creative writing community, craft and inspiration
by Daniele Walker, TWC Program Coordinator
Our first week of Summer Intensives is underway. Twenty-five students, ages 10-17, are doing what they came for: writing, writing, writing. The experience definitely has been intense so far with morning warm-ups, genre workshops with some of TWC’s finest instructors – Fiction with Chris Kapp, Writing for Young Adults with Jenn Walkup, and Screenwriting with Carol Forbes – plus book club discussions that verge on surgical detail, editorial committee meetings and more.
We’ve even turned our lunch hour into a “neighborhood stalk”. After a pleasant meal in a nearby park, we break into groups and stroll through downtown Summit, observing passersby and noting the fascinating idiosyncrasies of local humanity.
I’ve asked several students if they’re enjoying themselves, and the answer is always an emphatic “Yes!” I’ve also asked them to name their favorite parts of the day, receiving the incredibly satisfying response of “I just love it all!” It seems to me that these young writers are truly happy here, and clearly hard at work.
The students are focused on finishing a piece of writing, and so far several have been successful in this endeavor. You’ll see proof if you check out our online Writers Circle Journal! However, the Intensive’s lessons extend far beyond this goal. Students are learning more than just the basic elements of creative writing like creating characters and developing plot sequences. They’re learning how these elements shift and change to suit different genres of writing. They’re learning to “find their own voices” and to trust and work with other writers. They’re learning that stories can be found everywhere, from their own imaginations to completely random “free-writing” prompts to people they see on the streets. They’re learning to hone their writing skills, sure, but more importantly, we hope we are teaching them to keep writing no matter what.
The sheer power and passion for writing embodied in these students never ceases to astonish me. Not a peep can be heard while our students are writing, not a single grudge or distraction. And talent flows between and around them endlessly. From those who simply can’t contain their volume and excitement to those who barely speak a word, there is a brilliant writer in each of our students this week.