In December, 1995 I gathered four teenage writers in our living room and began the wild odyssey that would grow into Epicwrite. Recently, I had the honor of being nominated for the Roslyn S. Jaffe Award for that work, and while the winner has not yet been announced, the extensive application process allowed us to reflect on our reason for being. I thought you’d like the video Epicwrite staffer Ashley Olson produced for us.
» Read more about: The “Why” behind Epicwrite »
And no, it’s not a silly question!
In the Teenage Novelist: Publishing class, I always start by saying, “Read and read and read; write and write and write.” It’s pretty hard to write publishable material if you’re not reading. That sounds like a no-brainer, but I know plenty of people who want to write books, but get all their stories from movies and television. I love movies and television (and we watch a lot of them in Geek Fiction Writing for Teens),
» Read more about: Teens Ask “How Do I Get Published?” »
“Katherine brings life and excitement to what she teaches and interacts with me and the other students in a truly honest, personable way.”
–Samantha Meuller, BCCE blog.
Another reason I love my life: Every summer, I spend a month with several dozen glorious teens who write for the joy of it. Different classes every week. Many take several; some take every one. We laugh,
» Read more about: Summer Writing Classes for Teens! »
Make sure your scene answers these questions before your reader asks them, unless you are deliberately withholding that information to build tension. (For more keys, join us in the Scene-Weaving class! Or, if you’re a teen, try Teenage Novelist: Scenes and Dreams!)
1. Where am I?
- Orient your reader throughout the scene so that your characters are not just “talking heads”
- Sensory detail
- References to small,
» Read more about: Three Keys to Scene-Weaving »
Teen writers are a diverse bunch. Not all of them even know they are writers. I’ve met all of the following writers in my programs, and I’ve seen the light go on in their eyes when they come to own their writing.
When I can’t write, I go into withdrawal. I live in my room with my characters, emerging occasionally for a sandwich.
» Read more about: Four Types of Teen Writer + New Spring Classes for Teens AND Adults! »
Photo by Meryl Schenker
One of the cool things about taking teen writing at Bellevue College, is working with a published author. Lois Brandt (who is certifiably awesome) teaches Writing Short Stories in the Teenage Novelist program. Students rave about her classes, which have included the “Write a Novel in 30 Days” class she usually teaches in November (to go along with NaNoWriMo) and “Editing Your Manuscript.”
» Read more about: An Interview with Author Lois Brandt + teen writing with Lois at Bellevue College »
This poem, by Jim Hall, is one of my favorite mashups, and I often read it in Talking to Your Characters and in Teen Poets at Bellevue College.
To see Jim Hall’s take on his poem, as well as the entire poem printed out, go here.
Another game to try! Do one OR MORE of the following:
» Read more about: Character Mashup–“Maybe Dats Your Pwoblem, Too” »
Twelve and a half weeks ago I loaned my best friend a set of “Cooking with Salt” DVDs, which were a gift from my former best friend. I have asked her every week if she is done with them. Seven weeks ago, my boyfriend began cooking everything with salt. He said he was experimenting. Five weeks ago, while searching my best friend’s apartment for my DVD set,
» Read more about: Talking to Your Characters–Give Them a “Dear Character” Column »
Dancing on the Razor’s Edge
You speak in riddles because
You ache to speak.
You ache for space
To expand and contract.
You cast your words into the chasm,
To be caught by one
Whose breathing holds your breath.
When your foot finds the brink
You ask the air
» Read more about: Game of Poems »
I have not shared any of my work-in-progress here because it has felt too close to the bone. It’s a YA. It’s about art. And it’s about time-travel. It’s about a girl who feels responsible for keeping someone else alive, and how she goes back in time and thinks she wants to stay there. It’s a verse-novel, so it’s made up entirely of poems.
But it’s time for some mutual sharing. I’m looking for a small group of young people (high school/college) and some art.
» Read more about: Can We Talk? »