Creative Writing Exercise: The Last Straw

Creative Writing Exercise: The Last Straw


In this creative writing exercise delegates change a given instruction to a funny statement that is deemed more effective. The humour helps to increase the likelihood of the instruction being followed and also make it more memorable. It is a good exercise for writing short instructions/signs to be used in public places.


Convert a typical instruction found in public to something that is more engaging and more likely to be followed.

What You Need

  • The image shown above:
    • “Please be considerate… taking too many will be the last straw for others.”
  • Access to internet


  • Show the example image shown above to delegates.
  • Now ask the delegates to research popular statements used in public places or think of any they might have come across before which is suitable for this exercise. In particular ask delegates to consider instructions that command or dictate something like the example given.
  • Ask the delegates to turn the original statement to something funny to increase engagement so the instruction is more likely to be followed.
  • Ask the delegate to consider two instructions and make two statements such as the example given.
  • Delegates can use the internet for research or inspiration.
  • Allocate 20 minutes for the research and the creative writing exercise.
  • Bring back everyone together and ask one delegate at a time to present their statements.
  • Encourage others to provide feedback.
  • Ask delegates to vote for the best statement.
  • Follow with a discussion.


Explaining the Exercise: 2 minutes

Activity: 20 min creative writing + 10 min sharing = 30 minutes

Group Feedback: 10 minutes


What do you think of other delegate’s statements? Which one was your favourite statement and why? What strategy did you follow to make the instruction more engaging? Were you inspired by examples of others? Would you consider changing your statement to improve it? 

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