Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Story Sprouts



Guest Post: The Writers' Workshop - From Blank Page to Published in Six Hours


Hi there,Theresa fans!


Since we know all you Theresa blog readers are a nice mix of writers and teachers, and chances are you're all getting back to work after a bit of repose, Nutschell Anne Windsor and I wanted to share our experiences teaching and creating a little book for teachers and writers called Story Sprouts, released in October. Story Sprouts is a compilation of stories written by published and aspiring authors during a writing workshop. A one day writing workshop. Actually, a six hour writing workshop, with two finished pieces per author, created entirely in the moment. 

How did we do it? 

We did it through - planning, planning, planning. A fun mix of fiction and non-fiction. A lot of encouragement. Coffee and plenty of food. Professional copy and lay-out editors. And a few great exercises to help our writers' minds pop with ideas and revise with ease.

Free write? Check. Self-reflection? Check. Photo prompts? Check. Villains, vampires, aliens and candy? Check, check, check and check. Group brainstorm? Check. Writer playtime with point of view? Check. 

We started with some simple mindless exercises to warm up the writing muscles and built up to serious plotting and revision.

While the Writing Day Workshop Anthology was the result of a Children's Book Writers of Los Angeles (CBW-LA) board brainstorm, President and Founder Nutschell truly earns all the accolades for the agenda of the day. A former English teacher and aspiring YA author, she took her teaching prowess and her impeccable research on the writing life and put together ten clear-cut writing exercises for nearly 20 attendees. 

Post writing day, my role as Publications Editor was to translate the workshop into a narrative form and do a preliminary copy edit as well as some minor line edits in the pieces - just to make sure each writer's voice was as consistent as possible throughout his/her entries. Very minor tweaks to help our writers shine.

The rest of the CBW-LA board researched editors, raised funds to support the endeavor, planned festivities and made sure we had their full support!

The book includes all ten writing exercises from the workshop, along with explanations of why we selected them, and the 38 anthology entries. Half of the entries are reflective pieces on writing, and the other half are based on afternoon photo prompts and revision exercises. 

We encourage any teacher or writer to pick up the book - available on Amazon in Kindle or print form - and share it with the students or writers in your life. (Bonus - through January, we are donating HALF of all sales to Philippines disaster relief after last year's supertyphoon!)

We would love to hear about how you use the exercises in your classroom or to boost your New Year writing goals, and encourage you to contact us if you have any questions about planning a similar workshop in your hometown. If you are in the L.A. area, please join us in May for Story Sprouts 2014, with all new writing tips and prompts!

In the meantime, keep on writing and revising!



Alana Garrigues is a freelance journalist and creative nonfiction author. Originally from Portland, Oregon, she now lives the sunshine life in Redondo Beach with her husband and identical twin daughters.
Alana is an avid traveler, meticulous researcher, terrible housecleaner, incessant daydreamer, nature lover, and dabbler of all things art-related. She is also the Publications Editor for CBW-LA and author of the Writercize blog where she posts original writing prompts for writers, students and teachers (writercize.blogspot.com). She is also a member of the Association for Writers and Writing Programs (AWP).
Visit www.alanagarrigues.com for more information. Also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AlanaGarriguesWritesand Twitter @alanagarrigues.


STORY SPROUTS: CBW-LA WRITING DAY EXERCISES & ANTHOLOGY 2013

·      19 Authors
·      38 Combined Anthology Entries – 2 per Contributing Author
·      6-hour Workshop
·      10 Writing Exercises (included in Story Sprouts)
·      Dozens of Photo, Character and Conflict Prompts (included in Story Sprouts)
·      240 pages

BLURB:
What happens when linguistic lovers and tale tellers workshop together? Inspiration. Wonder. Discovery. Growth. Magic.
Brave and talented, the writers featured in this anthology took on the challenge of dedicating one day to the raw and creative process of writing.
A rare view into the building blocks of composition, Story Sprouts is made up of nearly 40 works of poetry and prose from 19 published and aspiring children's book authors.
This compilation includes all of the anthology writing exercises and prompts, along with tips, techniques and free online writing resources to help writers improve their craft.

KINDLE & PRINT COPIES AVAILABLE THROUGH AMAZON. 

