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Wednesday Writing Prompt: Six-Word Scary Stories by Rochelle Melander

In September, I wrote about my work with Dream Keepers and the six-word memoir. This month, we’ve been back at the library writing six-word scary stories. Here’s how it works.

We began by creating a chart with three columns: setting, character, situation. The students brainstorm ideas for the chart, which I fill in. Here’s what it looks like:

Then, the kids write paragraph-long scary stories—using elements from the chart or their own amazing imaginations. Once the students write their paragraphs, we work together at shaping them into six juicy words.

Six-year-old Keantae’s story started out like this: “I am in bed and I turn around and it was a ghost.” Great start, huh? (I wish you could have heard him tell it aloud. Even I jumped.)

After some conversation, I discovered that the scariest part of the story was still in Keantae’s head: after the ghost came in and scared him, he opened his mouth to scream. At that very moment, the ghost flew into his body. Yikes. So Keantae’s story became: “Open my mouth. Ghost flies in.”

But wait, there’s more! Once the students write their six-word scary story, they write and illustrate their story on an index card. Here are some of the other scary stories written by the students:

Ghost said, “I’m taking your soul.” –Marvell

Zombie sucked the monsters’ blood. Delicious! –Noor

Monsters hunt people. People fight back. –Nhiy

Fight the dead. Fear the living. –Giovanna

Bloody masks stick to people forever! –Jazmyne

NaNo! Yikes! So it’s Halloween—but for most of us writers, the scariest time of the year is still ahead of us: National Novel Writing Month. Take these two ideas from today’s post and use them during NaNoWriMo.

1. When you are stuck, try writing your scene in six juicy words. It will help you get to the essence of the scene’s conflict and emotional movement.

2. Make your own setting, character, and situation chart and mine it for ideas (or just close your eyes and point. You’ll no doubt land on the perfect idea.).

Your turn: Write your own six word scary story and post it here. Or, let us know how you’ll use these tools for NaNo!

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