Friday, June 15, 2018

Author School Visits and Other Adventures

Last week, I had the privilege of teaching writing workshops at Maywood Middle School. I hope the students enjoyed it as much as I did. There were six English classes plus an after school writing workshop.
I've presented this workshop to adults and high school students numerous times, but this was my first foray into middle school. The stories the students came up with were incredibly imaginative and fun. In fact, one of them is still bouncing around in my head and begging to be written!

The way I run my workshops is I give out assignments to groups of students. Each group is to create either the protagonist, setting, villain, mentor, friends, or love interest. Then we take our characters and walk them through the classic hero's journey. It's always an adventure to see where we end up!

My most successful (for me) workshop was at an alternative high school for high risk students. They came up with the plot for what is now my YA novel, Menagerie--which was originally a stand alone book, but because I loved my characters so much, it morphed into a trilogy. (You can read more about that here. WHERE I GOT MY IDEA.)


 But every workshop is a heady flight of imagination, and working with the kids always reminds me of how it felt to be an age when anything and everything feels possible. I love being a grownup and I especially love the life I've been given. I would never trade my life in for a do-over. Not because I haven't made mistakes, but mostly because I would be afraid that I would muff things up and somehow lose the friends and family I've been blessed with. I do love spending time with the students and maybe, hopefully, teaching them about the power of stories and how they can shape our lives.

For more information on my workshops: