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. The last time my parents saw me, I was four inches shorter.
What I need: Recognize me as a writer. Ask about my stories and I may tell you, but don’t insist on reading them. Take me to book signings, so I can meet published authors. Help me find a writing class where I can get honest feedback. I love encouragement, but I want challenge. It would be cool to meet other teens like me.
My teachers say I’m an “exceptional” writer. Hooray. *Twirls finger* I’ve rewritten the first 900 words of my novel twelve times. At this rate, my book will have readers in about sixty years.
What I need: Challenge me to a certain number of words per week. Challenge me to write badly. Help me find some other writers to hang out with. Back off on critique for a while, even if I ask for it.
My dad says I dont use enogh punctuation and that im a bad speller i wish hed noticed i just wrote a hundred and fifty page book.
What I need: Appreciate my words! I know it needs editing later and ill do that but when im writeing for fun just encourage me as a storyteller. And maybe find me some grammar games that would be cool.
My mom made me take this class, because she thinks it will improve my grades. Writing makes my hand hurt. Reading is boring. I’d rather play video games, hang with my friends outside, or watch TV.
What I need: My friend Percy says video games and movies are just another way people get stories. I guess that’s true. I make stuff up sometimes, I just don’t write it. I have all these maps I drew for this thing I thought up, along with some vehicles–land and spacecraft. I might make some lists and labels for them, as long as it’s not, like, an assignment or something. I might write stuff if I didn’t have to do it by hand, or turn it in, or show it to people. Well, maybe I’d show it to some people–Percy and a few others. If this class could be outside, that would be the best. Also, if the teacher is cool.
During Spring Break, I’m running the class that started it all for me eleven years ago at Bellevue College: Young Writers’ Workshop. This class is sampler of three different types of writing. Laughter is guaranteed.
Young Writers’ Workshop
Spring Break: April 6-8
Designed for teenage writers (and writer wanna-bes). Share your creative voice and find community with other young writers! Learn to break through blocks to starting and finishing, and how to sculpt words so your work speaks to readers. We’ll be working in three genres: poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Bestselling author Katherine Grace Bond will share some tricks of the trade and you’ll be welcomed by other members of the Tribe of Writers (who understand why you do this crazy thing called writing.)
Also coming up at Bellevue College, North Campus
Essay Writing for Teens: College Application
Spring Break: April 6-8
YA Novel Writing: Captivating the Teen Reader
Mondays beginning April 13
Geek Fiction Writing
Tuesdays beginning April 14
Thursdays beginning April 16