“Come to the Dark Side; We Have Cookies”: The Young Writers Explore Alter Egos, Evil Twins, and Fantasy Writing

Today kicked off K-State’s annual Young Writers’ Workshop! Today’s theme was “The Me Nobody Knows.” Our writers began the Workshop by answering the question of the day: “What’s the name of your evil twin?”

After learning the names of the writers’ evil twins – Regina Marrakhesh, Bran Mous, and Evil Bob IV to name a few – the staff and writers revealed their secret talents. We have a very talented group: a couple of the young writers excel at dancing, a few play musical instruments like the cello and violin, one is a Jane Austen expert, another has made at least 100 origami cranes this year, and one of our young writers has extremely flexible fingers.

After sharing their secret talents, the young writers broke up into their small groups and chose their group names. This year, we have The Society of Mysterious Women (led by Krista), The Dino Chicken Nuggets (led by Dustin), and The Champions (led by Tolu).

Once their group names were chosen, the young writers were asked to complete a scavenger hunt in their small groups. The writers were asked to hunt for common and uncommon household items such as an octopus, a pinecone, and a green kitchen utensil.

Can you find the pinecone in this picture?
Can you find the green kitchen utensil in this picture?

The young writers were then given a writing prompt that asked them to use postcards and the phrase, “Dear [INSERT NAME HERE], We both know why I’m here,” to generate a story.

This prompt generated brief yet detailed and drama-filled stories that centered around cyber-crime and spies, shipwrecks and true love, time traveling and monarchies.

“You were just a warm body and a cover story.”
“Hope is a potion that gives you strength.”

Before lunch, the writers were given another prompt: what can your evil twin get away with that you can’t? The young writers’ evil twins had many talents: cheating at Uno, robbing Lego stores, enjoying jazz and being really pompous about it.

The writers were then challenged to adapt an alter ego and write from that perspective. The young writers chose their alter ego names based on the day of the week they were born and the last thing they ate. We heard about a dog named Wednesday Blueberry, a swordfighter named Thursday challenging their arch nemesis to a duel, and a criminal named Saturday Applesauce negotiating with the FBI for a tank among other demands.

During the afternoon, visiting writer L.L. McKinney joined the young writers and shared strategies for creating fantasy characters. First, the young writers were instructed to write a conversation between their favorite superhero or super villain and themselves. Next, the young writers were asked to create a Dungeons and Dragons character.

A vegetarian orc who carves wood
A villainess plotting to overthrow the kingdom
A half-elf police officer

Once the characters were created, Elle gave the writers a situation to put their characters in and the writers built scenes based on her prompt.

“I can’t be the heir of Exe’box.”
“And, if all else fails, Onc has a vine bomb in the castle that will go off if his heart stops.”
“He had never tried using healing spells on himself while falling unconscious.”

Before the young writers left for the day, they were asked, “What can your alter-ego do that you can’t do?” From flirting to rhythmic gymnastics to jousting, the young writers listed the many accolades of their alter egos. We ended the day by taking a picture of our alter egos with the help of Zoom filters.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more updates about what the young writers are up to! If today was anything to go by, it’s going to be a fun, inspiring, energetic week!

See you tomorrow!

Adri Gordey YWW Program Assistant

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