*This post was written last night, but due to completely aggravating internet problems, I was unable to actually post it until this morning. I only mention this because I really am trying to do better at posting on my blog. It’s just not always my fault.*
So, today was an absolutely awesome day. Seriously, one of the funnest days I’ve had in a while. My sister, Rebecca, is a Junior High teacher, and today, for some crazy reason, she allowed me to speak to her Creative Writing class. It was SO fun, for so many reasons.
I started off the class by telling them the whole saga of how I became a writer. Then I told them all about the publishing industry and getting an agent (at which point I had to sheepishly mention that I had not yet been able to land one myself. I worried that I would lose a little credibility, but they were actually quite forgiving. ) Anyway, then came the really fun part. I borrowed an idea from Orson Scott Card, which I read in his book Character and Development (great book, by the way,) which he calls a “Thousand Idea Session.”
We had a very basic start: boy or girl MC, and how old? The kids all shouted out answers, and we settled on a 14 year old girl.
“So, what does a 14 year old girl do?” I asked.
Many answers thrown out, but we picked “Go to the mall.”
“Okay,” I said. “Spending whose money?”
The class shouted in unison, “Her parents!”
“And how do they feel?”
“They make her get a job,” one kid shouted.
“Where?” I asked.
Again, in unison, “McDonalds!”
And it took off from there. After a few moments, we had a fairly outlandish, but amusing plot, chock full of conflict. The point of the whole exercise was to show them that we could come up with an interesting plot from almost nothing, just by asking questions and exploring ideas.
Well, they had a lot of fun, but they weren’t off the hook there. I then explained the importance of having the first page of a story hook the reader. So, I had each one of them write the first page to our Shopper-girl-working-at-McDonalds story, and then share. The results were fantastic. They were funny, smart, and surprisingly good. I was very impressed.
Overall, the whole day was just a blast. It felt so right to be up there, talking to the kids about writing. I was totally in my element. If I could have, I would have taken the job that day. It’s good to know that if the whole published writer thing never works out I can always be a Junior High Creative Writing teacher.
Of course, I guess I’ll still aim for famous-published-writer-who-gives-writer’s-workshops-to-teens. Yeah, that’d work too. *dreamy smile*