Innovative Literacy - Call to Adventure - Steps of the Hero - How to Write a Novel With Prompts

Teaching Students To Write A  Novel With Prompts

Many people want to know how to write their own story but don’t know how to start. As a teacher, your students can write a novel with prompts to create their own novel. Actually, the students would be writing a novelette. A novelette is usually around 7,500 to 17,500 words. A few students might write a novella, which is usually between 17,500 to 40,000 words.

While students could write a novelette completely on their own, I would suggest providing the students with an outline and plot already created for the students to use instead. This gives the students to opportunity to write more than they would otherwise do on their own.

Teachers can’t expect students to know how to do something without providing support or modeling. Providing the students with scaffolding enables them to complete the assignment. 

Plot To Write A Novel With Prompts

The plot of the story for the novel writing prompts centers around a magical mirror that gives the hero some type of power. It begins when a substitute teacher brings a mirror to the fall festival at school on her last day. The students are wearing Halloween costumes when they look into the mirror.

The next day, they find out that they have some type of magical power. Unfortunately, one of their friends was cursed by the mirror instead. Whatever they saw when they looked in the mirror is what happened. If they were dressed as a witch, they might gain the powers of a witch. If they gazed into the mirror and noticed how short they looked, they might start getting shorter and shorter each day.

The friends try to find the substitute teacher and the mirror to break the curse. Other students from their school also received powers, and don’t want to lose them. These students try to stop the hero and the hero’s friends from getting to the mirror. Eventually, the hero is able to break the curse on the student.

How to Use the Novel Writing Prompts

The students will complete the book by writing about various writing prompts. There are sixty writing prompts with guidance for each prompt. After completing the story, the students will then edit the writing they have done. After revising the story, the students can publish their writing.

Motivating The Students

Motivation is one of the biggest obstacles to getting students to write. One way to motivate students is to create something meaningful. Another way to do this is to do something the students have never done before, such as writing a novel. This might also motivate students financially. After all, they might be able to turn the book they write into money, whether by selling the novel or by entering it into a contest to win a prize.

The students must be aware of the importance of completing the tasks on time since they will only be given a limited time period for each assignment. This ensures that the students know there will be high expectations in the classroom. Also, one assignment will lead to the next, meaning that the students can’t afford to not pay attention or do the assigned work.

Incentives For Students

Letting the students know that their novel will be published and placed in the school library can serve several functions. If the students know their novel will be placed in the library, finished or unfinished, they might be more willing to complete the work. They also might be more willing to put more effort into the novel as well.

The students can even prepare query letters to agents and publishers as well as submit their stories to contests. If these aren’t motivation or incentive enough, there are many more ideas a teacher can try. For example, they can incorporate art and special effects to make themselves a superhero

Why Use the Magic Mirror Novel Writing Prompts

What makes writing the story more accessible is the fact that students have heard a lot of stories in the past. Many students enjoy telling stories. They just don’t know how to sustain an individual piece of writing over an extended period of time.

After learning how to write a novel, they will be engaged in a meaningful project with real-world applications to prepare themselves for a future in writing. Editing the prompts is just as important as actually completing the prompts.

Each student is also learning a valuable skill. They are shown real-life ways in which they can use what they are learning. Often, the students will ask, “Why do I have to learn this?” While they might not want to be a writer when they graduate, there are a variety of careers where knowing how to write a novel will be useful for the students.

Challenges To Write A Novel With Prompts

There will definitely be challenges to finishing the year. While some students will be excited about learning how to write a novel with prompts, other students will only complete the assignments for the grade. The students will need a lot of encouragement and reminders that there is a timetable. Emphasizing that even adult writers have to finish assignments on time might be beneficial as well. That might remind students that they are doing something adults might do for a career.

While in an ideal world, the teacher might want all the students to complete the entire novel in the month of November since that is when NaNoWriMo is in, instead expect the students to complete a large chunk of the novel. They will then try to complete the novel in December. The students could still claim their NaNoWriMo prizes because of their word count, but they would also have time to complete the novel as well.


If you would like to see a video of a local news station interviewing some of my middle school students who completed the Magic Mirror writing project, please visit ArkansasMatters.Com.


To motivate the students, I wrote a novella using the Magic Mirror prompts as well. Please consider purchasing a copy so I can continue buying copies of my students’ books to give to their parents. You can find my book on Amazon Kindle.