By Hailey Jacobs
Last month, freshmen and sophomores were selected by their English teachers to attend the Young Authors Conference, which was held at Westchester Community College. This event offered the students the opportunity to develop writing skills, as well as collaborate with other students from schools throughout Westchester. Attendees chose the workshops they wanted to participate in; each one involved a different skill regarding creative writing. For example, there were workshops that taught students how to introduce a character, how to write an introduction and a conclusion, and even how to write an entire novel!
I participated in a workshop based on introducing characters. This taught me how to do so without stating obvious physical features. I learned to instead talk about clothing the character is wearing. The professor explained his thoughts on characters, and then each student would introduce his or her own character. Whether it was a well known one, like Harry Potter, or a completely new one that was thought about on the spot, it was interesting to hear the ideas of others that I would not normally hear and see how they mix different traits to build unique characters. We are in English class with the same students throughout the year, so it was fascinating to listen to ideas from students from other schools.
Freshman Allison Stillman participated in a workshop highlighting the importance of poetry. She was excited to share that the workshop allowed her “to see and hear different people with stories that brought them happiness, pain, and sadness, all which were expressed profoundly in their writing. It was extremely impactful and showed me a side of writing I had never seen before.” In the workshop, each student wrote a poem, and shared it with others in the class. Allison viewed it as an eye-opening experience because “ being in class with people who come from such different backgrounds than I do and hearing each perspective really allowed me to understand the power of writing and words.”
Freshman Talia Schuster viewed the whole field trip as “a fun and influential experience where [she] learned many new things that will expand [her] writing.” I think the workshops will help to advance our writing, and we will be able to apply the new skills to our school assignments. Freshman Kallie Hoffman participated in workshops to learn how to make “her readers cry” and how to hook a reader from the beginning. Kallie is now ready to “hook [her] readers with my lies and make them cry in [her] novel.”
Overall, the conference helped to provide us all with new skills to apply to our writing. We were not only able to learn from the professors teaching the workshops, but also from the other students.