Creative Writing 101: Talk Show Interview

March 05, 2015

When I think of creative writing, poetry and short stories are the first things that come to my mind, and probably yours too, but not all students are interested in that type of writing. In my creative writing elective class (which students had not elected to take), I wanted to come up with a creative writing topic that all of my students would be interested in. Since everyone has at least one person they are interested in, whether a famous athlete, musician, etc, I came up with the idea of having students write a script for a talk show interview.

As I thought more about it, I realized this assignment would also require students to engage with nonfiction sources and use their research skills, but because students would be focused on a person of interest, they wouldn't even realize it! Sneaky, sneaky me.

I allowed students to choose any famous person, living or dead. I discouraged students from using someone non-famous, like their grandmother, because that would be more difficult to research in class. Some choices were: Beyonce, Steve Jobs, Kevin Durant, President Barack Obama, Aliyah, and Will Smith.

After students selected a person of interest, I asked them to identify three credible sources of information about their person. As my students were in 10-12th grades, we just did a quick review of what makes a source credible or not. If your students are younger, you may want to spend more time on the topic. Students emailed me the links to their three sources and once I checked them to see if there was enough information and that they were credible sources, students received the okay to begin developing the questions and responses for their talk show.

Once students had an outline of their Q & A, we examined samples of written interviews to properly format our own. We also discussed the idea of dialogue (narrative skill) and making our written interview sound as if two people were actually speaking to each other. Watching clips of a view interviews would help students get the flow.

After students wrote out a rough draft, they typed it up in Google Drive where I could easily make suggestions about revisions.

In my English classroom, I might use a similar project to have students "interview" a favorite poet from our poetry unit or a favorite author at the end of the year. You could also "interview" a character from a novel, but then students would be using a fiction source rather than nonfiction and would not employ research skills.

A talk show interview isn't limited to the ELA classroom. This writing project would require nonfiction sources and employ research skills regardless of the subject area.

Some ideas:
1. In history/social studies, have students select a historical figure from a unit or time period to "interview."
2. In science, have students select a scientist who made a significant contribution to the unit or course topic (i.e. chemistry, physics, anatomy) to "interview."
3. Similarly in math, have students select a mathematician who made a significant contribution to the unit or course topic (i.e. algebra, geometry, calculus) to "interview."
4. In gym/physical education, a famous athlete.
5. In music or art, a famous musician or artist from the genre or style you are studying (i.e. jazz, Cubism).

For this and other creative writing activities, check out this engaging, common core aligned resource.

You Might Also Like


  1. I love this idea! Another idea for science class could be to have them "interview" an organism or even an organelle, which really can't talk, but the student could make up a voice and pretend they could talk. It sounds like a great way to incorporate creative writing into their assignments. Way more fun to grade too! Thanks for the idea.

  2. Thanks Bethany! I like this idea because it is so versatile and could work for any subject.

    Brynn Allison
    The Literary Maven