How I Teach Writing
Step 1: Assemble group of teenagers who like to write in a room. Usually here.
Step 2: Do a bunch of horrible ice-breaker/mixing exercises to make them move around and act less tense.
Step 3: Make the class about books that everyone loves. (That should probably have been Step 1. Anyway.)
Step 4: Sneak in little lecture about elements of fiction. Apologize for being sort of English class-y.
Step 5: Dork out about how much you love those books! Talk about them a lot! Mix kids up into different groups to discuss various geeky questions about beloved books. Make lists. Debate stuff. Talk about the movie version. Talk about things that suck.
Step 6: Use the word ‘suck’ a lot. Use the word ‘awesome’ a lot.
Step 7: Do a few writing exercises based on discussion questions ( like “Who is the bigger hero, Harry or Snape?”or “What are you sick of seeing in dystopia stories?” or “How would you solve the Werewolf Nudity Problem in your own story?”)
Repeat Steps 5-7 until the class ends. Hope they go away happy! Hope they feel excited about writing! Even though you haven’t taught them ‘how’ to do it.
Because, shhhh. Don’t tell anyone, but I don’t think anyone can teach you ‘how’ to write. You can make a student see writing as a worthwhile pursuit. But doing the actual writing? That you have to teach yourself.