Posts Tagged ‘writing prompts’

How to Write: What Can Elephant Caregivers Teach You About Creative Writing?

“I really want to go to the Wild Animal Park right now. They have a lot of baby elephants and I want to photograph them before they get bigger. Then I will be able to draw them from my pictures,” my artist sister’s eyes danced and her voice filled with excitement in anticipation of gaining a treasured photo opportunity. So we packed a lunch and headed off for an adventurous day in the Wild Animal Park in San Diego. We timed our arrival at 11:30 a.m. when they let the elephants out to feed them.

Sure enough there were the mamas and babies in the enclosure. The crowd gathered and while my sister snapped away with her camera, the guide started to educate us about the elephants. He shared, “Elephants need to be happy or they won’t live. We do our best to enrich their environment with ponds, rocks, grass and sand.  We choose things to resemble what they would have in the wild. We also vary their food and the way we give them their food. We don’t just put it out there in the middle of their pen every day because that would be boring, kind of like having peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day.

The keepers have the opportunity to think of creative ways to give them their food. They keep them entertained by creating puzzles for them to get their food. They will hide it in a hollow log or put it on top of the rocks. They’ll put it on a rope that the elephant has to step on and pull it to them.” The guide gestured over to the arena where the elephants stood.

He continued on, “We also vary what we give them like hay, alfalfa, or Bermuda grass. They’ll chop food and hide it in the hay. Sometimes they bring a watermelon or pumpkin and let them crush it and eat it for a treat.”

Suddenly my brain began to spin with the analogies to creative writing.

5 ideas to apply these techniques to creative writing:

  • Keep your readers intrigued by varying the kind of information you give them.
  • Change the way you give them the same information so they see and understand it in a new light.
  • Hide treats of word pictures, analogies and metaphors in your writing to reward your readers for digging a little into your writing.
  • Create puzzles. Walk them through a maze in a novel or story until they find the reward for reading what you wrote.
  • Surprise them with a new twist in the way you say something.

Try these writing tips. You will increase your writing skills and help you learn how to write well.

Learn from the elephant caregivers and make this a fun creative writing challenge. Use these ideas as writing prompts. You will have more fun and your readers will too!

What do you think? What ideas do you have to make things interesting for your readers?