So I was at Hebrew Academy again this morning, this time to do a workshop on setting. We spent the first half hour on theory. I explained how setting is a way of taking your reader with you -- transporting your reader to another time and place. I also talked about the importance of selecting sensory details in order to create an overall mood or impression -- and we looked at several YA authors' use of setting in their books.
After that, the students went to work -- producing some surprisingly excellent stuff, considering they only had about 20 minutes (we used the last 10 minutes for reading out loud). Danielle is working on a story about a German Jewish family forced to share their home at the start of the Holocaust. Danielle's narrator explains that her "older brother slept on the floor next to the armoire" and that she and her parents are "all squished into one bed." In these phrases, Danielle manages to transport us -- showing she's understood the use of setting.
While the others were writing, Charlie came over to show me his work. He warned me, "It's not done." Of course, I thought this was very deep! "Not done means Charlie's piece is a work in progress -- like all good writing. I told the students how my YA book On the Game went to seven (count 'em -- seven!) before it was ready!
And -- on a lighter note -- Shira (creator of Penelope Prune, whom you may remember from a previous blog entry), told me a joke on English teachers. Here goes:
John says, "I is...."
His teacher interrupts him, saying, "No, it's 'I am!'"
"Okay," John says, "I am the ninth letter of the alphabet!"
The moral of that is -- sometimes even English teachers make mistakes! Have a great day wherever you are!