Youth Writing Group

About 2 or 3 months ago, I helped to start a youth writing group in my community. Our group has kids between the ages of 10 and 16 who get together, critique each other’s writing (in a wonderfully supportive, helpful way), and play writing games.

I’ve been so inspired by the intelligence and humor and gifted writing and commentary from the members of this group. It is so much fun to be a part of.

For the last two meetings, we have had a blast doing round robins. The way this works is that everyone in the group starts with the same sentence and then begins a story with that sentence, writing only about two more sentences. The sheets are then passed to the right. Each person then reads what the new sheet says and adds two more sentences. This goes on until the stories are back to the original person. We laugh so much as we do this. I thought I would share some of these stories. The // slash marks indicate a change of author:

It was a dark and stormy night, but I still had my flashlight and the cabin’s roof didn’t seem to leak much. // Who, oh why, had I decided that going on an evening expedition would be a good idea? It was too late now, of course…. // I was planning my night different but then at the stroke of midnight, everything went wrong. It’s all my friend’s fault. She brought me to the ranch for a week, and “we” meaning “she” planned an evening expedition in the buggy outdoors. I’m not a nature girl. // I’d rather put on skits–endless comedy skits to make people laugh. That’s my idea of fun, not swatting at the mosquitoes that seemed to have infested our cabin. // With grim determination, I decided that even here, in this wet cabin, in the middle of the night, a person could perform. I turned on the flashlight, shone it on myself, and began singing “Over the Rainbow” while doing a simple tap routine. // Hooray! I thought, Hey, why do I keep saying Hooray? Suddenly I blacked out. // I woke up in a bee’s hive and tried to get out. Then I thought, Why am I here? // “The answer to that question, if you complete three challenges!” said a game host bee. // 1, collect 50 gallons of hone, 2, stinger or sword fighting, and 3, eliminate the evil Bozzz Bee!!” // “OK, one sec,” I replied. I pulled out my cell phone and ordered 50 gallons of honey. // The sword fighting proved not to be a challenge–it was just a bee, after all, but what about the evil? I looked up to find my friend laughing and clapping; was she the evil, or was this only the awkward end of a skit?

Here’s another story with the same beginning, so you can see how the stories diverge:

It was a dark and stormy night but I still had my flashlight and the cabin’s roof didn’t seem to leak much.// But still it was miserable. JoJo! I thought and got my dog and brought him in. // It was a horrible thought; my dog sitting in a cage. They would have to put him down if somebody didn’t come and get him in two weeks. So I decided that, even if I had to go to the depths of chimichanga land I would buy my dog back. Not a chimichanga. // Or maybe I would buy my dog and then buy him a chimichanga. I might as well buy one for me while I’m at it too! // And maybe a chimichanga land T-shirt too! Wouldn’t the kids at school be jealous! But I was wasting too much time in daydreams. // Now was time to get to business… I started making a plan in my head as I rummaged through my messy room for supplies. // My dog is man’s best friend. How could they take away man’s best friend? // “Viva la chimichanga!” I shouted, grabbing a leash, a collar, and a small bag of Dog-O-Bits and heading out the door. It would just be me and my dog, forever, … and maybe Crystal, if I could convince her to join in my quest. // My dog was locked in a cage just across the street, but as I neared the road, an ice cream truck pulled up. “Ice cream!” I thought. “This is better than a chimichanga or a dog!” I bought a rainbow blast and was so delighted by the flavor I didn’t see the truck back straight at me.

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