Double the learning resource, double the writing results

Twin authors brought out the natural writing abilities of Diamond Willow Middle School students in an energetic creative writing session

Twin authors brought out the natural writing abilities of Diamond Willow Middle School students in an energetic creative writing session to help them prepare for the Provincial Achievement Exams.

Darcy and Duane Jahns began their strategic presentation by teaching students the foundation of a good story: planning. The twins said planning, above talent, is the key to successful writing.

“It’s very important . . . It allows you to even know if you have a story,” said Darcy.

Story webbing is one of the bigger planning techniques the students were introduced to. They were implored to remember the technique since its usefulness has largely been forgotten by the older writing community.

The webbing technique allows story ideas to explode and relieves writers block because it draws the flow of information.

However, story webbing is only a basic blueprint; structure is needed to actually transfer the information into a story. “It’s just a hodge-podge of information,” said Duane.

The structure comes in the form of who, what, when, where, why, how and beginning, middle and end; all planning tools.

The twins said ‘what’ is one of the most important planning tools, it’s the problem or conflict, the driver of the story.

“A problem is something that stands in the way of the goal. If it doesn’t stand in the way it’s just an incident,” said Darcy.

The twins also told the students a story can have only two possible endings; happy or sad. A happy ending, even if it’s emotionally sad, means the problems were solved and the goals met. A sad ending means the problems weren’t solved and the goals not met.

To explain the concept the twins used the plot of Titanic as an anecdote. The ending was actually happy as the term is used in context.

The twins explained Jack’s problem was he wanted to be rich and converse with other rich people. This dream was met after he saved Rose. Rose’s problem on the other hand stemmed from her wealth. This was solved after she dropped the Heart of the Ocean necklace into the water.

After explaining the tools of basic story writing in fair detail the twins told the students to web and write their own story around the subjects of the worst thing to happen to them or their worst summer vacation.

“You need to know pain and suffering when you’re doing this because all people like to read about misfortune,” said Darcy.

Although the twins helped the students with their writing as they needed it, it was a tough love seminar and the students were guided not lead by the hand though their writing problems.

Darcy and Duane were able to build the students’ confidence in a short time and draw out their personalities.

Student Cash Bonnett was terrified at the beginning of the seminar about having to put pencil to paper. By the end his story was one of the most talked about and the twins were openly impressed with his ability.

Another student, Brooke Johnson, was able to expend on her own beyond what the twins had taught and dabbled in character composites for a story about her dead pets.

What seemed like a daunting task to the students was made easier and enjoyable with the proper tools.