Thursday, March 3, 2011

Write2Ignite Teens Ignite Me and Inspire a Giveaway!

It never fails. When I teach teens I feel as if I receive as much as I give. That was my experience teaching twelve teens at the recent Write2Ignite conference.

Picture courtesy Sean Earnhardt

We came together as a group of strangers- some more tentative than others- but we all had the same passion: a love for writing.

Picture courtesy Sean Earnhardt

Using activities from my book, Teaching the Story: Fiction Writing in Grades 4-8, students learned how to exercise muscle words, welcome revision, and jazz up their writing. Here is a sample of what they came up with:

The sentence, "I walked through a cemetery and heard eerie sounds."

Became, "I stalked through a graveyard and I heard bat wings flapping at the beat of my heart."

Pretty spooky, huh? I guess they had cemeteries on their brains because I said I was stuck on trying to create a simile for one of my scenes in Half-Truths. The setting is a graveyard that is being bulldozed to make room for houses. To a student they all said "eeew!"  and then proceeded to give me ideas on what they thought that toppled gravestones would look like. One student thought they might look like fallen dominoes, but nixed that idea because it wouldn't create the right mood. (right on!) Another said the graves would look like faces looking out on the cemetery. As we talked about the effort that goes into a writer finding just the right simile to convey an image, they got the point. Writing takes time, work, and revision.

Interspersed between learning how to create original characters, settings, and plots, the teens also did a variety of dramatic activites. When we discussed character they mingled like old people, kindergartners, and their parents; when we talked about settings they pretended to walk through a swamp, a busy street, and on a mountain. 

                                   They collaborated,


Photograph courtesy Sean Earnhardt

                                                                       and wrote.

By the end of the day, we left as friends and co-writers who had a day of fun together.

Photograph courtesy Sean Earnhardt

That weekend I realized something profound. I am writing a book for teen readers but I don't have many teen followers on this blog. To rectify that situation, I am going to start giveaways that are geared directly to my intended audience. If you are between the ages of 12-16, start following my blog and send me an email at On March 15 (the ides of March) I will pick a winner. That person will receive an autographed copy of Blue by Joyce Hostetter

Parents, please note that you can't enter...but your children can!


JoyceHostetter said...

Looks like you're having a blast!

Great photo essay! Thanks for doing the giveaway.

Anonymous said...

Oooh! I know a certain teen who is creating a blog soon. I'm sure you'll receive an email and new follower!

Jean said...

Way to go, Carol!

And teens...this is a GREAT book!


Carol Baldwin said...

Donna- I bet I know who that teen is too! I was thinking of her when I wrote this blog! Hope she recommends this contest to lots of her friends!

elysabeth said...

Fun, fun - I love contests. That's my biggest problem too - is that my readers are of a different group and my blog is only followed by a handful of folks. I have 10 people subscribed to my email notification thing and have tried contests before but still haven't gotten the followers. I wish you luck with your contest and hopefully you will gain the right followers - E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad, 50-state, mystery, trivia series

Where will the adventure take you next?

Linda Phillips said...

Way to connect with that wonderfully inventive age-set, the teens!

Linda A. said...

Good luck with the new slant, Carol.

Linda A.

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