already do?

I’ve gone through it all, and through my many failures and successes, I have figured out multiple practical and simple tools for making writing workshop go smoothly and for helping my students improve their skills. This rigorous, practical guide has been honed over my years of trial and error, and it gives you all you need to bring your students’ writing to the next level.

When you conduct a writing workshop using these resources you will:

  • Help your students through writer’s block with the time-tested methods and strategies.

  • Enjoy challenging your classes to experiment with their writing and explore literary elements on a deeper level when they complete the low-key, no-prep creative writing exercises.

  • Give your students concrete, practical suggestions for revision that will truly improve their writing and show them the importance of the writing process.

  • Get your students working together to improve their writing and learn from one another when they conduct effective peer conferences using the proven methods and handouts.

  • Easily keep track of student progress and knowledge using the process checklist and the practical suggestions and handouts for conducting student teacher conferences.

  • Make sure that you aren’t overwhelmed by the paperwork when you utilize the streamlined processes and suggestions.

  • Connect with your students on a deeper level when they write about their experiences, interests, and passions.

The guides and handouts included in this resource will work for nonfiction personal essays, fictional short stories, and even poetry writing. Of course, the best kind of writing doesn’t easily fit into a box, so getting your students to experiment with autobiographical fiction or true personal stories written in verse is lots of fun.

Students need examples of good writing, so making sure that they have read, analyzed, and discussed mentor texts in whatever genre they’ll be working is key.

Writing workshop can be an exhausting process, but it is so worth the time and effort. When you give your classes the space, time, and scaffolding they need to get creative and the freedom to voice their passions, you will be so pleased with the results.

Total Pages
28 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 Weeks
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.
Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.


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