At my daughter’s request, I started teaching an after school young writers club. Friday afternoons I meet with 6-10 kids from the 5th-8th grade.
The first week we talked about Dan Wells 7 point story structure. If you have not watched all 5 of his free videos on Youtube, you should. They are awesome. Over the next few weeks we talked about character interviews. They filled in their own 7 points with both heroes and villains, and they interviewed each other.
We talked about grammar a little for some common mistakes, and focused on writing good dialogue. The Nanowrimo site has a terrific lessons for free downloads.
This last week, I was blown away by the quality of their writing.
One wrote a series of journal entries about a girl whose perfect family is falling apart as the parents spiraled toward divorce. Another wrote about a character who suffered from constant pressure from bullies and feared to tell anyone about it lest the cruelty get worse. The topics are far more deep and real than I expected. I’m excited to see what they write next.
After their stories are finished and edited, we’ll bind the stories together and make a book so they each get a copy to keep. I’m a shameless briber by the way. I give them a candy bar every time they complete a chapter.
When I was in 4th grade, I had a teacher that praised my poetry. In 7th grade when my grades were sliding and I had no faith in myself, a teacher asked me if I’d like to be in the honors English class. Why she noticed me, I’ll never know. But I still remember how it changed the way I thought of myself. I hope that when these kids finish this year, they will remember that this was the year they became authors.
Have you stepped out of your comfort zone lately?