Today was the last session of my summer teen writer’s class at the library. Boy, did THAT go fast! Today was the “publication party.” Everyone was supposed to bring their revised story and read to their family and friends. And then there were treats.

I was disappointed how few kids showed up with a story today! The ones who did show up were the ones who were serious about their writing, though…and WOW, did they have good stories!!!! So that sort of made up for it.

I wonder what the problem was? Were these kids so afraid of getting up there and reading their stories today that they just blew the whole thing off? (I’ll admit I probably would have done that at their age…that’s how terrified of public speaking I was!) Or did some of them just not finish a story? (Last week was the critique/revision week and my numbers were way down for that one, too.) It’s hard to ask junior/senior high kids to write a story on their own time during the summer.

So I’ve been thinking about what to do next year. I asked the kids who were there today what they’d like to see in a writers workshop next year. One wants to see a “world building” class, where they don’t necessarily have to write a story, but will learn how to create a science fiction world and then they can write a story if they want, or draw maps and pictures, or do character sketches or whatever they want relating to their world. Interesting idea… Another one wants a mystery writing class (which I’ve thought about doing). And a third said something about how hard it was to write something outside of class (she admitted she brought a story she wrote during school because she didn’t have time to write a whole new story), so she wanted a class where the writing would be done during the session.

It’s been really fun over the last few years to have that first class of summer students continue meeting to critique work and start the online ‘zine. It was fun to watch them grow and develop as writers. I didn’t have as many this summer who were as serious about their writing as the kids in that first class, so I don’t know if we’ll keep the ‘zine going during the school year. But if I do something different, I think I can bring a few back next summer. There were a couple kids who dropped the class this summer after two weeks because it was the same thing I taught at the Belin Center last summer. I guess the message there was “we don’t mind taking another class from YOU, but we want you to teach something different!” I can do that…I learn just as much when I teach as the kids do!

Teen Writers Workshop

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