Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bringing the writing life home

My 13 year old son had an assignment to write a mystery story for his Language Arts class, after studying Sherlock Holmes in school.

As part of his assignment, he had to have readers to offer critique on the story. He chose one peer reader--a fellow student, and then asked me to be reader number 2.

This morning, he was rethinking that, and was very hesitant to have me formally critique his story.

Maybe because I'm his mom, and maybe because he's heard me rant enough about bad writing, but maybe a little of both.

I did convince him that I would be honest, but not brutal, so he shared his story with me.

You know something? It was pretty good. He had a great hook and an interesting main character. The story had a clear beginning, middle and end. Yes, it needed some work. There was a bunch of unnecessary info-dumping and he used a lot of adverbs instead of showing with non-verbal 'beats'. But aside from those issues and some pacing problems toward the end, it was a solid draft of a solid story.

I gave him some examples of how he might strengthen the piece and he went off to his computer, encouraged and prepared to do the work.

Who knows--maybe he'll follow in mom's footsteps.

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