I've just come home from running my first session for teen writers at Lowestoft Library. I used to work as a teacher, but I'd completely forgotten what it was like to be at the head of a 'class' of teenagers. They're not as chatty and as forthcoming and I'd hoped. Don't get me wrong; they are nice girls, but it's like pulling teeth to get to the niceness. I understand that they were probably nervous, so I just hope they can come out of their shells a bit more at the next session.
I wanted to get them talking about writing and what they were interested in. It seems that, in the main, they like fanfic and horror/gore. I've never really understood fanfic, but from what I can gather, you take pre-existing characters (from popular literature/films/music) and write your own stories using these characters. They may be able to teach me a thing or two about that.
We did a 10 minute writing exercise, where I asked them to write about an event that happened to then during the day, to encourage them to use inspiration from their own lives in their writing. They all wrote really good pieces that depicted quite mundane things, but they were all able to add some humour and interest, and all in 10 minutes.
I set them a piece of non-compulsory homework to write 300-500 words about a place they know well; such as their room or their garden or a place they've been on holiday. I want them to use all of their senses to describe everything they can about this place. We'll see how they got on with that next month.
A couple of the girls gave me pieces of their work to read, so I'm looking forward to that.