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Creative writing for homeschooled 10 year old

Jan 2014

My 10 year old homeschooled daughter is 112 pages into her first novel (an elaborate fantasy) and needs someone to act as a mentor to support its completion and revision. I taught middle school English and, frankly, she has gone beyond my expertise. Anyone know of an experienced tutor out there that would enjoy working with a talented young fiction writer? anon

I'm so glad you posted this and want to congratulate you in supporting your daughter in her writing.

As an author, I would not suggest a tutor. Your description sounds more like hiring an editor. An editor can help with re-writes and structure but this is very costly (hundreds of dollars) and is not recommended until the manuscript is completed and the writer had made several passes of editing the manuscript themselves.

I would recommend taking classes in the craft of fiction writing (and fantasy since that is what your daughter is writing) as well as joining writing organizations.

Locally, the Writing Salon (SF and Berkeley) has classes conducted by authors in various genres as well as general fiction writing. Writers taking the classes come from various levels of the writing process. The quality of the classes is excellent and the commitment by the students and teachers is amazing and fosters a nurturing writing environment. I personally have benefited by the expertise of the instructors and highly recommend the Writing Salon.

Additionally, there are various writing organizations (on-line and locally) that provide support, advise as well as craft instruction, some for particular genres and others for all types of writing. I do not write fantasy and thus cannot direct you specifically, but a 'google' search will probably find them. Through these organizations your daughter could find a critique group to also help her in the writing process.

Starting with the Writing Salon and local writing organizations would immediately help your daughter. Writer

Check out what's available at Might be a good match for you!
I've been thinking about your post, as a writer, and as the parent of a teen who writes. My daughter also wrote a few novels, and plays during the years from 5th to 9th grade. One of the plays was produced with little adult intervention (probably too little in terms of stress on the children), and it was performed as part of another event, so it had a large audience. In terms of the novels, I had a friend, a YA novelist, read one. She liked the novel and provided few suggestions for revision. However, by the time my daughter was ready to revise she had already changed so much that she couldn't go back to the same project.

What's been most valuable for her is reading as a writer, i.e. discussing techniques, while continuing to write. She's taken classes at 826 Valencia and through ATDP, and the parts of those classes that have been most helpful have been the writing exercises.

In terms of teaching writing to children and adults, I always found that reading good models, actually writing, and seeing what they did well helped students more than the formal revision process that some in K-12 education advocate. Only in the latter part of high school, has she been able to do productive revision. The best revisions have been when she's reimagined a story and written it again from a different character or starting point. My suggestion would be to encourage the writing, and to help your daughter find other young writers to talk to about writing and reading. anon

Basic writing skills course for unmotivated 14-year-old

June 2008

Looking for summer writing courses in basic writing for 14 year old boy entering highschool in the Fall who doesn't like to write. Many years behind in writing. Needs help on expressing himself in writing and basic writing mechanics. amy

My daughter, a current sophomore at BHS, took the Classroom Matters Summer Writing Course last year and it improved her writing. ks

Need to brush up on writing and editing skills

April 2004

I want to take a class or seminar to brush up on my writing and editing skills. In my job I proofread materials with lots of syntax and grammar problems and I need more confidence that I am making the correct edits. Has anyone taken or heard of a class that sounds appropriate? Thanks! Elizabeth

UC-Berkeley Extension offers two one-day classes that sound perfect: Grammar Intensives 1 and 2. Jenifer
English 657 at SF State sounds like the class you are looking for.

Beginning Creative Writing class

April 2004

Any recommendations for a beginning creative writing course? Thanks. Jennifer

UC Extension is a great source for beginning creative writing classes. Particularly good are classes by Susan Ito -- she teaches ''Fiction from life experience.'' She is a very enthusiastic, encouraging, and knowledgeable instructor. I've seen her able to teach to all levels of the classroom and really cares about the craft of writing.
if you don't mind travelling to san francisco, i highly recommend the writing salon, in bernal heights. they offer small, well organized, friendly, supportive classes in a range of different areas. check out their website. evelyn
My name is Barbara Joan Tiger Bass, mfa. I am a creative writing teacher. I look forward to speaking with you: 510-336-0050 barbara joan tiger bass btigerbass AT
Hi-- I'd highly recommend the creative writing classes taught by Charlotte Cook. She teaches both at Piedmont Adult School and through the City of Lafayette Department of Recreation, as well as in private sessions. I've found the classes to be really friendly to writers of all skill levels, and her tips and suggestions have greatly improved my writing. Good luck! Jennifer
Check out the creative writing classes offered through UC Extension! They have a wide array of classes for all levels.

Writing Class for 8 yr. Old

March 2004

Hi, I am looking for a develompental writing class (2wks) for my 8 yr. old daughter for this summer. She is not fond of writing, but has the appropriate tools. If you know of a good inspirational writing class in Albany, El Cerrito, or Berkeley, I would appreciate your recommendation. Thank you!

