This past Friday, I had the great privilege of working with 30 students at Broad Run High School in Ashburn, VA—students interested in creative writing and taking a full day from their regular classes for a “Fiction Intensive” workshop. It was a fast, full day, covering a lot of territory with exercises on building characters, fleshing them out, and putting them on the page; on exploring character through setting; and on both shaping an overall plot and crafting the scenes that build that plot. Whew!
Along the way, students not only showed amazing imagination through their exercises—brainstorming in exciting directions!—but also produced some fine prose—nicely polished even before the major revision work that they’ll do over the next couple of weeks in advance of Part II of our workshop. That day—Friday, February 2—selected students will have the opportunity to read their work to an all-school assembly. Yikes! (I’ll be reading too, and I’m feeling as intimidated by it as they probably are.)
Special shout-out to several students who contributed the most to our discussions and shared some of their terrific early work here: Ainsley, Anna, Ben, Elena, Fletcher, Jess, Kyleigh, Milo, Naomi, Pete, Rachael, Shay, and so many more I wish I could list them all here. (And I hope I spelled these names right! I was running late leaving the workshop and left my copy of the class roster on the desk!)
Thanks too to Beth Konkoski, Barbara Musselman, Amy Buckley, Michele Evans, and the rest of the English Department for inviting me to participate and hosting me so graciously throughout the day. And thanks too to Dave Spage and Chad Runfola, Broad Run’s principal and assistant principal, for their support for this program. I met each of them too during my visit, and I’m so grateful for their hospitality and support.
Looking forward to reading some of the stories that come out of these sessions—such great talent throughout this group.