Amid the hustle and bustle of math homework, AP World History essay rewrites and lit blogs, a committed group of students engage in eager discussion regarding their latest short story, poem, or fictional narrative.
Founded mid-way through last year, the Creative Writing Club seeks to accomplish its goal of providing an environment in which enterprising writers can share ideas pertaining to their literary works in progress, and in turn receive help from others in the room.
Club president and founder sophomore Peter Ellison pursues an engaging and active setting for his fledgling club.
The club meets bi-weekly in English teacher Mike Palshaw’s room. Monday meetings in Room 23 teem with discussion of recent reads and practical applications of skills and techniques that appear in the books, which are in turn applied to students’ own creations. Thursdays feature a more structured and academic style involving student-conceived and -presented lessons on topics such as character development and point of view.
“We discuss books and series that have strong character development and story arc evolution,” sophomore Elizabeth McRae shares. “It’s a huge help to me when I am struggling to begin a new story to be able to pull ideas from these discussions.”
Currently writing a story about a massive city created by a world devoid of resources and how the human population reacts to the lack of space, sophomore Jack Cordell has always been interested in writing. Yet he recognizes the unique opportunity presented by the Creative Writing Club.
“As I am writing my story, I can’t imagine how much more difficult it would be without receiving feedback from my peers in the club,” Cordell notes. “They are invaluable when it comes to helping develop ideas and overcoming roadblocks.”
Despite the high-speed approach taken by Ellison, he realizes that not everyone is in the same place, and the young club needs to take things one step at a time.
“We have members interested in writing for competitions and shooting for publication, but right now my immediate goal is just to get words on the page,” Ellison shares. “Right now I’m doing my best to create an atmosphere where people feel comfortable enough to share ideas and are motivated enough to write.”
Palshaw possesses an optimistic vision for this upstart club.
“It’s an atypical academic club because writing tends to be one of those things that students view as a chore,” Palshaw notes. “Hopefully, students’ enjoyment of writing will be contagious and spread into their classes and among other students.”