Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Summer Workshop

I've been having a lot of fun this week setting up summer projects for my teenagers.

Last summer my 15yo daughter Patience took an online summer class on short story writing. It was a great class and she learned a lot. All of the students ended up producing a story which the class "published" for the families. Her story was among the shortest, but was really moving. Most importantly she learned a lot while having a great time working that hard. This summer she wants to work on writing a novel. We haven't found a class that would be suitable so we're making up our own. Since she didn't break 5K on her NaNoWriMo, she's accepted that she's not going to write the whole thing in the couple of months we spend working on this.

My elder daughter Prudence did win NaNo this year. Sadly, she picked up a virus and lost all the data. (Let her be a warning to you all. Back up your work now!) She wants in on this. It's her chance to rewrite the story she lost when she didn't heed my numerous reminders to backup her work.

We're going to follow somewhat the outline of the short fiction workshop. I want to have a  novel we read, instead of several short stories. We'll also read on about craft. I have about a dozen writing books on my shelf. I'm thinking maybe Bird by Bird or Writing Down the Bones. Or maybe I'll get a copy of Stephen King's book? It's been a long time since I read it, but I remember it being smart, but a straightforward read.

Next we need to have some writing exercises or prompts. I have a couple of books with prompts and I have Ursula LeGuin's Steering the Craft. It has what seem the perfect type of exercises for our purposes. They are short and focused. But I've never used them before.

The thing I am most undecided on is the novel we'll read. I may end up with two different novels. I read fast enough that I won't mind. Prudence is certain that she wants a more adult novel since she's outgrowing a lot of her old YA favorites. She wants a Paranormal/UF book though and that is my problem. Much of that genre is  a bit more adult in theme and sexual content than she'd enjoy, even if she and I weren't planning to discuss the book. I haven't read much of that sort of book for several years now and I feel a bit out of touch.

I have been eying Kelley Armstrong's Waking the Witch. Prudence loves the Darkest Powers series so I know she'd enjoy Armstrong's writing, but I don't know anything about the new series. I'd be comfortable with a bit of sex, but anything to hardcore is probably going to lose her. She also really loves Melissa Marr and Ilona Andrews.

Any thoughts on Waking the Witch? Any other suggestions for books?


  1. I have no recommendations for you sadly, since I don't read that kind of thing but I do know that Dear Author did a review of Waking the Witch. You could check it out and see what they say maybe?

  2. How fun!

    I recommend Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series if you're looking for Urban Fantasy that doesn't have any hardcore sex scenes yet has a nice dose of romance.

  3. I don't have any suggestions as I don't read either genre, but good luck! Sounds like a fun time with your kids.

  4. Jackie: I should have looked at DA. It got a pretty nice review and I might give it a try and see what I think.

    Evangeline: I totally forgot about Mercy. And there's a new title in the series coming out this spring. She's read Anna and Charles' books so she might really like that idea.

  5. Thanks for stopping by anyway, Kat. I'm really looking forward to our summer now.

  6. No suggestions, but what a great thing to do :-)

  7. "Magic Lost, Trouble Found" doesn't really have sex until the third book (I think) and even then it's not a lot. The fifth book just came out and I LOVE it.
    Mercedes Lackey also has her Elemental Masters series which is urban historical fantasy. I've loved it. Plus most are inspired by fairy tales so it'd be fun for discussing inspiration and retellings.

    Good luck!

  8. Thanks so much for the rec! Not sure what we'll do this summer, but Prudence is a voracious reader, so I love series!! At 17yo, I don't think a bit of sex in a series is going to do her irreparable harm!