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An update from our twenty-seventh Writing Workshop!

A summary of the workshop held on Saturday November 7, plus some of the output published below

This week we discussed various techniques for revising our writing, reminding ourselves that the process of writing is more often than not a process of re-writing! We looked back over some of the previous writing challenges to think about some of the techniques to use for polishing an existing piece of writing: Would some alliteration work? Could some additional depth emerge from more attention to the landscape or setting? More specific description of character?  Writing form a different perspective? Adding a prequel or a sequel? We discussed all these ideas and more, plus the students had some great suggestions–such as changing the tense a piece was written in.

The Writing Challenge: Use some of the techniques we discussed to rewrite, revise, expand, contract and improve one of your existing pieces of writing.

The Participants: Peri, Lena, Lina, Nova, Liam, Jonathan, Elbert, Charlotte, Teagan, Lena, Maddie, Madeline, Anya, Hera, Angela, Tilly, Rithesh, Samantha, Charlotte, Georgia, Lena, Sadie, Anna, Ava, Charlotte, Emma, Enni, Helen, Janani, Juniper, Keyang, Ma'ayan, Margaret, Olivia, Ever.

Peri Gordon, 11
Sherman Oaks, CA

Eyes (Revised)

Peri Gordon, 11

I lay in my bed late one night, eyes shut tight, trying to fall asleep and failing. I heard the rain whispering outside, the cold, dark, dank rain. I was unusually tense. The brown quilt cover on my bed was a weight pressing down on me. Not a friend. And not a protector from the cold. I breathed in and out and tried to think pleasant thoughts. But every time, an image in my mind would transform into another. A lake would become a raging ocean storm, a rainbow would split into two giant…what were they? I opened my eyes, and I could still see them. They looked like two eyes themselves. Then they disappeared. I must have imagined it, I thought. But…they were so real.

I got out of bed and went into the kitchen. Got a snack. Chills were zipping up and down my spine; I was convinced that they would paralyze me. I looked both ways every two seconds like I was crossing a street. I couldn’t prohibit myself from checking for danger, though I didn’t know why. I had never believed in any sort of fantastical dangers before. Dreaming? I pinched myself. My hands were cold. I flinched at their touch, as if it were someone else’s. I did not wake up.

I took a deep breath, getting a mouthful and nose-full of the chilled air surrounding me, and went back into bed. Shut my eyes tighter than I normally do. Pinched myself again. No I didn’t…my hands were stiff at my sides. Think pleasant thoughts. I saw the rainbow split into the two eyes again, and I opened my eyes, and they were still there. They were beautiful in a way, shining in the dark, but they were piercing and looked at me accusingly. I wondered what the owner of those eyes was thinking about. Maybe about capturing me and taking me to some terrible, frigid place far from here. I hated the cold, and it seemed to be out to get me tonight.

And then the eyes vanished again. My heart was beating rapidly. What was going on? I sat up. My lungs were breathing rapidly. What was going on? Maybe I was afraid of the dark. My eyes were blinking rapidly. What was going on? I tried to walk towards the light switch, though my legs were trembling. Rapidly. The eyes appeared and melded into the face of my least favorite movie villain from childhood. Smooth, pale, and smiling a thin-lipped, malicious smile. Long, dark hair. And the eyes made it worse. I shrieked. That alerted more eyes, more pale villains from nightmares years ago.

Then I became one of them.

Lina Kim, 10
Weston, FL

My Minecraft Journey: Autumn

Lina Kim, 10

Hi! My name is Autumn, and I’m going to tell you about my journey to the village. I grabbed some food, saplings, and supplies, and set off into the forest. I walked for a couple of hours, and got hungry. It was nearing nighttime, so I built a shelter and planted saplings. I went mining, and wrote a little in my journal. I placed down my bed and went to sleep.

In the morning, I picked up my house and put it in my inventory. Minecraft is overpowered that way. I traveled a little further, stopped for a snack, and continued on my way. Later, I built an iron golem to protect me from monsters. I finally arrived, and resolved to improve the village, seeing as it had tiny houses and only some jobs. There were no police, no pet stores, no hospitals, and no food shops, so I made all of those. I also built a wall to protect them from zombie sieges.

Once, I was selling apples from my trees, and a villager came up to me and asked for an apple, promising me much more money than what I needed. I gave him an apple, and he fished through his pockets. His pale blue eyes widened, and he handed back the apple with trembling hands. He ran off. I shrugged. Oh, well. If he doesn’t want the apple, he doesn’t want the apple.

I went to my house, and I saw someone on my glass roof trying to break it. I climbed up there with my spare grappling hook- my other one was missing- and pushed him off the edge. He died and dropped several riches. And my grappling hook. It turns out that this guy stole all of the money from the man at my apple stand. Once he respawned, I put the robber in jail and gave the money back to the victim.

Eventful, huh? Well, I was writing a story when someone knocked on the door. I opened it and a man asked for a job. He was a skilled doctor back in the city, but was fired when he couldn’t save someone. So, I built a hospital and hired him. I also dug a mine and built a wall around my house. When I had to go home, Players challenged me to things. I won each and every one! Well, that’s my story. Bye!

(P.S. I’m a unicorn/human hybrid. Don’t ask me how it happened.)

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