Last week was a bit of a struggle. In the first place, I have to come to terms with the fact that kids don’t work at the same speed. While the 11 year old may have a 6 or seven page story, the 8 or 9 year old may only have a two or three page story. If the kids are ok with that, then it has to be ok with me. And by extension, their parents. In an after school program, we can’t expect the same output as a school can. Plus, who says that a short story has to be 5,000 words? Mine aren’t.
In fact, on Thursdays, we don’t even have a page limit. In Scene Stealers, we have just finished working on a scene that focuses on dialogue, and gives the back story for two characters that the original author doesn’t give readers. The difficulty there was trying to convey anger in a character who doesn’t really show anger. As my student explained, the character gets angry, but it’s a cold anger that simmers underneath the surface. I know from my own writing, that’s hard to do. For the last two classes of Scene Stealers, I am having my student explore expository writing. Wait, expository writing you say? Why are you focusing where writers generally dislike to tread, you ask? Writing is no different than any other art. In painting, Picasso started out drawing the human figure “the right way” before he could move on to the works of his later periods. I saw an exhibit at the East Wing of the National gallery of his pencil and charcoal drawings that he did as a teenager, and they bore no resemblance to his adult work at all. Writing is the same. You can’t break the rules until you know how to use them correctly.
Meanwhile, back at the Thursday Short Story Class, as with my last session, I have taken over the writing, as I find that saves time and it allows the student to come up with the ideas faster. But I anly do that if it’s one kid. In that class, we have gone on vacation with two cousins to Mexico, and gotten lost in a canoe. I’ve had to suspend my disbelief a bit as our protagonists have been caught by a major wave, and washed onto a sandbar. Ah, the imagination has been running wild, indeed.
On Fridays, the boys have been positively prolific. The brothers from WIS are going to treat us to two stories a piece, it seems. One has finished both stories and the other may treat us to to a story outline as well as the story that I am going to publish. Here too it has been a struggle. Here, I have been anxious that the boys aren’t working at the right pace. But, who am I to judge. As long as they are having fun, I have to come to terms that it’s their story and whether they finish it or not is not the issue. I have been assured that I will get the stories this week.
On Saturday, we are going to clean up an oil spill off the coast of Thailand and fix the damage from an earthquake and tsunami. As soon as I figure out how to do that. Ah, Wikipedia, sometimes you are erroneous, but sometimes, you are just the resource to get to the fact of the matter. Well, that’s all she wrote. Stay tuned for our next inkreadable installment, where in we wrap up the current session and start the next.