quaranTEEN voices ‘Small Details’ Writing Prompt


April 13, 2020


For this week’s quaranTEEN voices, special guest author, Jacqueline Woodson, joins us to help write and revise our stories through the prompts below! Woodson is an author of more than two dozen award-winning books, such as Brown Girl Dreaming and If You Come Softly.

From Jacqueline Woodson:

Some of our best writing comes out of what we know and remember. The tiny details of our every day make our words both specific and universal. The two writing prompts below will help you get to the ‘small things’. Think of a chain—each small moment is a link that creates something longer, connected and lasting.

Prompt 1:
Write a letter to either a family member or a friend anywhere in the world. What do you want to tell them? (Ex: Do you have exciting news to share? Do you want to give them movie recommendations?) What do you want to know from them? (Ex: Did something significant happen in their life? Do you want the recipe for their famous cookies?) Do you want to remind them of a positive memory the two of you share? Remember to add small details about what you see and notice. You can decide to send this letter or keep it for yourself.

Prompt 2:
Think about your favorite place. It could be a place you used to go to as a child, a place where you are now, or a place only in your imagination. Make a list of details about that place. What do you see there? What does it smell like? What sounds do you hear? List as many things as you can. Then, imagine a character in that place and write a scene set there. What is the character doing? Are they with another person or alone? Use a few details from your list to tell your story.

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter HERE to receive weekly prompts and other virtual youth writing opportunities right to your inbox! On Wednesday we’ll send out a few ideas to help you revise your pieces. Sign up to talk to Jacqueline Woodson and share your writing with other quaranTEEN’s on Friday HERE!