I attended the very first LoneStar.Ink writers' conference in Dallas earlier this year, and found it very helpful and a great value. I am working on revisions of several of my novels at the moment, because my skills have increased enough to make it worthwhile. I finished writing my seventh novel in January, a middle-grade fantasy entitled Simon and the Sky Gypsies. Stay tuned!
I offer writing classes for kids and teenagers from time to time. Check here for announcements of when my classes will be and what I'll be teaching. Here are my current offerings (all taught in Longview, Texas).
This class focuses solely on writing different types of paragraphs and is for ages 12 and up. If your student doesn’t regularly write paragraphs and feels discouraged about how to go about it, this class will help, and will lay the groundwork for longer essays. Types of paragraphs we’ll cover include spatial, descriptive, comparison, contrast, narrative, chronological, process analysis, definition, example, persuasive, and problem/solution. Students will also learn how to vary sentence structure and how to follow a checklist so they know if they are doing the assignment correctly. This class is normally offered in the summer as a two-week class, but I do sometimes offer it during the fall semester as a once-a-week class. This class will be held this summer (2015) from June 8-19 in Longview, Texas.
For a student who has mastered paragraphs, essays are the next step. I believe that by tenth grade a student should be capable of writing a five-paragraph essay on almost any topic. Students are often needlessly anxious when told to write an essay. This class should take away that anxiety by walking students through the process of writing five-paragraph essays. Once the process has been mastered, college writing will be a piece of cake, not to mention the essay on the SAT or college application.
We will cover the following types of essays: critique, opinion/persuasive, and research. We will also explain how to write a thesis sentence for any essay, and how to take your knowledge of basic essay structure and use it to write a paper of any length.
This supplementary writing class is for grades 9-12 only. It is usually offered in the summer but I sometimes offer it in the spring semester as a once-a-week class. It will be offered this summer (2015) from June 29-July 10.
This is a day-long letter-writing workshop, one of my all-time favorite things to teach, and very popular with those who have taken it. Although most people today fall back on texting and emails, real letters on real paper are still sent by some and treasured by the lucky recipients. You can’t carry an email around in your pocket or use a special text as a bookmark! If you have kids that still believe in writing thank you notes for gifts received and would like to do a better job, I can help. I’ll also cover writing notes of encouragement and congratulation, notes of apology, “newsy” letters and letters that might accompany a job application. I may even be able to arrange for overseas pen pals if kids are interested. We will also learn how to make envelopes. This class is for ages 12-16 and is normally offered in the summer. If more than six people want to do it, I will consider a second day to fit everyone in, as this class works better with no more than six. This class will be held on June 26 this summer (2015).
This is a 10 week course for 10-14 year olds that meets once a week for two hours, and concentrates on the basics of story writing. It is understood that kids may not be able to be there for every class, and that is fine. Homework should take 1-2 hours per week, maybe longer for older students. If there is enough interest, this class will meet for two hours in the afternoon on whatever day ends up being best for the most people. It would start in the middle of May and the cost would be $120 per student. Students who have taken this class in the past may take it again, as they will be creating a new character to write about.
Normally this class meets once a week for ten weeks, but if enough people prefer it, I would be willing to do it twice a week for five weeks--say on Monday and Thursday afternoons. This would mean that students would have to write more often, but it wouldn’t take up such a big chunk of the summer. It is okay to skip a class or two.