Author Topic: Writing exercises for teens?  (Read 5728 times)

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Offline amberlough

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Writing exercises for teens?
« on: August 14, 2008, 11:13 AM »
I will be teaching a writing workshop that's an hour and a half long to a group of ten aspiring writers, aged between 12 and 18. (I think they're mostly around 13 and 14, though.) I've thought of a few exercises to do but was wondering if anyone has any additional ideas or hints (or "don't try this!" info). I'd appreciate anything you've got!

(I'm doing in for free at the local library and got a better response than expected. Now that it's posted in the paper, I'm getting nervous and excited!)  :whitebunny

~ Amber


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Offline Mandy Hubbard

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Re: Writing exercises for teens?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2008, 11:22 AM »
Character sketches. Find those quizzes teens LOVE that have random questions--fav ice cream, color, song, etc--and have teens come up with a fictional character to answer the questions.

Collages-- have them rip things out of magazines, bring in pictures, etc, taht represent elements of their story for inspiration.

Freewriting--write anything and everything they think of for ten minutes--it can be the start of their story, a dream the chracter is having, etc.

Have them learn to hone/write a hook. Give them examples ("Harry Potter" or "Twilight") and have them figure out how to write a concise, one sentence pitch for that book. it will help them learn to tell people how to asnwer that question "So, what's your book about?"
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Offline blythe

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Re: Writing exercises for teens?
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2008, 11:56 AM »
How much time do you have?  This takes an hour or more and produces very creative results--"withering chickens" comes to mind. It is flat out fun.

I've used it in many settings with people from teens to practically mummified.

These directions take some puzzling out, take a look

http://edweb.sdsu.edu/courses/et650_online/mapps/Synectics.html

If you're interested I can provide more clarification, prompts etc.


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Offline amberlough

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Re: Writing exercises for teens?
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2008, 12:30 PM »
Thanks...I wonder if I can do ALL of them and squeeze it into the time allotted. Hm. Maybe they'll like it enough to ask for more workshops--it's not like it costs anyone anything. I'm doing it for pure fun and because I went to a few as a teenager.

Character sketches sound good. I'll be talking briefly about point-of-view, but judging from their stories/essays, they mostly need to hear about "show don't tell." They almost all wrote in first person, so POV isn't much of an issue. (I think they wrote in 1st b/c they're used to it for school work--that, and it's that age, ya know?) Or maybe they know it's what I like best. ;-) And definitely freewriting. That was my favorite when I was 14.

I'll have to check out the SDSU link later, when I've got more time and a clearer brain.
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Offline AnnH

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Re: Writing exercises for teens?
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2008, 12:36 PM »
Have them write a paragraph about something familiar (trip to a fair, playing or watching a sport, visiting the beach, etc.) including references with all five senses.

Offline amberlough

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Re: Writing exercises for teens?
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2008, 10:41 AM »
I will have them write a paragraph with the five senses... first I'll have them write a paragraph describing something, and then I'll them re-write it to include the senses. That way they can compare the two.

After reading the submissions I got, the class varies in skill. Everything from: "Bark!" barked the dog. to By the time my dad turned to her, she had gone back to cutting the mushrooms into thin slices and stacking them gingerly, one over the other, as if she could make them whole again. In some of the pieces, I cringed  :bangcomputer as I read and repeated my mantra, they're just kids, but in a few, I was astounded.  :flowers

It's going to be an interesting night. Wish me luck and wisdom!
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Re: Writing exercises for teens?
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2008, 11:30 AM »
I'll wish you luck.  You already have wisdom.

Have fun!

Offline crissachappell

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Re: Writing exercises for teens?
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2008, 02:49 PM »
I teach creative writing at an arts college. We play games like "human tape recorder" where we go out into the world and spy on people. Or "sketching with words" (using 5 senses to paint a picture on paper).
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Offline amberlough

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Re: Writing exercises for teens?
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2008, 10:23 AM »
We had a BLAST. Here's my post of it on my blog: http://naptimewriter.blogspot.com/2008/08/teen-writing-workshop.html
THE FIRE WISH, Random House Children's, 2014
THE BLIND WISH, Random House Children's, 2015
www.amberlough.com