In a last-minute turn around Friday, my high school fiction writing class zoomed to life. And here I thought I was going to have 2016-17 off. Nope, it’s a go. Time to introduce the world of commercial fiction writing to a new group of young writers. Hooray!
The students are excited, and so am I. I still don’t know precisely how many I’ll have, but I’ve spent today getting ready. So far the class consists of only guys. Isn’t that great? I’m hoping some of the girls will have an opening in their schedules. I’ll find out Monday.
Truth to tell, I benefit more than than any student. I read the articles aloud along with them; I watch the TED Talks and selected episodes of OPB’s On Point. I enjoy analyzing the movies. And as I add to their notebooks, I again interact with quotations–wise advice from authors who have come before. I need all the reinforcement I can get.
Our class sessions are focused on growth. I attempt to duplicate my own early experiences with fan fiction, in which I fearfully shared my writing with the wide world. Wonder of wonders, I discovered that I could be entertaining. In the same way, I read aloud each student’s story — and their classmates love listening. Even now, former students reminisce about favorite stories. Storytelling is powerful. There’s latent talent, but there’s also skill. And craftsmanship is something that can be learned.
Why not indeed.
Former students have told me that this was their favorite high school class. Truthfully, that’s because of them, not me. “This class is as good as you make it,” I say when we begin in September. And my students never disappoint.