Sunday, March 27, 2011

Write2Ignite! 2011 Teen Track

 Write2Ignite 2011 Teens Ignite Me!

by Carol Baldwin
It never fails. When I teach teens I feel as if I receive as much as I give. That was my experience teaching twelve teens at the recent Write2Ignite conference.We came together as a group of strangers- some more tentative than others- but we all had the same passion: a love for writing.
Using activities from my book, Teaching the Story: Fiction Writing in Grades 4-8, students learned how to exercise muscle words, welcome revision, and jazz up their writing. Here is a sample of what they came up with:
The sentence, "I walked through a cemetery and heard eerie sounds.”
"I stalked through a graveyard and I heard bat wings flapping at the beat of my heart.”

Pretty spooky, huh? I guess they had cemeteries on their brains because I said I was stuck on trying to create a simile for one of my scenes in Half-Truths.
The setting is a graveyard that is being bulldozed to make room for houses. To a student they all said "eeew!"  and then proceeded to give me ideas on what they thought that toppled gravestones would look like.
One student thought they might look like fallen dominoes, but nixed that idea because it wouldn't create the right mood. (right on!)
Another said the graves would look like faces looking out on the cemetery
As we talked about the effort that goes into a writer finding just the right simile to convey an image, they got the point. Writing takes time, work, and revision. 
Interspersed between learning how to create original characters, settings, and plots, the teens also did a variety of dramatic activites. When we discussed character they mingled like old people, kindergartners, and their parents; when we talked about settings they pretended to walk through a swamp, a busy street, and on a mountain.

They collaborated.



and wrote.

By the end of the day, we left as friends and co-writers who had a day of fun together.

That weekend I realized something profound. I am writing a book for teen readers but I don't have many teen followers on my blog. To rectify that situation, I am going to start giveaways that are geared directly to my intended audience. If you are between the ages of 12-16, start following my blog. Please send me an email at to let me know you read this post on Write2Ignite! Then, check my blog for giveaways.


  1. Carol: My daughter Jessica had a blast in you workshop!

  2. SO glad, and hope she's still writing!!