At the November 2019 meeting of the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild, Susie Strasser of the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, Creative Writing Department, asked if Guild members would be interested in helping students at her school. (Susie has since joined the Guild. Yay!)
Guild members Robyn Bennett and Bob Boze volunteered after the meeting and have since been working with her to help the school’s students perfect their writing skills.
In January 2020, Robyn and Bob were given twelve short stories from students and asked to critique them. Then in early February, they were part of a four-person Jury Panel that listened as the students read their papers. The other two jury panel members were instructors from the school, who had evaluated the students' papers ahead of time.
After each student finished reading, one by one the jury panel members provided their critiques of the paper, offering both positive feedback and suggestions for enhancements.
Before the first student read, the four panel members did a quick comparison of their critiques. Instantly, it became obvious how impressed they all were with the twelve papers. Each student had done an excellent job, and almost all of the suggestions for improvements were truly enhancements that an edit of a published writer might find.
Perhaps even more impressive was that none of the students took offense to the comments or suggestions, and each and every one of them expressed appreciation for the jury panel members helping them to become better writers.
In mid-April, Robyn and Bob put together a PowerPoint presentation on how to enhance Creative Non-Fiction using Creative Fiction writing techniques.
This was presented by Bob at the end of April, as the Creative Non-Fiction class kicked off its first session via Zoom. The session covered the three structures of Creative Non-Fiction which the students were to choose their first paper from.
It then provided example topics within each structure and gave examples of how show don’t tell, emotions, the five senses, and other fiction techniques could be used in each. Once again, the presentation was very well received as the students went off to select the topic for their first papers.
Next up, once on grounds classes resume, Robyn and Bob have offered to do their Editing Untangled Workshop to help round out the students' skill sets. That is, unless Susie comes up with another assignment before that.
Robyn Bennett gives presentations and workshops at conferences, library and community groups incuding at Zonta, writing guilds, and is a long-standing lecturer at Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand. Robyn writes contemporary romance and business books
Bob Boze gives presentations, and has chaired panels and workshops at writer’s groups (e.g. San Diego: Writers Guild, Editors Network and Romance Writers), and at conferences, book fairs, library and community groups. Bob writes contemporary romance and business books and holds a BS degree in Engineering and Project Management with studies in Creative Writing at NYU, William and Mary, University of Maryland and University of Delaware.
Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash