More in News
Creative writing in the 21st Century
Mountain Valley High School creative writing class includes sword holder Andrew Phelps, Ms. Doughty and sword holder Nathan Fitzpatrick. Seated is Alex Witas and Kellie Dyment. Standing in the back row are Chelsea DeRoehn, Mackenzie McInnis, Shawn Bennett, Travis Ford, Mason Milligan and Alexa Davis. Absent from photo were seniors Victoria Gordon, Karissa Kneeland, and Nikki Hodgkins.
RUMFORD -- Creative writing in the 21st century requires more than an active imagination and the ability to turn a phrase.
In Meg Doughty’s creative writing class at Mountain Valley High School, it means high tech collaboration among classmates and Doughty.
The first step is individual. Sophomore Nate Fitzpatrick explained, “The best part of the class is you create your own character and region based on what’s in your mind and your values. Eventually the character you create becomes a part of yourself.”
After each student creates a character and a region, or location where his/her character lives, the students bring four characters together to go on a quest. A quest could be a long and arduous journey to a different region or a difficult task for the characters to complete.
But wait! That would take coordination and collaboration. Enter the technology. Each student has a page on a wiki to develop his or her character and region.
The characters meet for their quest on a separate page. A wiki is a website that allows collaborative editing by the users. This means that the students can work on the wiki in class or outside of class any time, day or night. If a student is shy about speaking up in class, he or she can still contribute to the class through the wiki.
“The wiki is a good way for all the assignments to be organized. We can even use last year’s wiki as inspirations for this year,” said sophomore Mason Milligan.
While the wiki provides the solution for coordination, collaboration is a different story. Junior Alex Witas describes, “It’s difficult to get stuff to happen because it takes a lot of working out the details. We each envision it [the quest] going a different way so we have to collaborate.”
That collaboration can take the form of storyboarding the plot, writing together or even breaking the plot apart with each student writing a specific part, which is then meshed into a unified whole by the entire group.
Finally at the end of the semester, all of the members of the class work together on the final scene. Fitzpatrick said, “(This year) everyone meets at the Forum.
That means that all of the characters have to meet each other and complete the final scene.”
The forum is a gathering place for the characters that students created this year.
One of the most interesting aspects of the course is that students who took the course but graduated the previous year return to write the villain of the story.
Milligan summed up the experience, saying, “It’s a wicked good class because you can make your characters just like you want them. You can do anything you want without a lot of restrictions. It’s all about personal choice. You get a topic and come up with whatever you want.”
Many students don’t want the course to end, so Doughty and several of her students are continuing to write on the wiki over the summer. In addition, Doughty is offering a Fantasy/SciFi Creative Writing Camp this summer to RSU #10 students who are in grade 9 and up during the 2012-2013 school year. If interested, you can contact her at email@example.com.