New community of teen writers

Club members Emiline B., Paul O., Tim M., and Emily G chow down on Poptarts while reading facts about story structure.

Club members Emiline B.(9), Paul O.(11), Tim M.(10), and Emily G.(10) chow down on Poptarts while reading facts about story structure.

A place for critique, community, and inspiration, Teen Writing club is a group of Oakwood Jr. and Sr. High students who meet twice a month at Starbucks on Wednesday nights to discuss different writing strategies and styles in the hopes of maturing their voice.

“I’m a person who puts vague things on paper and reads in an interesting voice,” Tim M.(10), a modest new Oakwood student who moved from a school of arts in Los Angeles, said. At club he is able to find a place to recieve critique and share his “interesting voice” with fellow teen writers.

Teen Writing Club is a library sponsored event began by Diane Bengson, Teen Services Librarian, in October of 2011. Being an avid writer herself, Bengson hoped to create a community for people that liked to write by leading discussions about differences between short stories and novels, ways to structure a novel, and how to create an engaging stories to name a few.

“It helps me get motivated to write consistently,” Bailey G.(10) said.

But the club is not as rigidly regulated as it may first appear. Though branched from structure, there are frequent turns into discussions about modern literature and the evolution of purpose behind stories. The group occasionally has speakers during their meetings.

“The best thing I get from it is being able to speak my writing out loud and get critiqued,” Emily G. said.

Lasting for about an hour and a half, the teens start off with a discussion led by Bengson, branching off on to discuss their own writing. The final minutes are spent writing, then sharing eachother’s progress over the past weeks by reading their written pieces aloud.

“I’m so far ahead of where I was,” Emiline B.(9) said, concerning her progress, thanks to the critique of the group.

In a hope to continue the club, flyers are printed and a legacy is in the process of being created. Bengson created a “Tween” Writing club for younger students, already collecting 18 members.

By Megan Reynolds

reynolds.megan@oakwoodschools.org

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