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    School - Not an Obstacle in Your Way

    School is in session or will be very soon, and now you're worried you'll have less writing time. School takes up a good portion of each day and might seem like it is in the way of your love of writing. However, schooling is not only needed in your life, but it greatly benefits your writing in ways you might not have looked at before.

    It's easy to look at the long hours school can last and then the homework that can follow and convince yourself to put off writing until "later." But by breaking down your day and really putting an effort into working writing into each moment you find, you'll soon find school is better for your writing than you thought.

    English - Of course this may be the best class of all for your writing because you will likely have writing assignments. Plus, this is the class where you sharpen your grammar, vocabulary and spelling skills. Take advantage of every assignment your teacher assigns to really give 100% in both the class and your writing. Many young writers use class assignments to create and build stories and articles that go on to published outside of the classroom.

    Science - The things you learn in your science class can easily become enticing additions to any fiction story, especially one dealing with science fiction or medical plots. Pay attention and keep those notes in your writing files, too.

    Band - What can you possibly learn about writing if you are in band? Perhaps a character could be in band or play an instrument and you could them describe it with accuracy from your own experience. Or, based on trips you've taken or people you get to know, you could learn more about scenes for future works of fiction. Or, what about nonfiction articles based on some band experiences? Perhaps your school band does something extraordinary to earn money for the group, or they've won awards like no other school. What if your local paper never seems to cover your band and accomplishments? Take initiative and write about band events and such, and then submit them to your newspaper.

    Reading - If you're a writer, chances are quite slim that you don't love reading. And being a reader, you know how it can improve your writing. When working in this class, pay close attention to the styles used by each author. Use them as examples for how you could write your own work. Experiment with the different styles and fashions, and find one that works best for you. A reading class offers a variety of different types of books, so that makes this class an extra plus for your writing education.

    Lunchtime - This is, of course, not a subject (to most), but within each lunch period is a handful of gems for your writing. Sure, this is your relaxation time, but you can also benefit greatly from many aspects. Between bites of food, there is dialogue that may lend itself to a character you are working on. It is said kids say the funniest things, and that means your fellow schoolmates. Plus, you can take note of how they eat (are they the type to taste everything, only eat each item before moving on to the next, or do they always eat the same thing?), what they do each day, how they act around different groups, and on and on. During this time of the day when everyone may have his or her guard down, you just might find the missing link you were searching for in making a scene or character become more real.

    There are many more classes that you can take advantage of other than those listed here. Each one offers a unique addition to your writing education on top of what it is originally meant for. If writing is your life and school seems to "interfere," take a closer look and combine the two for a more enriched experience.

    Scott offers an example:

    In my first few days of school, I received several essay assignments. One of those came after about 4 days where we each had to write how we felt on the first day of school. Since it was my first day in middle school (jr. high), I was very nervous. Rather than just say that, I included actual dialogue that really enhanced my essay. My teacher said he appreciated the action and realness of my essay, and I received a great grade. So don't look at your assignments with boredom. With each one, look at how your writing skills can make yours stand out.

    * Novel Notes: Speaking of school getting in the way, due to the busyness of getting used to the new schedules, both Scott and Angela have not worked on their books very much. However, Scott still seems to have more than Angela.

    Copyright © 2001 Angela Giles Klocke and Scott D. Warren

    Scott is Angela's teenage son. He has won several various writing awards. He maintains a straight-A average and when not doing schoolwork, he can be found with either a book or his AlphaSmart. Scott constantly dreams up new stories and shares them with his family as well as seeks publication. He has been published in Rainy Day Corner as well as a newspaper in Florida, The Williston Pioneer.

    Angela has been writing since she was a child herself. Her passion for helping other young writers is what has led her to co-authoring this column with her own young writer, Scott. One of Angela's earliest works, a poem, was finally published when she was 18, though it was written at age 11.

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ



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