I had the pleasure of spending my Tuesday with a few hundred aspiring authors and artists, one of which was my lovely ten-year-old daughter. I've been interested in going to the conference for a few years now so I jumped at the opportunity to chaperone. Who cares about the kids! I wanted to learn a few things.
The keynote speaker, Katie McKy, was eccentric and inspiring. She has led an incredibly adventurous life and I look forward to checking out her work. Her message to observe and listen to all that happens around you was well received. I mean, what better way to get great writing material? The environment and people nearest us are a story waiting to happen.
The first session I attended with my daughter was quite a disappointment though. The author spent most of the hour telling the students about his books and the family members that he used to create his characters. He distributed a handout that he didn't explain how to use and told the kids to start crafting a story. They were boggled, and so was I. To top it off, at the end of the class he asked the kids to help him finalize the plot of his latest book. Um, I don't think so.
Session two and three were MUCH better. The authors engaged the students and made being creative fun. Every idea was a good one and nothing was too crazy to be included in the discussion. That's the way to keep a child excited about writing!
I didn't leave empty handed either. If and when I teach another creative writing class, I have some new ideas to try. I'm already looking forward to going again next year.