Brainstorm Possible New Variables

Grade 7 - Adult

Sometimes you have to write impromptu essays. Impromptu means “on the spot” or “without any warning.” You write without time to prepare.

Typical Impromptu Topics:

  • If you could be any wild animal, what would you be? Why?
  • What is your favorite sport or other activity? Why?
  • What is your favorite pet? Why?
  • If you could do any activity this weekend, regardless of cost, what would you do? Why?
  • If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Why?
  • If you could meet anyone living or dead, who would it be? Why?
  • What does the word success mean to you?
  • What is a time in your life that changed you? How did it change?


How can you prepare for that many essays?  Well, you can—

  1. And it does not matter what you will be asked.
  2. Because they are all the same question.

The Key to Good Writing

Most good writing comes down to choosing a topic that grabs your and your reader’s interest.

Picking an interesting subject is the most important part of writing.

Brainstorm for Quantity, not Quality

Let’s say that your writing prompt is the following:

  • If you could be any wild animal, what would you be? Why?

But here’s the twist: everyone knows about lions, tigers, and bears… etc. Those are like yesterday’s news. Old.

Instead, funnel down until you come up with ideas that your readers are unlikely to know much about AND are likely to interest them. Use the internet to help you.

Your challenge is to pick an animal so unexpected that it is likely no one about to read your essay will see the topic coming.

  • Horse
  • Wild mustang
  • Wild pony
  • Wild Mongolian pony
  • Equus complicates (ancient horse of the Eastern and Southern United States)

You can shortcut the system. Type in something like this:

  • Unique animals
  • Rare animals
  • Strange animals

Avoid Adjectives

Instead of focusing on adjectives to describe a common animal, choose a less familiar creature altogether. Using descriptive words to create the subject, as in the examples below, you will end up with a boring essay because the basic subject (a horse) is Old.

  • Horse
  • Horse blind in one eye
  • Purple horse blind in one eye

You better aim for something unexpected, like for example “tardigrade,” aka “water bear.” Tardigrades are so tiny you can’t see them with the naked eye, yet are one of the hardiest species ever.


Evaluators usually love creativity.  For example, you could funnel down to animals such as these:

  • Mythical animal
  • Unicorn
  • Narwhal
  • Chinese unicorn
  • Lung-ta, the Chinese unicorn stallion
  • Small animal
  • Microorganism
  • One-celled animal
  • Paramecium
  • Didinium, the lion of protozoa

Task 4.1.1 - Small Group or Class

  • If you could be any animal, what would you be? Why?

Work through the process in this chapter. Come up with at least 10 animals.