Tag Archives: teen

Sign up for Teen Writing Camp on Bainbridge Island!

We’re so excited for the 2017 Teen Writing Camp at KRL’s Bainbridge Island branch!

Calling all Kitsap area teens in grades 7-12! Join me and author Margaret Nevinski for a jam-packed week building your work-in-progress, creating new characters and stories, and strengthening your writing muscles. Every day, we’ll provide writing prompts and activities to stretch your creativity and range. We even have a special camp theme: Character motivation. (Why do our characters act, talk and behave the way they do? Let’s explore!) We’ll sharpen dialogue, delve into interactive memoir using Storybooth, and venture into ekphrastic writing with an art expert at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA). (Bonus points if you know what “ekphrastic” means!)Starting the week  in a dramatic setting, we’ll take over the auditorium at BIMA on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday, we’ll meet up at our traditional writing headquarters at KRL’s Bainbridge Island Community Room, where we will be among the very first to use the refreshed and renovated space! Prepare to be impressed and writing in comfort and style:)

Wait, there’s more! Margaret and I will provide one-on-one consultation each day, campers will share their prose in The Writers’ Circle, and we will produce our own Literary Magazine. If that isn’t enough, we’re also hosting a A Reading and Celebration of the Teen Writing Camp at BARN! The Friday evening celebration will feature our own intimate Spoken Word event for all camp participants. Invite your family and friends to hear your stories, chapters, poems, and/or essays. Dessert will be served. 

Our teen librarian Stefanie Reddy will provide yummy snacks daily. Your work-in-progress will thank you, and that shiny new journal will love the smell of fresh ink. We can’t wait to write with you!

Registration:

Cost: FREE, thanks to KRL Bainbridge Island
Where: Bainbridge Island
When: Monday, July 17, 2017 –
2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Repeats every day 5 times, and then again on:
FRIDAY EVENING FROM 7 TO 8:30 PM
A Reading and Celebration of the Teen Writing Camp at BARN

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Filed under Fiction Novel Writing, For the love of writing

Writer love: 2nd Teen Story Slam was amazing

Last November, a small circle of writers and I tried something daring. We asked local teens to come out and read something they’d written to a live audience. It could be a poem, a confession, a chapter from a novel in progress, or a short story. The uber-talented (and literary award-winning!) teens in our after school program weren’t so sure about standing in front of a bunch of strangers, but a handful signed up. We thought we’d have an intimate circle of intrepid readers, and we were cool with that. Well, our literary event, Teen Story Slam, WENT OFF! We packed a giant house wall to wall,  on the night of the World Series no less. It was an historic outpouring of enthusiasm for the spoken word. Naturally, the students begged us to do it again.
With the support of Island Cool Frozen Yogurt, the Kitsap Regional Library, and the Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network, we threw another lit party, and packed another venue. The stories were outstanding!
As a teen writing mentor, I’m so thankful to each teen for making this special event happen–again. It gives me a such a warm heart to see these young women and men choose to come out with their parents and friends and share their creativity.
The peer support was overwhelming. Local teens and their friends came early and grabbed the couches and floor space directly in front of the mic. They demonstrated such love, encouragement and acceptance of one another’s words and efforts. Wow! I’m just so thankful for them and for our Teen Story Slam team of organizers. It’s a privilege to share these kids’ writing journeys. Teen Story Slam is good for the heart!

Teen writing co-mentor Margaret Nevinski said, “What a wonderful evening! Our teens are so incredible. So wonderful to see families and other teen supporters show up. These community events are so cool.” There were teens who came to listen but not participate. With the encouragement of friends and the support of a rapt audience, a few pulled up stories on their phones and took to the mic for an impromptu reading. “Nick F. decided to read because his friends did,” Margaret noted. “So proud of our teens.”

Will there be a Teen Story Slam 3? Definitely! We will return in the fall to Westside Pizza for another slam. If you’re considering fun ways to raise funds for non-profit programming, I’d be happy to provide info about organizing your own Story Slam. Just comment below!

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Our 2nd Teen Story Slam is Coming This Spring!

teenstoryslamApril17The teen writers asked for it, so we’re bringing it back! On April 20, 2017, the Teen Story Slam returns. This time, we’re taking over Island Cool, the huge, popular fro-yo restaurant in Lynwood Village on Bainbridge Island.

Teen creative writers in grades 7-12 are invited to step up to the mic to read their own prose for 5 minutes. Anything goes: a short story, a scene from your novel or screenplay, poetry, or wild and wacky true stories. Just keep it PG, please. Every writer who participates gets prize. No competition, no memorization, just pure storytelling awesomeness. In partnership with Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network (BARN), the Kitsap Regional Library, and Island Cool Frozen Yogurt, benefits from the event will support our Teen Writers Workshop after school writing program, and Teen Creative Writing Summer Camp. (More info to come on the camp. We’re going even bigger and brighter this year!)

