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Monday, September 14, 2015

PROGRAM: Fall Line-up--Teen Writing Group

Well, fall programming is in full swing.  My branch is hosting a set of past favorites as well as a few special events. I thought I'd share these ideas and welcome some input about future events.

Back for another year are three staple teen programs.  The first I'll talk about is Teen Writing Group. We meet for an hour and a half every 2 weeks.  I've got an very enthusiastic and dedicated following. Plus, we always seem to add new members.

So... What do we do?  Last year, we focused on introducing some basic genres and a lot of creative writing prompts.  A big hit was interactive fiction using Twine. This is a free, open source software (no installation required) where writers can create story chains for an interactive experience a la 'Choose your own Adventure.'

This year we're going to follow up with a bit more structure.  I've introduced the groundwork for writers to explore a Multigenre Project.  This is something I learned about from an amazing professor. It adapts well and has the potential to be fun. My writers seem super excited and this week is when I'll bring in some examples.

If you want to learn more about this type of project, there are a few places to start.  My former professor, Dr. Tom Romano, is a forerunner of this writing style.  He's published several books and has a website complete with the basics of the projects and some examples. There are other sites detailing this process, but I'm partial to these.

Another staple of Teen Writing Group is the opportunity for my teen to interact with published authors.  I want to give them the opportunity to ask questions of those who are actually in the business and to get an idea of what not only the writing process but the publishing world is all about. Teens have Skyped with Katie McGarry (@KatieMcGarry) and Andrea Cremer (@andreacremer).

This week they'll get to Skype with Kiki Hamilton (@kikihamilton) and in October we're having a larger event where we'll chat with Jonathan Maberry (@JonathanMaberry).

The best part about this program is the enthusiasm it builds toward writing. A lot of the creative writing electives have been cut from local schools and there are so many teens for which writing is an outlet. I'm lucky to have had such success with this program.  My teaching background certainly comes in handy as does the support from our entire library system to promote writing.

In October, we'll host the annual teen writing contest called Our Own Words, for submissions in poetry and short story.  This is a system wide event and in November we'll announce winners at a ceremony where all writers get a chance to share their work.  It has been extremely successful in the past and many staff and teens are looking forward to it!

#teen #library #program #writing