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Trying to assess writing

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So my 11 year old daughter loves to write. I'd brought her back home this year, after some public schooling, and her teachers never said much about her writing ability...But she started writing novels at 7, using her free time to write after finishing regular classwork, and since coming home her writing seems to have blossomed and matured. I don't have anything to compare her with, though, so I'm not sure if this is unusual, and I'd love input. (In general, she's reasonably bright, and scored high on Cogat, but I wouldn't call her gifted.) Feel free to tell me this is nothing special, though! It really won't hurt my feelings. 🙂

Regardless, how can I nurture this? Should I just let her write unimpeded? (I'm a published author myself, but that doesn't help much in teaching writing.) We’ve used IEW, WriteShop and now Cover Story, but she doesn’t enjoy them, and I don’t want to destroy her enjoyment of writing by pushing the curricula.

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Edited by nature girl
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  • 2 months later...

The Creative Writer (published by Peace Hill Press) might be a fun resource. It doesn’t feel so much like a standard curriculum.  My DD has only done the  first 2 lessons so far, so I can’t comment as someone who has experience with the whole book, but the Creative Writer strikes me as something that would foster rather than squash your daughter’s creativity, while providing some gentle structure and “stretching exercises” to help her refine her story development and writing.

Edited by WTM
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@nature girl I remember you helping me with my own daughter's writing many years ago. 

I also remember finding your novel in my city library here in Queensland, Australia, and loving it, and feeling so lucky to have your input for my daughter.

From memory, I'll try to echo your help back to you:

- lots and lots and lots of reading of a range of genres

- lots of time and space for writing whatever they want to write

- working on skills and techniques completely separately to their writing projects ie not correcting spelling, grammar, punctuation etc within their writing projects unless they ask you to


I didn't ever use any writing program or official lessons for my daughter. I fumbled along doing my own thing with her. She's now majoring in professional writing at university, so our fumbling turned out okay, I guess. 

Good luck to you both 🌻

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My 12 year old is trying some of Lantern English's creative writing classes this year.

They offer: Intro to Creative Writing, The Short Story, Creating Living Characters, Mastering Dialogue, Character Workshop: Heroes, Character Workshop: Antagonists, Creative Worldbuilding, Exploring Genres, and The Novel.

We have done a lot of Lantern's expository classes in the past and been very pleased with them, especially how they can provide impartial, objective feedback that my kids won't accept from me. My younger son took their younger kids' version of creative writing, and I thought it was a great balance of nurturing enthusiasm, expanding ideas, challenging weaknesses, and helping clean up technical issues.

This is an example of some of the feedback he received (he was in 2nd grade):
"For this week, I have a few questions to consider as you work with this story:
• I love knowing why the robots are coming back to the past, and how The Wonder
gained her superpowers! To make the plot even stronger, you can answer a few more
“why” questions that your reader might ask:
     ⁃ What’s Mr. Evil’s motivation to take over the past? (Most supervillain
masterminds have some kind of backstory that spurs their choices!)
     ⁃ Is The Wonder a scientist, an engineer, or a doctor, since she knew how to
create the medicine? If not, how did she figure it out?

• This plot is packed with emotions! If you choose to write the story, how can you write
those feelings vividly for your reader? How can you help us feel the worry and the
excitement and the adventure with The Wonder? (We’ll talk more about writing
action later on in the course.)"

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