Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Writing Lessons with Miles, part 1

Norman, Okla., is an incredible place for any artist to live and work — the community loves the arts and works hard to support local artists. Even kids can get in on the action at various art centers and museums. But as it turns out, the art of writing is pretty well neglected here, as I'm sure it is most anywhere. That's why a local friend approached me about teaching her 10-year-old son writing lessons. Her son, Miles, loves writing fiction — his most recent work of brilliance was about hamsters escaping their cage. With school just out, Miles' mom couldn't find a fun writing class for his age group at local education centers. I was absolutely tickled pink that she thought of me and couldn't wait to get to work! It's a shame there aren't more children's creative writing classes around — maybe I'll have to start one of my own!

Workin' hard!

We had our first lesson tonight, and enjoyed our hour learning about character sketches and "showing not telling." We developed three of our own characters from scratch, including a species, physical attributes, personality traits, background information and their current setting. From there, Miles developed a story from thin air about three creatures who are combating evil — it's quite brilliant but I don't want to give his story away. Maybe we'll share it later!

My character sketches for my three characters. I haven't developed a story for my characters quite yet.
He first wrote a scene from his story from one character's perspective. We then talked about showing, instead of telling, or using more descriptive words and phrases to paint a picture with words rather than just saying something happened. Miles rewrote the scene using the same character's perspective and this technique and totally rocked it!

Before we knew it "class" was over. Miles' homework for the next week is to write out his entire story from the three different perspectives of his created characters. We'll see what he comes up with next week!


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