IMG_1498.jpgI spent today working with students at LaurenHill Academy Junior Campus in Ville St. Laurent. LaurenHill Academy is a special place for me -- my friend Andrew Adams teaches there, it's also where I found the inspiration for my novel 121 Express, and my favourite sweatshirt says LaurenHillon it!

I did several sessions with Grade Eight students. Towards the end of my first session, I asked students to imagine a pair of characters who are real opposites or "foils." (That's what the students are working on in the photo I've posted.) A student named Alexia came up with an interesting pair of characters: a shy creative girl sitting in a park, drawing, and a snooty, popular girl named Amber. Now Alexia has to figure out how her two characters will meet. Once she does that, she will be well on her way to inventing a story.

I love learning cool names. My vote for coolest name today goes to a student named Luckie. Luckie told me she has two older brothers. When she was born, the first word her mom said was, "Lucky!" and that's how Luckie got her name (though her parents changed the spelling a little as you have probably noticed).

A student named Evy stayed after my talk to ask for some writing advice. What should she do, Evie wanted to know, when she loses steam on a story and feels what she described as, "obligated to continue"? I told Evie she sounds like a real writer -- and that I think she has two choices: she can put her story away for a bit and start something new, or she can start a new story altogether... and get back to the first one when she feels more ready to tackle it. Either way, Evie needs to KEEP WRITING!

I had a very special lunch at LaurenHill today -- that's because I was in my friend Andrew Adams's class (look for Mr. Adams in 121 Express!) and his students had something super exciting to show me -- they had made short DVD films of a scene in Chapter 11 of my book, On the Game!!!  It was amazing to see the scene I'd written come to life! Andrew had the students work with the part in the book where the protagonist, Yolande, gets a tattoo. In one of the short films, the tattoo artist tells Yolande, "Tell all your friends to come!" I asked the students whether that line was in the book, but apparently it wasn't. They made it up while they were acting out the scene. Now I wish they'd been around when I was writing the book because that line felt like it really belonged there!!

So thanks to all my friends at LaurenHill for making today such a great day, to the kids for being super audiences, for making their wonderful short films, and to Tara Fogel, head of the English department, for organizing today's event!