Here are some folks who have offered writing programs in the past.
Bay Center Associates  848-6868
Educational Services Associates 873-0801
New Learning Clinic 643-8727 ( the LANGUAGE! program) 
S Aurilio

Child/Parent Writing Workshops for 10-year-old

Jan 2004

My 10 year old daughter loves to write, and so do I. I've heard in the past of child/parent writing workshops, over a weekend or in the form of a weeklong summer camp, but I can't seem to find information on anything like this. There are all sorts of programs that are just for kids, or just for adults, but nothing parents and kids can do together. Suggestions welcome! Patty

In response to the mom looking for a parent/child writing workshop for her ten year old daughter -- I run a drop-in poetry writing workshop on the second Wednesday of each month at the Albany Public Library. It's open to adults and children aged 8 and up. It's a wonderful mix of people -- fourth graders, a few people in their 80s and everyone in between! We get a lot of parent/child pairs and siblings. There is something very powerful about people of all ages sharing their writing. And no experience is necessary -- just enthusiasm! The Albany Public Library is located at 1247 Marin Avenue. The workshop is free. Our next meeting dates are February 11, March 10, April 14, May 12, June 9. For more info contact the library at 510-526-3720. Alison
I'm planning to lead one this summer. At the workshop there will be exercises that both parents and kids can do, some shared writing games, and some time for each partner to write alone. Let me know what times would work for you. I'll put a more formal announcement out at the end of April/the beginning of May. I also write with my daughter, so if you want to get together informally to write before the summer send me an email. cdorf

Creative writing for 10 yr. old

April 2003

Can anyone recommend a creative writing program for a 10 yr. old girl who doesn't particularly like to write. It can be either a summer program or during the school year. Thanks.

I offer writer's workshops for young writers (K-6). I currently have a new group for 10-year-old writers that meets Tuesdays, 6- 7 p.m., for eight weeks. These small groups allow children to experiment with creative writing in a fun and supportive setting. Children are taught ways of ''thinking like a writer'' to build their strategies and confidence when crafting stories. In the groups they are given time to experiment with their writing, and share their work with other kids. Other sessions will be offered in the summer. Please feel free to call for further information about the writing groups, 528-8773 or check the web site at Thanks! Ivy Sandz ivy AT
ENJOY LEARNING Creative Writing Workshops Barbara Joan Tiger Bass, MFA is an experienced teacher, tutor, and published writer. In private practice teaching creative writing for over twelve years, she welcomes students to her summer classes. Children from 2nd grade on will discuss ideas and write stories, poems, and essays in a comfortable, supportive environment. Summer classes run Mon. Tues. Wed. 10:30 -12 or 2:30-4. Session 1: 6/30-7/9 Session 2 : 7/14-7/23 Session 3 : 7/28-8/6 Call (510)336-0050 or e-mail ENJOYLEARNING2 AT barbara joan tiger bass btigerbass AT
There are workshops for teachers to teach writing (you don't have to be a teacher to attend to these workshops). I found myself being very creative with children after attending these workshops. It's free and wonderful---and best of all, is usually done is one day. It's called Bay Area Writer's Workshop (workshops are usually held at UC Berkeley) and just by chance I found this workshop for children... . Happy Writing! Amy

Books about Composition & Writing

April 2003

My husband lately became very much involved in writing. He writes mostly short stories, but now is thinking about writing a novel. I wanted to give him as a gift some books on composition and writing. I would really appreciate recommendation on the books to buy. Thank you very much. Natasha

Some of my favorites:
''On Writing Well'' William Zinser
''Bird by Bird'' Annie Lamott
''The Art of Fiction'' by John Gardner
Any of the ''Best American'' short story or essay compilations A subscription to the New Yorker, Granta and The Sun would also be a useful gift for a writer. And tell him to check out McSweeney's whenever he finds it. Enjoy! Julie T.
I joined a writing group (which I strongly recommend) last year and was getting pretty negative feedback on the initial drafts of my first attempt at writing a novel so decided I really needed to improve my writing skills.

Here are some books I found really helpful:

(1) ''Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print'' by Renni Browne, with Dave King -After reading this one and applying some of the concepts, I started getting rave reviews on my manuscripts.

(2) ''Stein on Writing'' and ''How to Grow a Novel'' by Sol Stein -This guy is an author and an editor and really knows his stuff.

Hope that helps! --An aspiring novelist

For the writer: if your husband doesn't already have Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, that can't be beat. Christine
How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James Frey is a terrific book. I have just been using it while working on a novel and have found it to be enormously helpful, despite its cheesy title. I hear that Self Editing for Fiction Writers is also a terrific book. It is on my list, but I haven't gotten it yet. Get That Novel Started and Keep Going Til You Finish didn't help me very much, except for its advice that you should write 10 minutes every day (at least), so, skip that one, I'd say (unless your husband is full of mental blocks that keep him from writing, then it might be useful).... susan
There are dozens of books about writing, written from many different perspectives. Let me give you some titles that I have used myself, and also have given as reading to my students (I've taught creative writing in Spanish at UCB). Take a look at them in any bookshop and pick the one that might better suit your husband's needs.
-John Gardner. The Art of Fiction. This is a very professional, serious book about writing techniques and philosophies. The author is extremely opinionated and it always created controversy in the classroom, but students found it very useful and thought provoking. It has interesting exercises at the end.
-Ursula K. Le Guin. Steering the Craft. It is structured in small chapters, each about one aspect of writing (point of view, repetition, etcetera), and includes very precise examples and exercises. It is ideal to use as a practicing tool or even as a springboard for a writing group.
Natalie Goldberg. Writing Down the Bones. A completely different perspective. It's a very personal book. The author practices Zen and uses the same approach to writing: be present in the writing moment with total abandon, use free hand writing, use journals, etcetera. It's very inspirational, more at a gut level than a technical level.

These books might be a good place to start. Good luck! Isidra

You might check out two titles by Chalie Baxter, ''Burning Down the House,'' and ''Bringing the Devil to his Knees.'' The first is a collection of essays all written by Baxter about the art and craft of writing fiction. It's terrific--fun to read, illuminating and inspiring. Just reading it makes you want to sit down and write. The second is a collection of essays by a number of fine fiction writers who teach in the Warren Wilson MFA Program, and will include essays by Andrea Barrett, Richard Russo, and plenty of others. I have not read this book, but I have heard many of the talks that gave rise to the essays, and have no doubt the collection is a good one. You can find both books on Amazon. Carolyn
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