After a year-long hiatus, the creative writing club is returning virtually, utilizing a new online platform called Nano-Wrimo. President Anna Garner and Advisors Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Gehring will be using this platform to create a collaborative writing community.
Nano-Wrimo, or “National Novel Writing Month,” allows club members to create an account and join the creative writing chat room. Then they will be able to write their stories or poems directly on the site, log their character profiles, peer edit and participate in other online activities. Club members will have the opportunity to submit a draft of a novel into the Nano-Wrimo competition at the end of November.
“I would really like to challenge them to write regularly and to take their friends' work seriously,” said Gehring. “There’s nothing better for the creative process than having someone to bounce ideas off of and get help from. I hope that they take that responsibility seriously.”Club members have the opportunity to seek advice from each other on how to improve their work.
“You have a lot of different people looking at your work that have different opinions and specialties, so they can help you improve in different areas,” said junior Virginia Rice.
Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Gehring started the club four years ago. Although the school offers various outlets and classes for students with artistic abilities, such as drama club, journalism and visual arts, the teachers wanted to nurture the talent and passion they recognized in some of their language arts and composition students.
“When I was teaching English, my favorite part was always seeing the different things students came up with in creative writing projects,” said Smith. “There’s a certain type of person who is creative in that way. I think it's a great opportunity for them to flex that creative skill.”
Successful creative writing requires more than just imagination. Garner said that creative writers must have determination and the ability to push through while also balancing their school workload. She hopes this community will increase their interest in writing and motivate them to persevere.
“To be a good creative writer, you need to be able to ignore your own criticism,” said Garner. “It’s good to know other people feel the same way. They can help encourage you.”
According to Mrs. Smith, writers put a lot of planning into their works. They must consider the plot, character and setting of their stories.
“The things they come up with are very conceptual,” said Smith. “The creative writers are usually very intellectual. They’re very deep thinkers, and they add symbolism and metaphors.”
Although the club members will mainly utilize the chat room and possibly Zoom to communicate this year, Garner would still like to incorporate writing prompts, character building exercises and collaborative writing into their club meetings. In previous years, Smith also incorporated brainstorming sessions, quick writing and short stories that exposed students to various authors and types of literature. So far, thirteen students have joined the club. Garner said that she is happy with a large or small club, as long as the members actively participate.
“The goal is to have people get to know each other and feel comfortable sharing writing, so that we become a real writing group,” Garner said.