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Get Creative in Middle School With a Scary Short Story Writing Lesson

written by: Kellie Hayden • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 1/17/2012

This creative writing lesson plan for Middle School will focus on scary stories. Try to keep them focused on setting, good plot twists, suspense and the use of surprise in the ending. Assess the stories using a rubric.

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    Middle School Students Will Love Writing Scary Stories

    Follow these steps to direct students to write a scary short story.

    Bring Together Your Ideas

    Step 1 -- Select stories to read to the students. Some ideas for stories are on the Monster Librarian website. This website is great because it lists at least 37 scary storybooks and gives summaries and reviews.

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    Setting the Mood

    Step 2 -- Set the mood in the classroom to read the short stories to the class. Put the students in a circle, like around a campfire. Use a flashlight or small lamp to read the stories.

    Step 3 -- Turn the lights back on and discuss what elements of the plot made the stories scary, creepy or suspenseful.

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    Elements of a Scary Story

    Step 4 -- Discuss elements of a scary story with students:

    • Suspense: feelings of excitement or anxiety when the reader tries to figure out the outcome or ending
    • Plot twists: a change in plot that takes the story in a different direction than expected
    • Conflict: how the characters solve the problem
    • Setting: time and location where the story takes place (scary stories choose creepy ones)
    • Surprise endings: the ending or resolution is not what the reader expected

    Step 5 -- Share rubric to assess short story final drafts. Criteria for rubric could include writing process, solution to conflict, use of suspense, spelling and punctuation, creativity, use of plot twists, etc.

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    Set the Setting

    Step 6 -- Give students a list of settings to get them started writing. Ask students to write a draft of a scary short story. Students can choose their own settings if they have ideas. Remind students to focus on suspense or plot twists and not gore.

    Example settings:

    • in own bedroom when the electricity goes out on a stormy night
    • on a dirt road in a car that will not start at twilight
    • in the middle of a cornfield
    • on a boat in the middle of a rushing river with no paddle
    • in an unfamiliar dark alley
    • in an airport in an unfamiliar city
    • in a car with the fuel light on empty in an unfamiliar part of town
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    Write the Story

    Step 7 -- Once written, students share scary stories in groups of three. Place students in small circles for peer editing. Ask each person to read his or her story. Each in the small group should give a positive comment about the story and one comment to help improve the story. If students are not used to working in small groups or giving peer evaluations, this should be modeled.

    Step 8 -- Students will write a final copy of their stories. Students can share their final copies with the entire class. The class can vote on the best ones. Candy or treats can be awarded. All stories will be assessed using the rubric given to the students earlier.