In this project area, 4-H members will understand multiple writing genres and work on the development of themes, plot, character, and more.

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Exploring 4-H

Exploring 4-H Creative Writing

Spark Activity: Writing Prompts

Short writing prompts are an excellent way to get ideas flowing, especially if you’re experiencing writer’s block. The following are just a few ideas to get you started. In 100 years, people will open a time capsule you created. What items did you put inside it and why?

Write a short 1-2 paragraph story in which you have to use at least four unrelated items somewhere within the story. (For example: Lunch Tray, Headphones, Owl, 4 Leaf Clover); and/or...

Write a short 1-2 paragraph story in which you speak from the perspective of another person, telling your story with future generations.

Normally, you would title your chapters last, but try creating a fun title first, then begin writing. For example: your story’s first chapter is entitled, “The Ground Gave Way”. Write what happens next!

4-H Project Levels and Goals
  • Define the terms genre, perspective, story arc, and character
  • Learn about different genres of creative writing
  • Experiment with different writing prompts
  • Create simple story arcs
  • Basic character descriptions
  • Write in first person perspective
  • Start a writing portfolio
  • Explore writing through different perspectives (First/Second/Third Person)
  • Write in different genres (poetry, non-fiction, fiction, scripts, etc.)
  • Experiment with different sentence structures and lengths
  • Create and maintain a daily writing journal/diary
  • Identify your writer’s voice
  • Have a strong command of grammar
  • Refine editing process
  • Organize master portfolio
Put Your Project Into Action

Show Your Skills

  • Exhibit your work at your local 4-H Show
  • Submit something to a creative writing contest
  • Publish a poem in your town paper/ youth poetry venue
  • Develop a script for a youth-led community play

Service and Leadership

  • Choose your favorite genre in which to write and share your writing with nursing home residents
  • Host an open mic night for your peers and/or community members
  • Research and publish a story highlighting a local veteran
  • Serve as the 4-H reporter or historian and document the significant events of your club and community


  • Submit a story to a publishing company
  • Begin a writing blog
  • Start an editing service

Technology Connection

  • Start an online writing blog
  • Facebook groups geared for writers 
  • Online writing labs
  • Connecting with a Mentor
  • Connect with a school English teacher
  • Reach out to university or community college writing faculty/ writing lab
  • Local authors / poets
  • Community theater directors/ script writers
  • Local library


  • 4-H writing workshops
  • Local and state 4-H exhibit opportunities
  • Local writing contests
  • Local newspaper’s community column
woman at work writing notes in a journal
  • Teacher
  • Editor
  • Poet
  • Librarian
  • Novelist
  • Script
  • Writer
  • Copywriter
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations
  • Communications
  • Specialist
Start a Conversation
  • What kinds of books spark your interest?
  • What don’t you like to read? Why?
  • What makes you turn the page while reading?
  • Who is your favorite author and why?
  • What about their writing style do you like?
  • What ideas, or what in your environment, inspires you?
  • If you had the opportunity to tell one story to the world, what would it be?
  • How would you tell it?

Credits: Iowa State University Extension 4-H Hot Sheet

“The Writer in You” 4-H Manual

Alcha Corban, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development

Reid Young, Extension Program Coordinator

Samantha Klumb, Extension Office Support Assistant

Sara Attig, Extension Program Coordinator, 4-H Youth Development

Afiwa Tete, Extension Program Coordinator, 4-H Youth Development