Using humor, storytelling and fabulous encouragement, I show students how to convert creative excitement into the action of dynamic story writing. Both at-risk and gifted students alike, learn vital self expression through the compelling loop of their own imagination. Writing is your secret self speaking!
Teaching a creative writing seminar at Humboldt State University, through the Extended Education Department, I have noticed incoming students having difficulties writing because they are often attempting to make their first drafts perfect.
Commonly, professional writers free-write their first drafts in order to get ideas flowing, and to plum the depths of their muse or unconscious to come up with material that is truly creative and engaging.
Thus, I have been offering a creative writing workshop that explores first draft writing (appropriate for grades 4 -12).
Using storytelling as a writing prompt, I start a story for the students, flooding their imaginations with images. At an exiting dilemma point in the story I stop and ask the students to write an ending. I remind them (this has already been discussed some before I start the story) that they will have 18 minutes of writing time, and that I'm not primarily interested in spelling or grammar. What I want from them is their ideas for how they want the story to end. This is their opportunity to make the story go the way they want.
Later, I often hear from teachers that even their reluctant writers participated.
After students complete their endings, they are encouraged to read their results out loud. I comment in positive ways about parts of what they read out loud to reinforce various aspects of good writing, i.e., good details helps to develop vivid characters, dialogue makes exciting reading, unusual events in stories make the reader what to know what is going to happen next, etc.