I'm busy working on the final copyediting of the ten finalists' stories for the Redlitzer Junior Anthology 2014. As this year's editor I had the privilege of running a full-day writing and editing workshop with the finalists last month at the Victoria Point Library in Redlands City. With the help of judges and mentors, Louise Cusack and Marianne de Pierres, the junior writers worked on their rewrites in three small groups.
The day began with a warm-up exercise and editorial feedback on their stories. Overall the 10-14 year olds used consistent point of view, good opening hooks, strong endings/twists and imaginative world building. General weaknesses were paragraphing and the setting out of dialogue. I wonder whether schools are teaching paragraphing with an empty space between each. That's fine for websites, emails, letters and report writing, but creative writing and the publishing world require true paragraphing.
We then looked at Editing a Scene, working on a Scene Overview sheet after a reading of the first scene from my upcoming children's novel, Snap Magic. The junior writers had to fill in questions on characters, purpose, action, setting, sensory details and hooks in relation to their own story.
This was followed by Strengthening a Character. After showing the junior writers examples of my character profiles, they worked on their own, looking specifically at emotions, abilities, personality, physical attributes and mannerisms.
Finally, before they began their rewrites, we worked on Strengthening Plot and Structure. Using a Story Plan and Story Editing Checklist we read and discussed the parts of a story, the goals, obstacles and resolution.
Somewhere in between all this we also managed to fit in a huge cooked breakfast and lunch at the cafe next door!
Tomorrow I'll be putting up my Top Ten Tips for Story Writing (for junior writers). Tune in again!