Search form

Developing a Fictional Narrative


  • English Language Arts
  • Creative Writing
  • Fiction
  • Narratives



Brief Description

With this creative writing exercise, students use introspection and visioning to create a fictional narrative.


Students will

  • explore narratives in fiction and journalism.
  • use introspection, visioning, creativity and collaboration during the writing process.
  • learn and apply best practices for writing fictional narratives.


Creative writing, creativity, fiction, narrative, brainstorming, visioning, introspection, imagination

Materials Needed

  • Writing utensils
  • Notebooks
  • Internet access
  • Method of projecting videos for all-class viewing
  • Method of electronic collaborative writing

Lesson Plan

Day 1

Use these two videos from TED-Ed to inspire students.

How Fiction Can Change Reality - Jessica Wise (run time 4:29)


Capturing Authentic Narratives - Michele Weldon (run time 3:18)


  • Ask students to summarize the main ideas from the videos (e.g., how fiction influences cultural ideas and attitudes; how journalists capture authentic, compelling narratives that advance human understanding and connection).
  • Have a conversation about similarities and differences between fiction and journalism. Use a Venn diagram to help organize students’ thinking.
  • Discuss some fictional narratives that you’ve read as a class. Also ask students about compelling narratives that have been in the news or have been popular on social media. Ask students to share how they were inspired by the stories all of these sources conveyed. Were they inspired because the works of fiction or journalism touched upon personal truths or experiences (or truths/experiences that have meaning for many people)? What other qualities of the narratives (story arc, details, dialogue, etc.) helped them inspire?

Day 2

Ask students to think about some of their own personal stories. (Offer these ideas as prompts: a childhood event, succeeding or failing at a goal, or a significant life change.)

Then, have them consider how they would, within a fictional context, share their stories. Review what each of the videos taught them about constructing a compelling fictional narrative.

Guide students in generating a list of best practices for constructing a fictional narrative. These sources can help:

Tips on Writing a Narrative Essay
How to Write a Personal Narrative

After the discussion, let students know that they’ll be writing a fictional piece together. Determine as a class what form it will take (essay, story, etc.) and decide upon length and format.

Day 3

Explain that students are going to do a creative brainstorming exercise involving introspection (looking inside oneself) and visioning (using one’s imagination to flesh out details).

Have students to sit in a loose circle, leaving a cushion of space around each. If possible, re-arrange seating to promote student interaction. Another option is using an open area outdoors.

Ask students to sit comfortably and close their eyes. Offer the following prompts:

  1. Think of an empty space.
  2. Think of a single color.
  3. Fill your empty space with a shape of that color.
  4. Build something out of that shape.
  5. Expand the single thing you’ve built into something more. This can be anything, whether it’s a place, person or thing (living or non-living). (Encourage students to place no limits on their imagination.) What happens next with the “something more”? Who or what is involved or affected? What is likely to happen next? How is the experience/story unfolding? Why is it significant?

Now ask each student to write down details about his/her evolving story. What does the experience look, sound, smell, taste and feel like? What are your feelings about it? What are some of the events in the story arc? Have students write for at least 10-15 minutes in a bulleted or mind map style (complete sentences not required). Circulate around the room to ensure that students understand the activity and remain on-task. Then have students share what they wrote in their notebooks and reflect upon the brainstorming experience.

Day 4 and Beyond

Ask students to think of ways to weave together a narrative based on their individual brainstorms. Use voting to narrow down ideas until the story has a manageable scope. Decide as a class: what is the meaning/significance of the experience about which the class will write? Recall the previous discussion about how works of fiction or journalism touch upon personal truths or experiences. Will others be able relate to the experience? Will they find it inspiring?

Spend time together fleshing out the narrative with a setting, characters, vivid details and descriptions, a story arc or sequence of events, and dialogue. Encourage students to use technology to write collaboratively.


With teacher guidance, have students edit, revise and finalize their work. Afterwards, share the final class narrative with others. Publish students’ work online, but also make physical prints for your class and others. A great follow-up to this lesson is asking students to write reviews of the final narrative. They should also include their thoughts on the experiences of introspection, visioning and collaborating with classmates.


Evaluate students in terms of the following:

  • Creativity
  • Teamwork
  • Amount of improvement between first and final drafts
  • Writing quality of final narrative (if possible, use the student-generated list of best practices as a rubric)
  • Optional reflective essay/review

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Jason Papallo, Education World Social Media Editor

Education World®
Copyright © 2014, 2015 Education World