Yesterday, I did the first of three writing workshops at Hebrew Academy here in Montreal. I'm working with six Grade Five students -- all girls, and all eager to write! In my one-hour session, I spent a little time on writing tips, but then we moved into brainstorming. That's because I'm hoping by the end of our third week, the girls will have written a story, to which they'll each have contributed two short chapters. I don't want to tell you too much about our idea until it's ready, but in our story, six girls will get trapped together in a mysterious location. We talked about the kinds of girls who could be characters in the story. Someone said (I can't remember if it was me, or one of the students) that we should have a character who has a positive attitude. I was impressed when after that, Jordana (one of the students in the workshop) said, "Well then, we need someone negative." Very clever, Jordana! Characters who are opposites (we call them "foils") help to move a story along. I was also impressed when we were discussing how to portray a shy character and Eliana R (I mention the R because there are two Eliana's in my group) suggested the character could "hide behind her bangs."
My six students sure have a lot of energy. Plus it's clear that for them, writing is FUN!! And you know what? Sometimes a 50-year-old professional writer like me needs to be reminded of that!!