While some folks love to plan in advance, not everyone likes to commit in advance so scheduling is always going on. If you want to have a workshop session in your area, call me and we’ll try to set something up.
As you are no doubt very much aware, finding that magical time and date for maximum folks is a challenge. What I try to do is pencil the schedule in broadly, then when we hit critical mass, nail it down. During that lull between pencils and nails, we hope you will contact us and let us know you are interested. We ask for a non-refundable deposit after the session is set. POs from local charter schools also do the trick. Payments, deposits and POs are non-refundable once a session beginsIf your plans change you can always credit your deposit or PO for a later session.) I am currently teaching a creative writing class in Palo Alto and have been fielding some requests to focus on expository writing next Spring. It's all about having enough kids 10-12 to make a class feasible. So please, contact me and your friends and we'll put it together,
After School Sessions
Yup, they happen too. I remember very well what
It was like to sit in a desk all day. So after-school
sessions are targeted at kids who really love to create. Instead of longer assignments we do story “bursts” that are fun, quick and clean. (And of course a wildly popular bill story) Again, I just need some kids.
We’ll find a location and a way to schedule
Does your child have a story/book inside just itching to get out. II work with several kids -- ages 9-14 -- for whom writing is a passion. Email me and we can meet to discuss how I might work with your budding JK Rowling...
On the CREAtive front
The short story is, I believe, story in its most perfect form. A brilliant short story begins with a message (theme). When I say “begins” I dont mean within the story, I mean within the process and the head of the writer. Writers must decide upon a message they want to communicate in their story. Then they must concoct a rough storyline to communicate this message, they must create characters with all of the strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncracies to both tell that story, and make it intriguing.
Oh yes... and then they have to write it.
Then rewrite it.
Some parents and kids will look at the above and go: Whoah... alot of work.
Well, yes. but, a short story... a really tight short story... is truly a labor of love. It is jam packed with surprise, observation, and the kind of details that cause readers to smack their lips! Along the way, it really teaches one to write. And at the end? Well, I have written maybe 300 short stories in my time. Among them are ones I would call pretty doggone good. Decades later I am reading them to my classes to rapt attention. Some stories, after a gazillion readings and many years, still have me tearing up towards the end. That folks, is a reward.
(Crybabies run in the family. Every year as a kid, the family would watch Wizard of Oz together on TV when it came around. And when Dorothy started saying goodbye to her pals at the end, we would all look to Dad to see if the tears had started dribbling yet.)
As you can imagine this is not a form you rip off every week. Im guessing over the course of the 12-class workshop we might finish three. But they will be finished. The feedback loop in this workshop will be much more robust as I attend to individual needs along the way. This loop will include some line edits.
And another cool thing: the sharing aspect. As kids share potential ideas, characters and plot lines, it will be a wonderful opportunity for the kids to develop group skills they will carry until they are old and grey. (Seen any of those guys around here?) Because in this process you not only learn from the group by getting, but by giving.
And Then There is the Essay
Essays will be in your student's life for the remainder of their academic studies. And... beyond! Just heard from a Silicon Valley techie about another side of writing prowess:
"I'll just add my .02 and say the rewards go far past the academic world. The Valley is full of smart STEM career types with marginal writing skills. Inventing a cool product is one thing. Getting approval from the government agencies that decide if you can sell it is another. Converting engineering drawings into unambiguous manufacturing instructions is yet another. Then there's marketing."He/she writes like an engineer" is a common joke. There are plenty of high paying jobs in manufacturing, regulatory affairs and elsewhere for folks skilled in expressing ideas clearly and in ways that cannot be misunderstood. "
Essays are all about formula. Does that mean they have to be boring? Of course not. The sooner your children get the hang of writing an top notch essay, the bigger the more impressive they will be. Persuasive, literary, descriptive, narrative -- each of these essays has a slightly different approach. But all follow a basic formula your student needs to lean.
Weekly Class Structure
Each 90-mnute class will include a teaching segment in which I introduce an aspect of the process. We will conduct a short writing exercise giving the kids an opportunity to work on this aspect. Some of the teaching segments will cover theme, voice, character development, setting, and story arc. Each session will also include a sharing session in which kids will share progress, problems and ideas.
I am just finishing up several classes around the Peninsula. It;s not too early to put feelers out to families in your circle to gauge interest in a writing class. Or, if you would like me to work your child one-on-one, shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call me at 650.339.4908. My first meeting with you and your child are on the house,