2013-1-10: Information Station Column
Writing Club at the Sioux Center Public Library
By Hillary Fuhrman
Many programs at the library go one quietly month by month without having their praises sung. The Sioux Center Public Library Writing Club for teens is one of those programs. I asked Erin Eggebeen, who is in charge of teen services at the library, a few questions about the writing club and what happens when those teens get together.
HF: When does writing club meet?
EE: The second Tuesday of the month.
HF: What age group is it for?
EE: Grades 5-12.
HF: What kinds of things do you do at writing club?
EE: We have a short mini workshop related to some aspect of writing (plot, setting, characters, tone, etc.) but in the majority of the meetings the group shares what they are working on with each other and get feedback or get creative ideas from others when they get stuck. We occasionally have a monthly challenge or a group project that the teens will work on, too.
HF: What is your favorite part about writing club?
EE: I love listening to their stories because the talent of this group is amazing. And they are just such a joy to be around. The group we have now is truly inspiring.
HF: Why would you encourage other teens to participate?
EE: If you like to write or are an aspiring author, getting feedback from your peers is an important part of the process. Any author I’ve talked to will tell you that it is well worth it to put yourself out there and share your work with others. This provides a fun, safe place to do that because we have very strict rules of conduct so that each person can get the necessary feedback without having to worry about being cut down or treated poorly.
HF: Do the teens who come just write for fun or do they sometimes do things with their writing, like enter contests?
EE: Most of them are pretty serious about their writing, and some of them do enter contests and are really geared toward getting their stories published. However, if someone just liked to write for fun they would be able to fit right in with writing club and would be welcome to join.
HF: Is there anything else you would like people to know about writing club?
EE: It is inspired by the group the Inklings that C.S. Lewis, JRR Tolkien, George McDonald, and several others were a part of. I liked the idea of having an informal group of friends that helped each other out in their writing on a regular basis and try to keep that as the overall model for the bulk of what we do. We just meet in a library instead of a pub, though we have ventured out to coffee shops before. I would probably also note that attendance at every meeting is not required and it is set up so that if you have to miss one month for some reason it doesn’t really affect the flow of things. However, the more people there are to give feedback to writers, the more helpful it is so attendance is a good thing!
One of the teens who participates in the Writing Club graciously agreed to share some of her work to advertise what cool things teens can come up with!
Excerpt from the story “What a Dollar Fifty Can Do”
By Abbey Bos
The rain fell hard that summer night. Deep in the city of Brooklyn, a young girl stops near an abandoned building. Her green eyes peer through the gaping hole in the window, tracing the details of the old home. Slowly, she grasps the cold door handle, turning it slightly. The soft creak of footsteps echoes as the girl makes her way into the house. Memories flood her mind as she passes by the scars of her past. Her heart races with each step she takes and her breathe is short and sharp. As the girl makes her way to the back of the house, she discovers what she had been looking for, a photo of a decrepit man. His eyes are shining blue with a hint of green on the edges, and his skin is slowly sagging underneath his eyes. His hair is flecked with gray; his lips are cracked and wrinkled. Tears streak down the face of the girl as she notices a note on the taped to the back of the photo. The note reads, “For my Princess.” Instantly, the girl collapses not knowing how to bear the pain, the pain of losing everything. She pulls her knees to her chest and closes her eyes. She listens to the sounds of the rain pouring hard on the deserted house, its soft drops soothe her troubled soul. Her eyes eventually succumb to the darkness, and she falls into a troubled slumber.