Creative writing activity for group/workshop

Shall I compare thee to a …?


to use similes (and metaphors) to describe a person


group work


a number of small cards per participant or enough cue cards based on the list below for each group to get between five and ten cards


‘Shall I Compare Thee’ by William Shakespeare, ‘My Love is Like the Red Red Rose’ by Robert Burns, etc. Another good example is ‘What you are’ by Roger McGough (can be used in thematic excerpts if the whole poem is too long)


This is a variation of a well-known parlour/teaching game. I do not claim by any means that it is an original invention.

Instructions to the participants

In groups of four or five write things to which you could compare a person on the small cards handed out; these will then be collected.

Think of a person. (This person could be real and well-known, it could be a character from a novel or a play, it could be a figure from history, etc.)

One participant in each group is put in the interview chair, i.e. will be asked questions.

Now a set of cards is handed out to each group. Ask participant in the interview chair questions based on the keyword on the card, e.g. ‘if the person was a dish, what dish would s/he be.’

The participant in the interview chair answers the questions and the others try to guess who s/he has thought of. Obviously, most participants should get an opportunity in the interview chair and the packets of cue cards should be exchanged between the groups.


All participants write down the answers and then put them into a fairly uniform manner, e.g. ‘She/he is …’ or ‘you are’, which is read out and the other participants try to guess who it is.

A list of possible comparisons

a drink
a television programme
a dish
a flower
an insect
a period in a life
a fruit
a musical instrument
a type of countryside
a vehicle
a piece of music
a kind of weather
a season/time of year
a time of day
a tool
a smell
the distance between …

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