Monday, April 29, 2013

Writing Fiction [in High School] by Sharon Watson: A TOS Crew Review

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Writing Fiction [in High School] by Writing with Sharon Watson

From their website:

 photo obj383geo450pg9p9_zpsb5b67bce.png"Two-semester course for English credit
-No prerequisites needed
-Practical lessons and approximately 100 interesting assignments
-Written to the student in a conversational tone
-Can be self-taught with guidance or used in co-ops or private schools
-For the teen who loves to write stories
-13 fact-filled chapters, approximately 300 pages"

Cost - $25.05 
Teacher Guide - $9.95

 "Writing Fiction [in High School] refers to The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick (sold separately) in many of its chapters. Sharon Watson recommends buying that book and using it with the textbook. That way, students can more easily see how a complete novel and its elements work as they discuss characters, characterization, setting, meaningful discriptions, dialogue, voice, plot, scenes, conflict, the hero's journey, and much, much more."

The Bentz Test Laboratory had the perfect tester.  My "budding author" could not wait to get his hands on this.

Writing Fiction [in High School] is written directly to your student covering topics like Facts About Fiction, Point of View, Fairy Tales, Characters & Characterization, Conflict, Dialogue, Description, Words, Theme, Plot, Scenes, Beginnings & Ending, and Getting Published.
The Teacher Guide offers List of books, short stories and media for each chapter, as well as a Discussion Guide and Answer Key.
The course is designed for a year-long adventure in writing.  The "Manuscript Track" is extracurricular and for students already writing a short story or novel.  That is my tester - he's begun his own "novel" and is hoping one day, to become a published author.
A suggestion he implemented right away, was to form a "writing club" as a place to share, critique and encourage his friends that love to write as well.  They have dubbed themselves... "The Inklings Redux" (after a favorite author...!)
The used several of the ideas - writing hooks, free timed writing and several others directly from this curriculum.  All of the ideas were a huge hit!  My tester was so pleased to have direction on how to start his "author's club".  And the pointers for critiquing have been a valuable lesson for the members of his club. (and light-hearted at times as well... "Try not to cry" being one of my favorites!)  If you have an aspiring writer, you will want to add this to your writing toolbox.
My tester began to work independently through the curriculum, completing one section a day.  He found the exercises to be enjoyable and easy to do.  He has really enjoyed this program! One of his favorites was taking a passage and writing it from each of several different Point-of-Views.   He is currently typing furiously for the next meeting of "Inklings Redux" to present his story for his first critique.
This is a well-organized, easy-to-implement writing curriculum.  If you have children interested in writing their own stories - this is for them!  If you have students that are not as interested in writing stories - this may be the just the curriculum to change their minds!
Other members of the TOS Crew reviewed The Power in Your Hands: Writing Non-Fiction in High School - I'll be checking out this as well, so should you!
Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew

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