Monday, September 10, 2012

Head of the Class

Last week I posted about that moment when an author says, "What the heck am I doing?!" For me, it was facing a class of 5th graders and teaching them about what you should do before crafting a story.

As you can tell from my post, I was terrified.

A few of you asked me to report on how it went after the fact, so I'm doing that today. There is really only one thing to say about the experience:

It was incredible! And I am SO happy I did it.

The kids were fantastic! We started off discussing the steps that need to happen before you sit down to write a story. I asked them what kind of things you should know about any scene/story/chapter before you start writing. We came up with these basic needs:

Who? - character
What? - plot
Where & When? - setting
Why? - character motivation
How? - world building

My son and I came prepared with a scene for a MG idea we came up with. I asked for volunteers and substituted names from the kids in the class for the character names in the scene. The kids were very enthusiastic about being included in the story...there was very nearly bloodshed, but we kept it under control. ;-) 

I read the scene with the kids names in it. They were so excited! After the scene, I had them help me identify the answers to all those questions. We had our own brainstorming session and came up with our own ideas for a scene and filled in all the needs on our list. At the end, I took questions about what I write, being an author, my book, etc.

Seriously...these kids were so much fun to work with. This experience was, without a doubt, one of the funnest things I've ever done as a writer. I can't even explain how happy I am that I faced this fear and agreed to talk to the class.

What are you afraid of doing this week? What great thing could happen if you decide to go for it?


  1. That is awesome Jenn! I hope you have tons of more experiences like that.

    This week, I'm doing my own little NaNo. I hope I get something written! ;)

    1. Oh! Good luck with your "little NaNo" Hope it goes well!

  2. Jenn, it sounds like your visit went great! Yay for tackling this fear head on :)

  3. Thanks for sharing this! I'm happy it went well!

  4. I would worry about having to put on a show to keep the kids entertained. Sounds like you did just the right amount of class participation to hold their attention. And since you were having so much fun, I bet they were, too. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thanks for sharing, sounds like you had an awesome time anyway despite the fear! Well done!


  6. I'm glad your experience turned out truly remarkable, Jenn. And in the process, you probably helped some kids to enjoy writing. Good for you!
    I know I need a new job. So, I've started applying like mad. This past week, I had two job interviews. They both were I was calm, content, and pretty much nailed the interviews. One of them I almost got hired and I'm waiting to hear back about the other one. Anyway, I need a new job but if I don't put forth the effort to apply and represent myself well at the interviews, how in the devil am I going to get a new job? Anyway, I am afraid that I won't get a new job or the one I'm waiting to hear back from. But who knows what will happen. If I don't try then I won't be given new opportunities.
    Ok, I'm totally blabbing. Sorry. Thanks for humoring my comment. hehe

  7. I'm sooo late to this but CONGRATULATIONS on your successful visit! It sounds like you and the kids had an awesome time. :D