I run teach four different workshop series -- creative writing, expository, poetry and short stories
My creative writing workshops come in two forms:
-- During the school year, 8-12 weekly sessions of 90-minutes each. (Five-seven year-old sessions are one hour.)
-- Summer, one week of either half-day or full-day sessions conducted in the woods of Woodside’s Huddart Park, Rancho San Antonio in Los Altos and La Honda’s Sam McDonald County Park. In summer sessions, kids experience an equal share of writing, storytelling, tree-climbing and hiking.
CREATIVE WRITING We explore the elements of story: Characters, feeling, dialogue, exposition, observations, description -- to name just a few. We’ll often do a short writing exercise together to underline one particular element. In off-class time, kids are invited to tackle a short story. A highlight of each session is reading these stories. Sometimes I present... sometimes, the young authors. I usually end up sessions reading a Dave Schmave or Tucker Jones story I have written for BOOMERANG!.
I use the term “workshops” instead of “class” because this is an unusual learning experience -- on both ends of the spectrum. I take enthusiastic writers -- help fine tune their skills and encourage them to venture off the main road into uncharted territory . Some of the children who attend my workshops are also reluctant writers. And some of these reluctant writers have remained reluctant writers. But there have been a number of 180-degree turnarounds. How? Why? Because there is power and deep satisfaction in writing a good story. Once kids get a taste of this, the seeds of initiative -- alive and well in every child I’ve ever met -- take root..
Oh and the very first thing we do on the very first day is have kids select code names. Why? Uhhhhh... because it’s fun!
EXPOSITORY WRITING (ESSAYS) My expository series focuses on essays: descriptive and persuasive essays, personal narratives, book reports and the like. Allof these will be common assignments in middle, high school and college -- each highlighting different content but focused around a similar structure. Yes that structure is important -- but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring to read OR write. I introduce methods to make each part of the essay a reward for reader and writer
Fine tuning is a critical element of the literary process. Daughter Natalie’s seven drafts of college essays reminded me of that. With that in mind, we spend several assignments reworking the first draft. In this class they will end up with a portfolio of polished pieces… essays they can be proud of, submit to schools and revisit as finished works. While the finished product is a big part of this class, the skills and discipline involved in revision will be invaluable.
POETRY, SHORT STORIES
Interested in getting a workshop going with your group writing poetry or short stories? Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and request a one-page description. Yup, I;ve got a one page on expository writing and creative writing as well.