2023 Creative Writing Class. . . Student Responses to In-Class Prompts

The End of the Day

You know that feeling where everything is just right? You can’t imagine a better moment. This is the moment. The sky is somehow purple, pink, orange, blue, and yellow at the same time. The black road is glistening in what’s left of the sun. It rained about two hours ago, and everything has this natural shimmer to it from the rain. Picket fences line the sides of the road and have bright green trees behind them. I can’t believe my surroundings look like this; I feel like I shouldn’t be here. I’m running as fast as I ever have. I know not everyone would be able to keep up. But, regardless, I keep sprinting further and further down the picture of perfection. We don’t get moments like this in our lives. These are the ones that make us appreciate what we have and help us realize that we must live life to the fullest, or we’ll miss the times like this. When we’re in an instant of absolute peacefulness, let it be peaceful.. I needed this moment, and I wasn’t going to stop. My stresses, fears, and worries were draining away with every second on this road. 

Some call this hour of life an “it” moment. It was a rush of energy, and I couldn’t let go and return back to my reality of the rush of life. I neared the end, but I didn’t slow down. I was grateful that the sky remained bright. I just kept running. I’ll admit, I was scared of where I was running to, but it seemed even scarier to stop. 

We have to accept when good things are over, though. We have to wait for the next good thing to come. So, as the sky’s colors turned darker and darker, I slowed down until I came to a complete stop. I looked 

around me one last time, took a deep breath, and accepted the peace. I know this is the true moment people are afraid of. The truth is, we choose how to spend these last few moments. I didn’t cry; I didn’t even give a thought about it. I smiled, and just closed my eyes. 

The sky is now completely dark. Hopefully, I’ll be able to light it up tomorrow.–Mia Miller


Picture Prompt: Students were shown a picture of an older couple gazing out a big glass window and told to write a story.  What’s going on?  Who are they?  What are they seeing?

Ron and Amber Smith are walking to their flight gate, fully prepared to leave the cold weather behind. It was a dark, cloudy, and gloomy morning. The sun had yet to hit the horizon, and the terminal was silent. The silence was eerie coming from such a large airport located a mile south of a major city. They hear a panicked voice on the intercom as they walk to the gate. 

“Attention all passengers and staff, there’s an emergency approaching our airport. I repeat, there is an emergency approaching the airport,” the voice said in a panic. 

Ron and Connie directed themselves toward the window that overlooked the runway. They looked around the skies and saw nothing. As they went to turn back to their gate, they saw a dark plane approaching the runway at a significantly faster speed. The right engine was on fire, and the landing gear was barely intact.

Ron and Amber went cold, and their bodies went stiff as they prepared to watch the plane hit the runway. It was approaching quickly as countless ambulances and fire trucks rushed towards the runway. The aircraft started to pull up as if the pilot was giving it one last chance. The Smiths looked with awe as the plane began to slow down. It was all up to the pilot and all he had to land this destroyed plane. The aircraft was feet from the ground, and the Smiths began to get anxious. It struck the ground hard, and millions of sparks flew everywhere. It had no brakes, no parachute, and all it could do was slide on the empty runway. It seemed as if all was lost as the large aircraft caught fire. Miraculously, the plane stopped with feet left to spare on the runway, and the fire trucks blew away the blaze. The Smiths sighed with relief knowing everyone was safe from what could have been tragic.–Jayden Smits


Famous Short Story Prompt:  You don’t know me, but you could. A lot of it’s ordinary–so ordinary you could pass me by and never know what’s happened to me–and what I’ve done because of what’s happened. 

Everyone thinks I’m outgoing and always happy and smiling. No one knows everything I’ve been through since I was little. I don’t let anyone see my insecurities. No one knows the mental agony that I’ve been going through daily. They just see someone struggling to be perfect in every single way. The mental talk I say to myself regularly is to try and be the best. No one hears the millions of thoughts I’ve got running through my head, wondering if people would be nicer to me if they knew my struggles. I don’t always want to talk so much or answer every question that teachers or other kids have, but I can’t always stop myself. No one knows me, but they could if they would take a little time to understand me. –Matthew Stein


Write a short story (at least a 100 words) that includes these three words:  summer, giraffe, tombstone.  Every sentence MUST be in Active Voice–no passive voice allowed. 

