"Notice the power of your words to bring images and feelings directly into your readers minds and bodies."
I said this to the middle school writers today after a student shared some gruesomely detailed part of his story and we were all cringing and making faces at each other.
"It is a raw power and can be used for good or for...," I searched for a word other than 'bad'.
"...or for THAT!" One of the students finished my sentence for me.
A laugh went around the room and then the next student began sharing.
Some gore is allowed, as long as we know who the characters are, what the plot is, and how the conflict adds to the story. It has to make sense.
In the writer's workshop today, we heard...in addition to plane crash accident alluded to above...true stories about roller derby and the stranger-danger incident I mentioned in a previous blog post. We heard what seemed like realistic fiction, complete with familiar classmates as characters, until the corner-store shop keeper's eyes began glowing red. I looked around the room and the other students' eyes were literally wide and bodies frozen as they listened with rapt attention. We heard the space adventure saga that is both intense and humorous. There was the story in a futuristic setting about a character who had caught "the plague". And more.
I am continually amazed at all that we can write in such a short time.
Sarah Pemberton is a teacher, a writer, and the founder of Write Now!. Sarah lives in Portland, Oregon with her two daughters.