Author to Creative Writing Students: ‘Make It Happen’

Author to Creative Writing Students: ‘Make It Happen’ photo

Sixth- and seventh-graders – who have been writing their own fictional stories in Jenny Theall’s Creative Writing classes – welcomed published author E.J. Flynn to their school to gain new skills and knowledge about the writing process.

During her visits on Nov 14, 27 and 30, Flynn – who is also a marketing and business professor at SUNY Purchase, founder of ILF Publishing and the parent of a middle school student – helped the students discover the power of their imagination. She also encouraged them to turn their own ideas into stories and empowered them with the confidence that they, too, can “make it happen” and get their stories published. 

“I love creative writing because it’s a safe place to express who you are through your writing,” said sixth-grader Willow Edwards, who has written descriptive poems, short snippets and fictional stories in her class. 

As part of the interactive workshops, Flynn challenged the students to keep organized, write down their ideas, start an outline, set goals and deadlines, do extensive research and partner with a friend or mentor who will keep them accountable. She demonstrated how a real-life experience or observation can be turned into a story and taught the students how to keep their readers invested by creating a believable world and robust characters, building suspense and writing a distinct beginning, middle and end to their stories. 

Sixth-grader Natalie Silva said she learned the importance of drawing inspiration from real-life experiences to develop a compelling story. 

“It’s such a creative and fun way to express yourself because you’re creating your own world, what happens in it and your own characters,” Silva said about the art of creative writing. “Obviously, life isn’t perfect, but this story is to you. And it becomes a reality to you and the readers who read it.”  

Theall said she invited Flynn to speak to her students because it was an opportunity for them to participate in a discussion with a published author, ask questions and envision the endless possibilities of creative writing. 

“Creative writing is student-generated and stems from their imagination,” Theall said. “Bringing in an author makes writing real. Hopefully, it also inspires them to continue writing, take it to the next step and have their work connect to art, current events and news. That’s the beauty of creative writing; it can connect all other topics.”