How to Write a Story Using Specific Words

Creating a story using a specific list of words takes not only imagination, but also skill. Whether for a class assignment, writing challenge or improvisational game, this tests the true ability of a writer to build a story based on unrelated word choices. Essentially, these tasks tell how effective you are as a communicators and help you learn to be a concise writer. The strength of a writer can be measured in the power of his words. This is determined by word choice. Simply put, extra words take away from your story or message. Weigh your words carefully or the weight of your story becomes too heavy to carry its meaning.

Writing Your Story

Step 1

Get your word list. Whether assigned or from an Internet search, find your word choices. For a challenge, you can find many word lists on the web or even in the back of a dictionary. All types of lists are available from commonly misspelled or confused words to homonyms and synonyms and other words for “said” in dialogue. You can even create your own list.

Step 2

Carefully review your word list. This is the time to choose a topic, theme or genre. Examine each word, looking them up in a dictionary if necessary. Search for a commonality. Do the words have anything in common? Do they describe a character or setting? Do they remind you of a particular experience or person? Does a theme come to mind? You have finally determined what you will write about.

Step 3

Brainstorm your story. Using the commonality you found in the word list, build your writing piece. Jot down ideas by diagramming or outlining your story, and list the appropriate words next to the concepts. In this step, you are determining how you will use your words as you write. You are carefully weighing them.

Step 4

Write your story in carefully crafted, concise sentences. Consult your list and story outline or diagram. Create individual sentences with words from your list. As you move from a word list to a sentence list, you will see lines from your piece beginning to appear.

Step 5

Thread your sentences together. After you have finished your sentences and used all your words, review them for structure and sequencing. Spot the common ideas and topics, and organize them into paragraphs. Use transitional words or phrases as necessary. You may have to reword or create new sentences to make sure they read well.

Step 6

Read over your story. Does it make sense? Have you carefully considered your words? Do you effectively communicate the message you are seeking? You may be using a word list, but you are still entrusted with the job of a writer--to tell a story.

Step 7

Edit and revise. Make sure you have included all of the necessary words. If your sentences do not flow while reading, try writing them again. Don’t hesitate to return to your original word list for inspiration or more ideas. Always correct punctuation and grammar.


Do not cram all of the words into one sentence just to make them fit into the story. Consider what you are trying to communicate. It will show in your final work and require less editing.


Make sure you use all of the words on your list. Cross them off as you use them. Underlining or italicizing words in your final piece will help you quickly locate them.


If choosing a word list, make sure it is consistent with your topic or theme. This will help you when writing your story. Beginner word lists can be as short as 15-20 words and more advanced lists can range up to 50 or more.


Use your imagination! Be as creative as you wish when story building from specific words.


When reviewing your story, you may wish to read aloud. It gives you an understanding of how someone else may read your writing.

Things You'll Need

  • Word List
  • Dictionary
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