A Writer's Process: Middle School Perspective
Starting a story is a challenge. And then you muddle through the middle. Finally you have to find a way to close the narrative. Middle school creative writers in Meaghan Odell’s class just revised their short fiction and gave in person reading to a small audience in the secondary library. Each student learned more about their own writing process and what it’s like to present their work.
On drafting, Hannah says, “Even you don’t know everything about the story!” For her, thinking of an ending helped her write through the middle. Even with ideas in mind, writers are a little surprised by the way a story can go. Ashley’s approach was to consider the true desires of her characters and remain open to changes.
First drafts are always a mix. As the creative writers drafted, they considered which details or plot points to keep and which to toss. Feedback helped! Hearing from peers what scenes, character or dialogue is vivid lets the writer know which part of the story is working, and can guide revision. Even before formal workshops, writers shared early pages and talked through different directions their stories might go.
Many writers agreed that they want readers to empathize with the characters. A few writers tackled difficult situations or included unlikeable characters. But even minor flaws make a character relatable, mirroring our own imperfection. We recognize ourselves in characters who struggle, make mistakes and change.
Aashna wanted her story to offer a moral, believing that stories can promote positive change and peace in our world. Middle school creative writers explore the power of voicing important issues.
Part of making any art is sharing that art. Before the reading, all creative writers chose an excerpt to share and rehearsed. Even so, the nerves! “At the beginning I was nervous,” Calyssa says, “But you feel good after you’ve shared. You’ve accomplished something!” Nicole echoes the value of sharing an experience with an audience. She says, “Stories have meaning.”
Thank you to Meaghan Odell, middle school English teacher, and each of the middle school creative writers who shared their perspectives on writing and performing.