I don’t know about you, but it feels like the Young Writers’ Workshop just began! It’s AMAZING to think we only have one more day left with the writers. I’ll hold in the tears for now, but I can’t make any promises for tomorrow’s reading.
Today marked a shift in the writers’ perception of writing. Monday’s focus was getting started; Tuesday centered around identity; and Wednesday the writers learned about place. Today’s main objective was developing upon stories and poems already written and those that have yet to be created.
To fully prepare them for their reading, the writers began the day by performing improv scenes as pop culture characters. Each scene centered around one character convincing their partner to do something they hated to do; inspiration was taken from this morning’s question. We saw the Joker trying to get Batman to wash his hands, Dory encouraging Marlin to socialize, Buzz Lightyear begging Woody to do the laundry, to name a few.
I hate a hitman, you know.
Protect your gorls!
The Force is telling me not to shower.
The theatricality continued with the appearance of today’s visiting writer, playwright Catherine Trieschmann. Catherine’s works — including The Bridegroom of Blowing Rock, Crooked, and How the World Began — have been produced Off-Broadway at the Women’s Projects and in Edinburgh, London, and Sydney. She also wrote the screenplay for Angel’s Crest which premiered at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival.
Catherine developed the young writers’ initial lesson of the day by introducing them to playwriting. She taught the writers that characters — no matter the genre — always have their own wishes and wants that compete against other characters’. Conflict occurs when the characters’ motivations are exposed, but don’t align. The young writers learned how to infuse their plot with conflict while strategically manipulating the scene so one character achieved their goal.
As the writers began to understand how motivation affects characters’ actions and choices, Catherine paired them off to write a scene of dialogue based on one of three prompts: A breaks up with B, A tries to make B cheat, or A must defeat B who is secretly an alien. The writers embraced the challenge, using the performance skills they learned on Wednesday to captivate their audience.
I’m a perfectionist so I have to stab you in the liver again.
I don’t know if I can date you if you believe in the moon.
You’re a mouth breather!
I’ll wear your intestines like a vest!
After lunch and the Great Tomato War of 2018 — thankfully, there were no casualties — the writers were asked to sift through newspaper and magazine articles, cross out certain sections of text, and write a poem out of the available words. The exercise caused the writers to realize inspiration can be found anywhere, especially in the least likely of places.
Dying, we unravel tragedy but not without dignity.
Mist is designed to feed the air.
A world contorted in battle scars.
The writers ended an eventful day by reading some of their favorite short stories/poems aloud in small groups. Based on what I was hearing today, I already know tomorrow’s reading will be one of the summer’s highlights.
Come celebrate the writers’ hard work by attending their reading! It begins at 2pm in the Beach Museum of Art with a reception to follow. We welcome anyone who has been following the writers’ progress throughout the week and supports the creative arts to attend. See you there!
–Adrianna, Program Assistant