Mentoring Young Writers

I teach a monthly class at the local library for young writers. 4th - 8th graders have been coming to learn about writing since January of last year. I’m starting to run out of things to teach. I get new kids all the time, but some of them have been coming since the beginning.

What are some crafting classes, crafting techniques, that have helped you as writers? I haven’t done much to simplify this course from what I would teach adults - my examples in literature are just Middle-Grade based.

Some of the things I’ve taught so far are:

Plotting using Story Mountain (It’s on an old MENSA site for kids, super cool)
Crafting a Compelling Character (how to build a character through interviews and the importance of knowing your character)
The Four Types of Conflict (how to use them in fiction and non-fiction)
A 4-Class Series on Creative Non-Fiction (how to tell the truth without sounding like a textbook)

And so on.

Yesterday, I taught a class about crafting the perfect villain for your story. We covered the different levels of villainy and why/how they worked for their stories. It was pretty fun. We covered everything from The Big Bad Wolf to Thanos.

So what else would you teach a room full of kids about the writing craft?


From the top of my head (and later on with the edit button :smiley: ):

  • World building / crafting societies/factions rather than characters
  • Compelling dialogue
  • Short story vs. novel
  • Where to find inspiration (e.g. 36 plot theory)

Looks like I could really use your course :slight_smile: sounds lovely!

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Things I think they would enjoy:

  • Writing a fight scene
  • Using subplots to enhance your story
  • The anatomy of a scene
  • Writing good dialog
  • Story genres and their differences
  • Creating character arcs
  • The hero’s journey
  • Revision and self-editing

So many good things to discuss.