Beloved Bainbridge High School English teacher Noah Barfield will serve as master of ceremonies. Mr. Barfield is known in the community for his achievements as a playwright, and among his students as a comedian.

At the inaugural Teen Story Slam we had 23 intrepid writers who kept the standing-room-only audience rapt. Will you share your magical words with us in April?

WHEN: Thursday, April 20th, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm (Island Cool has offered to keep the party going if stories remain to be told, but you must sign up!)

WHERE: Island Cool Frozen Yogurt, 4642 Lynwood Center Rd, NE, Bainbridge Island 98110

SIGN UP online here, at the Reference Desk at the Bainbridge Library, or by calling 206-842-4162.

Registration is required to participate. Family and friends are welcome to come cheer on the writers! Donations will support the Teen Writers Workshop at Bainbridge Public Library.

*I co-facilitate a free Teen Writers Workshop with author Margaret Nevinski, MFA. Students meet for the Workshop on the 2nd Thursday of every month during the school year. We also host a week-long Teen Creative Writing Summer Camp each summer that is free to writers in grades 7-12.

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Teen Story Slam was a HUGE Success!

A packed house for literature!!

Our Teen Story Slam was a massive successful! It was a fabulous evening of story-telling from students in grades 7-12. Twenty-three brilliant young writers (and poised orators, no less!) read their original poems, short stories, and excerpts from their novels to a rapt, stand-room-only audience. Tables crammed with families, teachers, friends of readers, and lovers of literature offered huge rounds of applause and plenty of cheering. As  co-organizer Margaret Nevinski pointed out, “When you’re pulling in more people for a reading than the World Series, you know you’ve got something special.”

The Teen Story Slam was a long time coming. We didn’t pursue the idea actively at first because, well, we writers tend to prefer working quietly by ourselves, sharing our work with only a select few. But it didn’t hurt to ask the students at our Teen Writers Workshop what they felt about the idea. Margaret and I were pleasantly surprised to hear several were game. A small Teen Story Slam organizing team took formation, consisting of Margaret and me, Jenny Bloom (teen librarian), and Jennifer Hager (editor and BARN Writers Steering Committee). With the support of Bainbridge Public Library, the Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network (BARN), and Kitsap-area middle and high school creative writing teachers, we hosted our very first Teen Story Slam at Westside Pizza. We’d expected an intimate circle in a small corner of the venue. What we ended up with was a miracle.

One middle grade teacher, Brandi Bispham, created a special assignment just for the event, and was so pleased to watch five of her students take the mic with their prose. We were incredibly touched by both the students, and the community’s support. Westside Pizza generously agreed to donate a portion of the entire day’s receipts to our after school Teen Writing Workshop and our Teen Creative Writing Summer Camp! I’m so thankful for our community, and our teens! Here’s some feedback from our team:

Brandi Bispham: “I think you really tapped into a special event that you should continue, if at all possible.  Clearly, we have lots of young people in our community who consider themselves writers and have stories to tell.  It is also extremely meaningful to have an out-of-the-classroom experience to reinforce the craft of writing and story telling.”
Jennifer Hager: “I was impressed by the content of what they wrote and by the ways they delivered it.”

Margaret Nevinski: “Some of the 7th graders were in my workshops for younger writers in the past. So cool that they are now in middle-school and going out into the world to read their stories! I was blown away by their stories and their bravery. WOW!!! So inspiring to see them standing up there and hearing their stories. And what a great crowd.”

Jenny Bloom: “I think it was a great success, an amazing turnout, and the writing was really very impressive.”

Rebecca Judd, Kitsap Regional Library Branch Manager: “Congratulations on a truly successful night; I’m thrilled at the turnout and that so many teens felt empowered to read.  I believe it is a testament to the encouragement they have received from each of you.  Thank you for putting together an evening that encouraged teen voice in such an impactful way.”

Thinking about a meaningful fundraiser for your school or  nonprofit org? Consider hosting a story slam! 

Our Teen Writers Workshop meets on the 2nd Thursday of every month during the school year, and we host a week-long Teen Creative Writing Summer Camp each summer.

 

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Teen Writing Group Starts Thursday!

