“Is this good?”
“How do I make my characters sound less awkward?”
“What should my word count [goal] be?”
These are just a couple of the questions my middle schoolers asked me this week.
How to answer those questions?
Whatever response we give, it likely won’t be satisfactory to every student every time. Writing a really good story is difficult! But in some instances it might be enough to say, “I struggle with that, too, sometimes,” (the truth), followed by another question: “What do YOU think makes a good story?” Or, “what do you think makes this awkward?” Or, “where do you think you might start?”
It always surprises me how little prompting some students need to be able to talk through exactly what they need to fix and discover the strong and weak parts of their stories for themselves. And how perceptive they are, as sixth- and seventh-graders! It is a beautiful thing to witness.
One new (to the club) student even said, “Thanks, this was really fun!” before departing on Wednesday, with a smile on his face.
I tell ya, if you want to be inspired and motivated to write or embark on any creative endeavor, surround yourself with children and young teens. It is such a life-giving, meaning-making experience to watch students share their work so readily and seek advice from you as an educator, including you in their fictional and real worlds, revealing their individual personalities to you.
I LOVE it, and I hope you do, too.