Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tighter Writing


I am sitting in a workshop at Writopia with four amazing fifteen year old girls. We have all kicked off our shoes, and are settled in to work on some serious fiction and memoir.

We are mid-way through our week of writing "camp". By Friday and after fifteen hours together, they will all have polished pieces. The girls are tapping furiously away on their laptops, after our first hour of workshopping - reading each others pieces and commenting on structure, narrative and character, always on the watch-out for compliance with the initial objective.

They are all writing, so I have a few minutes to write too, to BLOG, which is something that I don't have time to do with my younger groups, who need/want more hand holding through the process. (And I love them too!)

These girls are all inspiring, aspiring authors - one is writing a beautiful memoir piece off of a prompt that I gave her when we began - all about image and cultural dissonance. Another is writing an elaborate fantasy that will one day turn into a trilogy no doubt, but for now, her task is to focus on a complete stand-alone piece. The other two are working on two very different realistic fiction stories.

Teaching helps me to become a better writer - a tighter writer, to focus on all of the things that I ask them to develop an awareness of. Objectives, rising action, "crisis" and resolution: keeping it simple. My habit is to throw everything I care about, all sorts of psychological complexities into whatever novel I'm working on. Too many issues! The good thing is that I have a lot to write about, and no shortage of ideas for novels. EDGES at first could have been two or three novels. I had to cut out so much, and it is a much better book because of that.

And now I must get back to my beauties, tearing them away soon from their own work so that they can get and give feedback, all the while learning themselves how to be a tighter writer.

And tomorrow after workshop . . . I finally get to meet my publicist/marketing person for EDGES at a cafe in the FlatIron District! Yay! More later . . .

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