The write stuff
Eudora Middle School students form writer’s group
With a letter, eighth-grader Katie Donner gave form to a creative tide building at Eudora Middle School.
Because of it, students now meet weekly to share each other's poetry, journals and short stories.
"I just thought it was a good idea," Katie said.
Addressed to eighth-grade English teacher Bob Sailler, the letter contained 20 names of people who were interested in finding time to let their creative voices flow.
According to the letter, "During that time we could write, share ideas, improve other's stories and read them out loud."
The group has been meeting for almost a month under sponsorship by librarian Gretchen Schreiner.
"They wanted some face-to-face time," Schreiner said. "So we've been meeting one day a week usually just to see what they've written and give suggestions and things like that."
Since the first meeting, group members have found inspiration through writing in journals. Others have felt tickled by the muse in the form of poetry, and still others have attempted to master the art of fan fiction.
Although far from her main focus, eighth-grader and group member Kelsee Evans said she liked writing stories set in the world of Harry Potter.
"I wrote every day," Kelsee said.
The writers' group gives the students a chance to work on creative writing assignments for themselves and for school.
Sailler offered a creative writing contest where students submitted pieces in any written style on what competition meant to them.
Kelsee wrote the first-place poem in the competition.
Eighth-grader Taylor Johnson wrote a short story from the point of a dancer.
"I write stories a lot," Taylor said. "Sometimes I write for people, but it's really more what I feel."
Eighth-grader Hannah Pittman doesn't specialize within the group.
"I don't really write a lot of poetry, but I like writing in general," Hannah said.
Dylan Lathrom uses the group to get feedback on a different type of story.
"I like writing scary poems and scary stories and about the supernatural," the eighth-grader said. "Something they can read and be kind of scared, but they still want to go on and read the rest of it."
The group meetings give students a chance to share similar views on how they see good writing.
Group member and eighth-grader Mallory Waln focused on poetry.
To her, good poetry relies on emotion. She said she has succeeded if she actually puts the reader in the poem and makes them feel like they're in it.
Schreiner said she had already seen some positive effects of the group.
"I think any time students enjoy writing and get together and share their ideas, a lot of times it almost seems like you have to force them to do it," Schreiner said. "But I think it's very beneficial to them."
The young writers might be getting more exposure in the near future.
"We're kind of in the beginnings stages," Schreiner said. "We're hoping to have a coffeehouse later in the year where they can present their work to a larger audience here at the school."