Fiction Craft at Sturgis West
I just wanted to thank everyone who welcomed me at Sturgis West – I had a fantastic time and many thanks to Laurie Carah who wanted me to come in and “warp minds” in the first place. I also loved meeting the English teachers and it looks like I will be returning in the fall. Perhaps we could re-imagine The Great Gatsby . . . oh the places we could go with that!
When I do return, we will work on the physicality of fiction writing, from honing voices to building luminous scenes and staging action sequences. What does dialog require? When do you lead in? Trail out? How do you make the reader laugh . . . or cry?
But as I said before, without the daydreaming and the storytelling inside your head, there is nothing to write in the first place. At Sturgis, over the course of three days, I taught my AWESOME students the art of losing themselves to the story. How to ignite their imagination – through music, movies, books, and their own lives. How to build a true character who is not simply a one-dimensional shell, but a hero or villain that will rise off the page and haunt the reader for days.
It’s about daydreams and nightmares and finding your “What if?” question . . . and how crazy you get in answering it. Who are your characters, how do they clash, what scenes and phrases will make the story memorable? What is the story’s destination – that one, big scene that ties everyone together and answers the arch of the “what if”?
Anyone – ANYONE – can be a fantabulous writer. All it takes is a great imagination, a desire to learn the craft, and a beastly determination to lay your own dreams on paper. Because once written, your dreams and nightmares can be shared with the world. People you have never met, from towns you have never heard of, are suddenly cheering on your characters and your story. You can always upload stories for free to FICTIONPRESS and WATTPAD and have readers from all over the globe review your work.
I will be teaching a FREE, 4-class series of fiction craft classes for teens at the Sandwich Library in July! The spaces are limited and you will work on your own stories, flushing them out, tightening the storyline, perfecting your characters’ voices, etc. Contact the library for more information :)
Below are some of the students’ WHAT IFs (and ALL could become a story). If you were a student or teacher who sat in on my classes (and I think I saw 80 kids??), my email is always open – just shoot me a note through the contact page or find me on Facebook and Twitter! Oh yeah – and we have a feedback page from some of the students! Click HERE.
“What if the world turned into a video game?” – Shannon Glover
“What if our dreams where other people’s realities happening right now in a parallel universe?” – Alexis H.
“What if ink didn’t exist and when you wrote is was actually the paper bleeding?” – Jordan Turner
“What if dirt was actually tiny potatoes?” – Bali Morgan
“What if you found your one true love, and he was a ghost?” – Ada Garcia
“What if everything we said was truth?” – Liam F.
“What if we could touch a historical artifact and be transported back in time?” – Bryce Thomas
“What if your best friend disappeared and only left a note – and you had the ability to find her?” – Nicole Asquino
“What if the president was the enemy?” – ?
“What if the Internet had made books obsolete and only one person could save them?” – Brett Legeyt
“What if me and my closest friends could time travel?” – Tommy Andre
“What if Hitler had won?” – Rory Molloy
“What if humans lived underwater?” – Will Hicks
“What if the world ended and the two survivors hated each other?” – Emi Cormier
“What if we were all just part of someone or something’s dreams and we really didn’t exist?” – Alison Cifello
“What if elves, dwarves, goblins, etc existed, but instead of being set in the distant past the story was set in the distant future?” – Jack Doherty
“What if the government took away the ability to love?” – Alex A.
“What if we knew how many days we had left to live?” – Karon S.
“What if the world was different that what we thought it was?” – Vail C.
“What if music never existed?” – Dylan Lovelace
“What if the only way to talk to each other was through someone else?” Alex Grant
“What if we lived in a giant video game?” – Max S.