Sunday, September 4, 2011

North Okanagan Shuswap Young Writers

Congratulations to all of the young writers who participated in the School District #83 North Okanagan Shuswap Young Writers Project.

At the outset of the project, I had one primary goal:

Have students write a short story and go through the experience of revising it a number of times (three) with the help of an editor (me).

In terms of personal growth as a writer, working closely with an editor has had the most profound impact upon my own writing. I've read dozens of books on writing and taken countless workshops, but nothing can replace the experience of working with an editor on one's own writing.

I wanted these talented students I was working with to take their writing to the next level. The way to do that was to go through a series of intensive revisions, re-examining their work from the broader aspects of plot, characterization, and setting, to the specifics of word selection.

I was wondering how open to such intensive criticism of their work they would be. Many young writers (and old ones, as well) aren't open to the criticisms of an editor.

These 40+ students that began the project ALL came through the revision process with determination and dedication. Every single one responded extremely well to the editorial critiques I presented and raised the level to their writing to stratospheric heights. Hats off to them all (and, of course, their very supportive parents!)

Thanks also to Shera Niewenhuizen for her organizational wizardry in pulling the project together and in the production of the anthology.

We're already looking forward to the 2011-2012 version of the project!