Teen and Young Writers Workshops

Move past your first draft with a published writer and a squad of other writers your age!

Really great writing doesn’t happen the first time your words hit the page. We often can’t even see all of the potential our ideas have until someone else reflects back what they see from the outside. A solid group of readers can help you see exactly where you can improve your craft, and help you figure out how to tell your stories more effectively.

Each workshop’s lesson focus will be determined by the needs of the stories submitted, and the individuals in the workshop.

Prior to the start of class, you’ll be asked to submit your story or novel excerpt that you want to be workshopped. You can submit up to 5 pages. (It’s fine to hand write and submit pictures/scans as well, or to submit a recording.) 

The class will take place via Zoom. Join from anywhere!

$125 members / $145 nonmembers

Two sections are available. Choose the one that is the best fit for you if you’re on the cusp, age-wise. If you’re not sure, send us an email at bewriting at wordcraftersineugene.org for appropriate placement.

Teen Writers (ages 13-18): 5 week Class, Tuesdays from 1-3pm PDT. (Sept 29, Oct 6, 13, 20, 27)

Young Writers (ages 8-12): 5 Week Class, Wednesdays from 1-3pm PDT. September 30. (Sept 30, Oct 7, 14, 21, 28).

WHAT HAPPENS IN WORKSHOP:

First half hour—STORY TIME

Each week we’ll select two participants’ stories to focus on. The writer is in the driver’s seat. They (or the facilitator if they prefer) read the story out loud. (The facilitator will share the screen, and each participant will also have a copy of the story). As we hear it and read along, we will focus on reacting to the story, and on annotating as many questions as we can. What is this story telling us? What kind of story is it trying to be? The writer will have time at the end to talk about what they’re struggling with or wondering about, and any questions they have for us.  

Second half hour—MINI-LESSON

The workshop facilitator will give some direction on a specific craft focus that relates to the story or its challenges, and we’ll have a discussion about that topic that will focus on excerpts from mentor texts. Drawing inspiration from published writers, we’ll have a conversation about (and some time to practice) how changes in our focus area (down to sentence structure and word choices) can have big impacts on meanings for readers.

Then we’ll take a body break. 

Hour 2:  

First half hour: WORKSHOP

Using the focus of the mini-lesson as a jumping off point, the readers will discuss the workshop story. We’ll talk about what we got from the story both mentally and emotionally, what questions we had, where we were confused. The writer of the story can shake their head yes or no, but their main goal in this section is to listen and take notes about what wasn’t clear, and what we wondered about. 

Second half hour: REVISION

We will pick a very small section of the story, and every writer in the room, will go at it, making changes according to the mini lesson to try and make this little part even better. The writer will leave with all of these options, as well as all of the questions the readers raised, and they’ll use this to inform their re-write.

Writers will all revise the story they submitted, and during week 5, we’ll have a zoom party where we share and celebrate all the changes we’ve made.

About the Instructor:

Leah Velez is Wordcrafters in Eugene’s Content and Curriculum Coordinator. Born and raised in Chicago, IL, she is a graduate and former high school teacher in Chicago Public Schools. After graduating from Northwestern University’s Fiction sequence, she went on to get a Masters of Arts in Teaching, and later, a Masters of Fine Arts in Fiction from the University of Oregon. In addition to her work with Wordcrafters she is the founder of the intersectional and interdisciplinary teaching resource group, Teach Write Now, and is at work on a short story collection. You can find her work in the Chicago Tribune, Delay Fiction, Voice & Vision Literary Magazine, and in Soteira Press.