Calling all teen creative writers! It’s time for our monthly Teen Writers Group. We will meet the second Thursday of every month, throughout the school year. Our first meeting is:
Thurs. Sept. 8th
3:30 to 5:00
at Bainbridge Public Library
today
Looking forward to seeing returning writers, and hoping to see new faces. Please bring a friend who likes to write!
This free, drop-in group is for Grades 7-12, sponsored by Kitsap Regional Library and BARN Writers.
We’ll write, have a snack, and you can meet 1:1 with me or Middle Grade author Margaret Nevinski. We always allow time to share your work aloud, if you’d like some encouraging peer feedback.
For our first meeting, we’ll brainstorm our list of writing topics for the year. What do YOU want to learn about? Last year, we delved into writing scenes featuring: love, death, fighting, comedy, a first kiss, and school issues. We explored revision techniques, and prepping for publication. Should we revisit these topics on a deeper level, or venture into new territory? Bring your ideas!
See you this Thursday. 

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Memoirs of Teen Writing Camp

There’s something magical and heart-warming about teens who choose to set aside a week of their summer break to craft their daydreams and ideas into captivating stories. I had so much fun teaching at the filled-to-capacity Teen Creative Writing Summer Camp last year, I couldn’t wait to do it again this year.

The Teen Creative Writing Summer Camp is the brainchild of co-host and Middle Grade author, Margaret Nevinski, MFA. Just as the previous year, we had a full house of 22 talented writers from Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, Port Orchard, and Kingston, Washington. I can honestly say that the talent of our participants is astounding. Modern students understand instinctively how to begin a story, building to an inciting incident, and setting tone and character. I learn so much from watching them do what comes naturally.

What I loved about Teen Writing Camp Held at my beloved local public library, each day, we met in small Writers Circles, an encouraging and safe setting to read our work aloud. Often, the writers created fantastical worlds with strange creatures, but the problems their characters faced were very close to the teens’ hearts. Teens tend to write about what’s troubling them, or explore unknown territory, or sort out fears and anxiety. When a story is shared as fiction, the peer group offers solutions to the character’s problems, and in the process, help the teen writer feel supported, heard, and understood. By the end of the week, the bond between writers grew profoundly, and it was an honor to witness.

The teen writers submitted pieces to our annual camp literary magazine. This year, the writers chose the name THE QUILL. Teen Librarian Stefanie Reddy provided fabulous snacks, writing craft books, laptops, and a good sense of humor.
Margaret Nevinski agreed that camp was a resounding success. “I was inspired by the talent, ideas, and caliber of writing,” she said. “Several pieces came from the writing prompts we started out with each day, and others were from their own works-in-progress. Writers met with Rebecca and me for 1:1 consultations, and several chose to share their work with the group in the Writers Circle. We also had a good day at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, writing about a piece of art.”


todayDay 1:
The  writers had a mere seven seconds to scourge the Teen/YA section of Bainbridge Public library for a book. Their quest: find the seventh sentence of the seventh page, and write a story beginning with that one, random sentence. Some chose to apply the sentence to their work-in-progress. Others created fresh, new characters on the fly, crafting tense, energetic mini-stories.

Day 2: I lead a Fish Out of Water activity created by screenwriter Blake Snyder. This prompts deep, intricate story ideas, and often results in longer prose, including novels. The teens voted on proposed book cover designs for Lisa Manterfield’s A Strange Companion.

Day 3: Field trip! Our Teen Writers enjoyed lessons on Ekphrastic writing and book-making with Kristin Tollefson at BIMA. The stories that came out of the paintings, sculptures, and installations were astounding.

Day 4: The pressure was on! The writers worked one on one with me and Margaret Nevinski to edit and revise their pieces for our camp literary magazine, THE QUILL. Getting professional feedback is critical for writers at every level. Local editor Christina Tinling helped shed light on how new writers can open their work to constructive critique; “Consider any feedback a gift, not an insult. It’s assistance, help to make your story shine. Also, remember that each edit is just a suggestion, that it’s your story, and you get to make the final call. It’s not like English class, with your teacher marking something “wrong.” It’s just a “hey, I see what you’re saying here; it might connect more cleanly with readers if you put it/punctuate it/etc. like this…” Well said.

Day 5: The students learned the power of a deadline. All story submissions to THE QUILL were due, and the writers were eager to have us help them polish them. Some students were finished, and began new stories. We met in the Writers Circle and shared our best work. At first, some felt terrified about reading their private words aloud. But, in the safe and encouraging Writers Circle, our participants discovered they were on to something wonderful, that their peers admired what they’d written, and with peer feedback, they gleaned new ideas for taking their stories to the next level.

Would you like me to visit your classroom, book club, or libraBook Club or Classroom (1)ry? Learn more here or contact me at rjlacko (at) gmail (dot) com.

Live in the area? Margaret and I will be co-hosting the monthly Teen Writers Workshop at Bainbridge Public Library, the second Thursday of every month, 3:30pm -5pm.

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