Tag Archives: writing conference

Writing Opportunities for Teens

With a group of ambitious teens in one of my co-op writing classes, I am constantly on the lookout for opportunities for them to stretch their creative wings. If you have a young person who likes to write, here are a few outlets you might consider:

Writing Conferences – Sometimes writing conferences, such as Write2Ignite!, offer workshops for teens as well. This month, the classes at Write2Ignite! will be taught by author Vonda Skelton and graphic novelist Chris Schweizer. They’ll cover everything from creating characters, plotting your story, writing good dialogue, and illustrating your own graphic novel.

Publications – There are several publications both online and in print that are looking for teen authors. Here are a few of them:

  • DevoKids.com – This online devotional site for children features devotionals, recipes, and articles written by both adults and students.
  • Devozine – A devotional print magazine is written for teens – by teens. Students may submit devotions and poetry based on a theme.
  • New Moon Girls – This print magazine for girls features articles, stories, and artwork by girls ages 8 and up. Issues center around a theme.
  • Skipping Stones – An international magazine for students ages 8 – 16, Skipping Stones features essays, stories, letters to the editor, proverbs, and riddles, as well as artwork and photography.
  • Stone Soup – Written by kids, this features poetry, fiction, book reviews, and artwork by students up to age 13.
  • TeenInk – This magazine and website work with teens to publish their writing, art, and photos.

Self-Publishing – This year, some of my students participated in National Novel Writing Month. So, after a few more months of polishing their work, we’re going to self-publish them.

  • Lulu.com – This is the site we’re going to use. It’s simple to do, and we can keep the books as a private project so only family and friends can order them.
  • CreateSpace.com -This is Amazon’s self-publishing company and easy to use as well.

Unexpected Lessons

This past weekend was a busy one. I had the opportunity to attend the Write2Ignite! writing conference, and I took two of my children along with me.  Three of their cousins attended as well. The youth class for middle school and high school students was taught by author and teacher Carol Baldwin, so  I signed them up, confident they would discover some things about how to write a story of their own.

And they did. My daughter Cassie, now 12, really enjoyed it and said she had learned a lot. My son John agreed.

What I didn’t expect, though, were the opportunities to work on other skills as well — life skills. When we arrived at the conference early Saturday morning, Cassie began looking around for her friend who was also coming to the conference.  The friend hadn’t arrived yet, though, but there was a girl about Cassie’s age sitting with her dad.

“Go over and introduce yourself,” I said, recalling the class in communication Cassie took last summer. “Remember what you learned? Just go up, tell her your name, and ask her what her name is.”

Cassie looked at me with her eyes wide, like a deer in headlights, as they say.  “Well…” she began, and I knew she was thinking up a reason not to go. Moments later, the girl’s friend arrived, and they were sitting together.

“You know,” I said to Cassie, “You can learn a lot more than writing at this conference. You have a chance to reach out to other people. Your friend is coming, but she doesn’t know your cousins — introduce her and pull her into the group. Then, you can go meet those two girls over there, and pull them in as well. What an great opportunity!”

“Maybe,” Cassie reluctantly admitted, and she went to find a seat until her friend arrived. That’s when I began scanning the room for someone I knew to talk to. Some people were getting coffee, some were reading, some were just sitting alone at a table. Then I caught myself —  it looked like I had that same opportunity.

Photo by taliesin

Write2Ignite!

This is my third year of being part of the Write2Ignite! Conference, and I’m so excited! This year, the conference will again be held at North Greenville University in Greenville County, South Carolina, February 19-20. And one of the best features: the Teen Track for middle and high school students!

This year’s Teen Track Speaker is author and teacher Carol Baldwin. Her goal: to inspire students to write the story only they can write. By the end of three sessions, students will have created original characters and placed them in believable settings, brainstormed conflict and plot ideas, and learned how to mine from their own life experiences.

And that’s not all! Carol will also show them the benefits of the red pen, as they learn how to edit their own work. She’ll also describe for them the path to publication and how they can become published, too.

If you’re also interested in writing, you could make the conference an educational experience for both you and your child! Although this conference is primarily geared towards Christians who write for children, there’s a lot of great information for those who write for adults as well. Workshop topics include researching,  creating characters, writing devotionals for adults and kids, crafting queries and proposals, understanding contracts, building a web presence, and more.

Featured speakers of this conference include Marybeth Whalen of Proverbs 31 Ministries, agents Jenni Burke and Les Stobbe, editors Cindy Sproles and Terri Kelly, and authors  Michelle Buckman and Jill Roman Lord,  just to name a few.

So if you have a budding author in your family, consider having him or her attend a conference like Write2Ignite! I’ve attended the past two conferences with my children, and we all came from it inspired, encouraged, and ready to write!

Write2Ignite! Conference

2writeThis weekend, I will be attending the second annual Write2Ignite! Writing Conference. This conference is for Christian authors who write for children, and I am really looking forward to it.  I know I’m going to come away from the conference encouraged and motivated, but besides all the good information I’m going to learn, one of the best parts about this conference is that I get to share it with my son.

The conference includes joint sessions and workshops for the adults, which focus on everything from writing short stories and magazine articles to developing young adult novels to submitting your work. Editors and authors will be featured speakers, and attendees can choose the workshops that interest them the most.

But the conference also offers a teen track for students in the seventh through the twelfth grades. The teens will attend their own workshops with Jonathan Friesen, author of the novel Jerk California. His goal for these classes is to increase the students’ passion for their writing, leaving them excited about their work and ready to tell their own stories. He’ll talk about characterization, tension, emotion, and dialog, providing the students with a lot of good instruction as they begin (or continue) to create their own stories.

My son John also attended the first conference, and he came back with journal pages full of ideas and a story he had just started writing. This time, he’s older, and I know he’ll glean even more from the classes. Not only is it a great schooling and learning opportunity, but what makes it so special, too, is that he’ll be taking the class with cousins, friends, and new acquaintances — a shared experience they can talk about later, and perhaps one that will help them encourage each other with their writing.