Essay writing is a skill that helps students become more aware and expressive. They learn to follow directions, use their imaginations, formulate narratives and understand the power of words. Expressing their imaginations through different types of essays helps students become more creative and confident. Writing factual essays helps build powers of analysis, observation and discussion. Imaginative essays builds students' skills of storytelling and presentation -- they learn to experiment with styles and become more efficient with words.

The Leading Line

The leading line presents an image that can excite the imagination of the writer into thinking of a complete experience or context to place the image in. For example, "I woke up in the dark to the sound of footsteps outside my bedroom door." This line leads to a situation that develops a scene or a narrative where the writer imagines the outcome. The essay can be narrative (like a story) or descriptive (describing a scene), but the use of imagination in the creation of sounds, visual details and evoking sensations and feelings will make it imaginative writing.

What-If Essays

This type of an essay topic invites the writer to imagine a situation that may or may not be possible, rational or realistic. For example: "What if aliens invade the Earth?" or "What if I win a lottery?" In such essays, the writer imagines himself in the situation or context that is presented by the title and writes an imaginative piece detailing the effects or consequences of that experience.

The Single Image

In these essays, the writer has to first imaginatively interpret the title itself and then think of a situation or story for the essay. For example, a single image includes "colors" or "the door" or "the box." With these flash images, the writer first develops an idea or context -- either descriptive or narrative -- and then uses her imagination to provide details in the essay. It is up to the writer to give as wild or unexpected a context as she wants -- imagination is free.


These are topics or titles that invite an imaginative interpretation, analysis and description, not a strictly factual one. For example, "time travel" or "the world in a hundred years" -- some aspect of future, theoretical or hypothetical life that can lead to an imaginative story or description. The purpose here is to take known facts and mix them with fiction that is created purely out of the imagination. The result is an imaginative essay.