Walk of Life 

Tendaji turned the corner and looked down the long red dirt road. In the heat of the afternoon summer sun, he knew that he would have to hurry home before the sun went down. Tendaji started walking, with his slim leather bookbag caked in the red dust that covered just about everything around his shoulder, allowing his mind to wander. He thought about what his mother was cooking on the fire, hopefully, some matoke a Ugandan staple that he just never got tired of. He thought of his father who should just be pulling his fishing boat onto the shore. Hopefully, it was a good day for the fish and his father would have enough to sell and a few left over to take home. He thought of his grandmother who lived in the room across from him. Nowadays, She only leaves her room to go to the bathroom and to come to eat. Tendaji wondered what she had thought about in her hot room all day. Probably praying. She had recently converted to the religion Christianity and tried to get him to pray with her often. 

“Tenten! Come pray with your Grandma, come sit in God’s grace,” She would yell from behind her door in her booming soulful voice. Tendaji often did go to pray with his grandmother, but usually, his mind wandered to other things, just like now. Tendaji giggled to himself reflecting as the town cemetery came into view up ahead just as the sun was starting to set, turning the sky a bold orange with a hint of purple. Tendaji used to not like the cemetery, he used to be scared of death. Tendaji had feared death. He wanted to live forever. As he walked past the lonely tombstones of people he had never met, he thought of what his grandmother had said about death. It was late at night and his parents were away visiting friends in the neighboring village so it was just him and his grandmother in their small house. When Tendaji was little he used to get nightmares and on this particular night, he had a nightmare that he died. After explaining to his grandmother about his treacherous dream, his grandmother pulled him in tight and sat in her rocking chair that pointed towards the window.

“You see Tenten, death is not the end, if we pray and love God he will help us to another life, my religion calls it heaven but it is known by many names. The heaven that I believe in is perfect. The land is always plentiful and green. Just like our ancient ancestors, we coexist with wildlife, giraffes speak, elephants laugh, and the children play in the long grass with lions.” Tendaji’s grandma whispered, covered in the darkness of night, the only source of light being the stars up in the night sky. 

“What about our family, how will they know that we are coming?” Tendaji asked sleepily. 

“Look up young one, see all those stars, our family is hiding right behind them, waiting to take our hand up into the sky so we can join them among the talking giraffes, laughing elephants, and playful lions.” She whispered slowly, rocking back and forth.

“Are you going to heaven Grandma?” asked Tendaji as he closed his eyes. 

“As long as my fingers stretch long enough to grab the hands of the ones that came before me. Now rest dear child.” whispered grandma chuckling to herself as Tendaji slipped into sleep in her arms. 

Tendaji is older now, but every day he passes the cemetery he thinks of his grandmother, who will always be waiting for him in her hot room in the house, or one day reaching down from the stars beckoning him to come to listen to the giraffes speak, laugh with the elephants, and play with the lions.  –Ethan Wall-Atim


Prompt:  Using DVD (Description, strong Verbs, and Dialogue), make the telling statement come alive:  The class was boring.

“Why does school always have to be so dull?” I questioned myself through a whisper. 

It was just another Monday afternoon at the prison we call ‘school.’ It’s been another sluggish day that goes on repeat for five days a week, ten months out of the year, that starts as early as five years old until you are twenty-two. I was sitting in Mr. Lagerman’s theology class as he lectured for what seemed like years. He was talking about the story of Cain and Abel when my eyes started to wander. The wandering quickly began to turn my eyelids heavy, and the next thing I knew I was dead asleep. Mr. Lagerman knew right away as I felt his heavy footsteps nearing my desk. His presence was definitely felt, but I felt too sluggish and heavy to get my head up in time. He firmly knocked on the desk three times, and I prepared myself for the embarrassment coming my way. 

“Excuse me, Mr. Broekman,” Lagerman shouted loudly. 

I never liked hearing those words, and for some reason it never sat right even though it was my name. My head shot up like a bullet, and I looked around quickly. As I looked around, I saw the whole class turned over, looking at me, some turned and snickered, and others just stared. 

“What makes you think you get to sleep in my class?” Lagerman questioned firmly. 

“I….I don’t know,” I muttered softly.

I really didn’t know, and school has always been hard for me. I looked down on my desk as more students began to stare. I hoped looking down would shield me from the embarrassment, but it only made me feel more embarrassed. 

“Why don’t you go down to the office and tell them what happened, Mr. Broekman,” Lagerman said disappointingly.  –Cael Broekman