Murderers were on the loose in my recent Story Builder Workshop. Reality started to twist and change. Superheroes and hippies and rappers and homeless people found their voices. It was a great evening of storytelling. Only one more class to go in this workshop series. I’ve had fun with the students. I’ll be sad when it ends.
Are you in the mood for a lyrical picture book that reads like a poem? You might like this one. Click here to read my review.
I did not know much about graphic novels until recently although they are hugely popular at the moment, and so I chose to review Roller Girl for the Awfully Big Blog Adventure. Want to know what I thought? Click here to find out.
My lovely Story Explorers invented some brilliant new worlds and characters last week. I wish I always had that much fun when I create stories.
Story Explorers is a four part class that I devised for first and second graders. We roll up our sleeves and explore stories from many different angles and perspectives. We read picture books. We tell stories, orally and on paper using pictures and words. We investigate themes, ideas and inspiration from our readings with interactive exercises, games, art, craft, and play. And we have fun. Lots of fun.
Spent a happy two weeks marinating story ideas, generating characters and developing plots with some talented 7th and 8th graders. Here are some of the (many) books we discussed.
What would you do in your last 8 minutes 20 seconds on Earth after the sun exploded? Click on the link to my competitions page to read the winning entry by Ella Happel who wrote an excellent, tense, tight story about what happened in her world. I have celebrated the excellent submissions by the ribbon winning students, too. A truly talented bunch of storytellers.
Interested in reading my latest review for the Awfully Big Blog Adventure? Click here to find out what I thought about Mary’s Monster by Lita Judge. (Hint: I liked it. A lot).
I took part in the second Mining the Story: Writers’ Retreat at Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts last weekend. Mineral Point is an old mining town in Wisconsin, now metamorphosed into a vibrant artist community. The place hums with ideas and creativity. Some great stories started to germinate and grow in my generative workshop in writing for young people. Thank you to all those enthusiastic participants who put away their adult selves for a while and delved back into the world of their childhoods. I have to confess, I loved introducing you to British classics, like The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, and new American classics, such as I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson.
I also learned about the relationship between art and storytelling in Philip Hartigan’s playful mark-making workshop — it is surprisingly helpful to deepen a sense of story — and about literary magazines with the founder of Hypertext Magazine, Christine Maul Rice, and artistic director Patricia McNair. Participants also took in-depth classes on the Short Story (Christine Maul Rice), Memoir (Patricia McNair) and the Novel (Shawn Shiflett). There was the option to create candy box books with Judith Sutcliffe and Philip Hartigan, and receive individual feedback on writing in one-to-one manuscript consultations.
A sense of community and fun was fostered over the weekend at the readings by both faculty and participants. The retreat will run again next year. It is something of a hidden gem.
See a clip of the opening of the retreat below (thanks Philip, for the video and photos).
There’s a lot to love about Leaf, written and illustrated by Sandra Dieckmann. Click here to read my review.
Are you a budding young writer? Could you be the next J. K. Rowling or J. R. R. Tolkien? Come along to my Story-Builder Workshop at the Beverly Arts Center and flex your creativity! For more details, click here for the Spring Program 2018 (see the Visual Arts Section). For young people aged 9-11 (Sat. April 14, 10am-12pm) and aged 12+ (Sat. April 21, 10am-12pm).