Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Stories the kids are telling these days

It is once again the end of a semester. When you teach in year-round school you get a lot of ends of the year. This time I have the added bonus of grading papers while I finish the yearbook, but fortunately I have an amazing staff that has its shit completely together so all I have to do is proofread, double check and send in pages. For the first time I won't have to take home work for the vacation.

As for the papers I have to grade, I've finished everything except a set of short stories that was the culminating project for my 11th graders. They wrote some pretty neat stories, and three girls actually teamed up to write different stories about the same characters. I've never seen that before. They came up with a love triangle and each girl wrote a story from the perspective of a different person in the triangle. There are some inconsistencies - how a character dies changes from story to story and not in a way that it was simply a perspective issue - but it was still kind of cool when I realized I was reading about the same characters.

The main problems this time around are 1) way too much passive voice and separation of character from the action and 2) showing not telling.

By "separation of character" I mean that they keep saying things like "His face appeared to be angry" instead of just saying "He looked angry." Of course the better way would be to describe a scene in which we saw the anger, but despite my harping on the subject, a lot of kids still don't get how to do that.

Still, there's some good stuff here. So far I've had two rapes, three suicides, one drug overdose, one molested 9-year-old, a teenage pregnancy and one vampire. And I've only graded six stories.

I saved for last the one girl in my class who is just a fantastic writer. Everything she writes is above and beyond anything I've seen from these kids before. Hell, she's way better than I was at that age, and she admits she's thought about being a writer. Still, she seemed really pleased and surprised that I praised her stuff so much. I hope she writes some best selling novels. Maybe she'll let me option them for a dollar.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a name, even if it's a fake name. And try not to be an asshole.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.