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Writing Workshop #53, with William 

In this writing workshop, William asked participants to focus on an origin story of a great character


Madeline Kline
Madeline Kline, 12
Potomac, MD

Everyone always focuses on the end. Never the beginning. When people talk about my writing, their comments always have something to do with my endings. People love a strong ending. They love a powerful note, a note that resonates with readers. They always forget the beginning. Always.

If life were a story, childhood would be the beginning. The first few notes, the introduction to the song, or the part of a story where the reader goes around getting accustomed to the characters.

If my life were a story, I would have too many characters in my beginning to keep track of. Me, my family, the people in my young writers club, everyone else I’ve ever known. The thing is, life keeps introducing new characters and forgetting about the old ones. It’s almost as if the writer can’t make up her mind. Should she keep this character throughout the story? Should she add someone else as the best friend? Should she add a redshirt, a character who’s introduced only to dramatically leave the show?

But it doesn’t matter what she does. Because nobody ever pays attention to the beginning. I find examples of that throughout my life. When I get a bad grade on an eighth-grade assignment because I turned it in fifteen minutes late. It’s the end of the world, but it’s not. Because middle school doesn’t matter. Neither did elementary school.

So why does childhood matter? Why do I need to add extravagant language, beautiful imagery, outstanding metaphors, when nobody pays attention anyway? Does childhood ever start to matter?

The answer is no, I think, as I turn the corner, heading uphill toward my high school. I’m alone outside, with no company but my own mind, and my own footsteps. The sun decided to sleep in today. When I left my house, it was still dark, and chilly. Now, the sun is lazily climbing out of bed, yawning. It radiates enough heat to push my jacket off my shoulders, and I pause to tie the jacket around my waist, now that I no longer need it.

Read the rest of Madeline’s piece at https://stonesoup.com/stone-soup-writing-workshop.

About the Stone Soup Writing Workshop 

The Stone Soup Writing Workshop began in March 2020 during the COVID-19-related school closures. In every session, a Stone Soup team member gives a short presentation and then we all spend half an hour writing something inspired by the week’s topic or theme. We leave our sound on so we feel as though we are in a virtual café, writing together in companionable semi-silence! Then, participants are invited to read their work to the group and afterward submit what they wrote to a special Writing Workshop submission category. Those submissions are published as part of the workshop report on our blog every week. You can read more workshop pieces, and find information on how to register and join the workshop, at https://stonesoup.com/stone-soup-writing-workshop.