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Friday, November 14, 2008

My Plan to Turn the World into Neurotic Writers One Teenager at a Time

Remember back when you were in high school, and you had guest speakers come into your classroom. You were like, “Jackpot, I don’t have to talk about Moby Dick today!” Not that there’s anything wrong with Mody Dick (ahem, I hate it). Well, did you ever realize that those guest speakers were scared of you? Like eye-twitching, OMG-what-if-they-hate-me, scared? Yeah, that was me yesterday.

But you know what? My workshop totally rocked! (Yeah, I said that.)

I did a creative writing workshop with a classroom of 11th graders at Kensington High School in Philadelphia. Let me start off by saying that this isn’t some fancy schmancy private school. It’s is one of the big, neighborhood public high schools (one of the ones I fought for when I worked for a nonprofit). And if there was any doubt that public schools create awesomeness, this puts the argument to rest. Because I could not have had a more creative or enthusiastic bunch of teens.

In about 50 minutes, we outlined the start of an amazing, somewhat spooky, young adult story. All of the twists and turns came from the students, including the creeptastic ending, and by the end of class all of them were raising hands and shouting out ideas.

We started off with the premise of a girl receiving anonymous phone calls and gifts, and we somehow ended up with that girl having killed her ex-boyfriend and buried him in the basement after having gone so completely mental that she was sending herself the anonymous gifts to convince herself that her boyfriend was still alive. Phew.

How cool is that? And how absolutely perfect for a cold, gray, rainy, spooky day in Philadelphia?



With any luck I’ve inspired them all to join the ranks of the neurotic eye-twitching novelists!

I’ll be going back to visit the class again in two weeks, and I’m going to help them further develop our character and create new stories of their own. This teaching thing is kinda fun. Who knew?

In separate news, fabulous ReaderGirlz Diva and YA author Melissa Walker (Violet in Private) sent me this picture of Amigas and School Scandals on a display right alongside Amor and Summer Secrets. Don't they look pretty?



POP CULTURE RANT: General Hospital

They are reviving the Liz-vs-Sam wars. Just when you thought the plot had moved on, right? And while they are beating a dead horse for Sweeps, I sadly have to admit that I still giggle every time I see Liz get all snotty and self-righteous. Something about that character irks me. And truthfully, these past few months I was getting over her yuckiness. But now Liz and I are back on square one. I can’t help but route against her. And I’d sort of love to see Jason end up alone and miserable. Since when is a hit man a prize to be fought over?

1 Comments:

Blogger Rosalinda said...

I myself went to an all-girls prep school in Manhattan, having commuted from the Bronx to avoid some of their public schools (geez, they're scary). There are some excellent public schools out there, though, and I'm glad you're contributing to them.

That story you and the kids came up with sounds like an old R.L. Stine/Christopher Pike novel; I'd read it! It's great to encourage our future writers out there.

--Linda

November 16, 2008 at 1:10 PM  

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