Power of the Pen: Creative Writing Course Develops Young Authors

The room is filled with the scratches of pens and pencils on paper. The atmosphere is charged with words being painted into a picture that people read. Students all around are frantically scribbling out words a mile a minute, in an effort to keep up with the story their brains are creating.

It takes an extraordinary person to master the art of words. Most anyone can string together a sentence, but it takes a special touch to make that sentence into music. When you think of the fine arts, music, theatre, and dance are the usual ones to appear in your mind, but what about writing? What else conjures up a beautiful scenery in your mind without you directly seeing it? What else sounds like music when you read it but doesn’t require instruments? What else fills you with such strong emotion and creates such an impact that it elicits a reaction? Words have an underestimated power and students are learning to harness it through Creative Writing.

Taught by Nona Kummell and offered to sophomores, juniors, seniors and the occasional freshman, creative writing is a class that helps Timber Creek students find their ‘voice’ and learn how to express themselves through words.

“The power of the pen can be used in almost anything you do and the only limitation to the power of the pen is the one behind it,” said Mrs. Kummel

Creative Writing is essentially a free therapy class, opening up the soul and releasing pent up emotion onto a page. It allows students to write what they are feeling without judgement.

“I think writing is a great way to express yourself. Write things that you wouldn’t normally say or share with people,” junior Tabitha Tomlinson said.

Filled with all writing genres and forms, and visits from authors and publishers, students have the whole writing world at the tip of their fingers to help them discover their personal style and ‘voice’.

Sophomore Madison Wooten describes a writer’s ‘voice’ like a person’s thought process or style of speaking as its “very unique from person to person.”

“You can give so many emotions to the reader and create really beautiful pieces through your own writing,” she further explains.

A class for current and future authors, students have the opportunity to discover all aspects of writing from all time periods and people. A given prompt ranging from logical to outlandish gives students a wide spectrum in what they write while using parchment paper and a quill for daily journal entries gives a feel for the writing of authors centuries ago.

“Some good memories from creative writing are when we share our journals with each other, everybody is just so supportive and constructive, the energy is very positive,” Wooten commented.

The magic begins with new writers taking the regular creative writing class to learn the basics of what to do and how they want to write. Once they complete it, they can then take the advanced class where their skills are further honed to perfection. The advanced students all have a personal project they work on for the year.

“Right now I’m working on a novella or a novelette. It was originally a short story but it’s going to be longer than that now,” said Tomlinson who is in the advanced class.

Her novella is centering around a high school misfit who has had visions for so long that he now believes them to be true. He starts thinking that his visions are of the real world and the one he’s in currently is a dream or some figment.

The creativity doesn’t stop in the classroom. Junior Raegan White has dreams of becoming an author and is writing a young adult dystopian novel.

“I’ve had the idea for it for about three years now but am just now getting the time to write it,” she said.

The advanced students all must have their own project but students from all the classes can choose to have a project they focus on.

“A piece that I’m most proud of is a screenplay that I’ve been writing for almost two years now,” Wooten said. “It’s about a girl’s harrowing journey across the United States to finally go home.”

At the beginning of each new story or project, Mrs. Kummell makes all her classes write their first couple of drafts by hand, believing that something significant occurs from handwriting when the ideas first come.

“There is something that happens from the brain when your thinking and you are writing and it carries down through to your arm but it has to go through your heart first. Down through your arm to your hand and then your actual movement of the hand creates an emotion, a feeling,” Kummel explained.

A forgotten art, writing is not the first thing to pop into people’s minds when thinking of the fine arts.

“Writing is an art form like any other art form,” said Kummell. “Writing is something that does not ever go away.”

While certain books or stories create a deep impact, not everything you read must be life changing one way or another. Fiction provides an escape from the real world and children’s books provide a good laugh. There is a unit all about children’s books in creative writing and over the years, students have written many creative children’s books such as “Baby Hitler Goes to Daycare”. However, no matter which genre, writing is meant to be something that brings emotion out of people, whether it be joy, sadness or anger, it elicits some reaction.

“If there are no tears in the author, there are no tears in [the] readers,” Kummell said. “To make that book memorable, to make it something that you can connect with, that’s what makes a good author.”

To sign up for Creative Writing, contact your counselor.

3 thoughts on “Power of the Pen: Creative Writing Course Develops Young Authors”

  1. A beautiful story about a wonderful class. Your writing is simply stunning and I am so glad you’re shining a light on Creative Writing!

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