LINKS:
Learn more about Story Sprouts at http://www.storysproutsanthology.com/
Join the Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles at www.cbw-la.org 

Find Nutschell at:

27 comments:

  1. Oh, this sounds terrific! Although I am retired from teaching now, I am on a school board and will be doing a presentation in the spring on writing. I will definitely be looking at this for possible use in that~

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    1. That would be fantastic! Let us know if you find any great tips in the book - we'd love to hear how they can be implemented for other writing groups or for schools. A few of the themes in the stories this year veered a little dark for young children, but we think the exercises themselves are applicable for all ages, from early writers through adults!

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  2. What a wonderful book to create and share!

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    1. Thank you! We had a blast putting it together!

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  3. Thanks so much for hosting us Theresa!!

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  4. That's amazing how much work went into the project before the writers even began the exercises!

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    1. Yes, Nutschell and our entire board are absolutely incredible. Everyone had something to contribute, and Nutschell's organizational skills are unparalleled. She takes ideas and turns them into workshops that are better than anyone could ever imagine through her planning acumen!

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  5. Thanks so much for hosting us Theresa!!! Shelly and SA, Thanks! I hope you find a way to make use of Story Sprouts. :) ALex, it was a lot of work indeed, but all worth it!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. Totally agreed! So worth it, we're already thinking about the next one! ;)

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  6. Wow! Sounds like a great group effort. And amazing that the short stories were completed in 6 hours. Good luck with your book.

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    1. Thank you Natalie. Truly a group effort, and one we all feel very fortunate to have been a part of. Our writers are so awesome to trust us with six hours and two stories! We are very grateful for their talent!

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  7. I've been seeing this around and love the idea of it. I'll purchase it soon.

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    1. Great! Let us know what you think. We love to hear if people are able to use it for their own writing and teaching projects. :) And it is such a fun opportunity for exposure for all of our writers, many of whom are published for the very first time in this anthology!

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  8. Wow, what a great idea! This might be fun, and as I'm local...

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    1. Oh, yes! Please come! Actually, we're also having a writing workshop this weekend if you're interested - not for publishing, but sort of a New Years resolution theme. And it includes a free copy of Story Sprouts! Great way to meet Nutschell and get a feel for the workshops. Unfortunately, I have another engagement so I won't be there, but I know it'll be fantastic. If you're interested, go to www.cbw-la.org to sign up and for more info. :)

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  9. I think it sounds cool, and I think it's great that each author was able to complete two pieces during the workshop. I really like the title too; I think the idea of stories "sprouting" from these writing exercises is interesting.

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    1. Thanks so much! We had a lot of fun naming it - brainstorming with the full board over a lunch meeting to find just the right title. Nutschell posted about it yesterday on her Story Sprouts tour stop with Mooderino if you're interested in that process - http://moodywriting.blogspot.com/2014/01/choosing-title-for-your-fiction-or.html.

      Thanks so much for checking out this post and for your thoughts! Theresa has been so kind to host us!

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    1. Thanks so much Leslie! Please let us know what you think - we love to hear from our readers, and we know everyone has great ideas to share!

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  11. Oh my goodness, that sounds like an epically fun project! I would love to get my hands on this...as soon as I get through the school day. =)

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    1. Thanks so much Crystal! It was a lot of hard work, but hands down one of the best writing experiences I've been a part of. I hope you love it as much as we loved making it!

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  12. What a fun book! I'll have to show my friend, Meg, who's probably looking for something just like this.

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  13. Awesome guests Theresa. I love reading about these Sprouts.

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    1. Thanks so much Denise! We're having a blast on this tour. :)

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  14. Wonderful guest post, Theresa, very helpful to writers. Thanks, Alana, for telling readers about your book and what your group does on writing retreats. ~Victoria Marie Lees

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  15. Hi Theresa .. Alana and Nutschell - I've seen the promotion around, but your review here, Alana, set out the whole approach so practically ... so now I will go across and buy the book - good for you all. If I was near LA .. I'd be along .. sadly unlikely ..

    Good luck with all the promotional efforts - it sounds such a great idea .. and a real little star Nutschell is turning out to be - so pleased for her ..

    Happy New Year to all of you - Hilary

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