For the past ten years, I have been coordinating a teen book club at the village library and through the years we've tackled different projects, along with reading and reviewing books each month. Many of the teens that have participated in the library book club love to write as well as read books and we often would play with changing endings, creating titles for dream books and other related things. This year, I decided to try a more extensive approach and began by having each member create a character. The first step was to think of a name and a description. Even at that level the variety of characters they created was amazing. There was a blue-haired girl from the future and a lad from another world with no name, a geeky musician, a painfully shy girl and an artist.
Gradually. they expanded the characters by creating their family situation, their specific location and then writing a short piece on a typical day or a scenario that showed something about their personality. Though the characters were all teen-aged, they had vastly different personalities, family backgrounds and aspirations. The fantasy character was on his own, except for the wolf that followed him everywhere. The blue-haired girl lived on a futuristic farm and the geeky musician suffered from terrible dreams in which a clown tried to kill him.
When the characters were fully rounded, I challenged the teens to create a plot that would link all the characters together. No easy task. They rose to the challenge beautifully and they threw around many ideas, but in the end they came up with a fantasy and horror genre using the clown nightmares as a device to create a theme of a threat from another world. After much discussion the story was finalised and some tentative titles suggested. I wrote it up and published it on Amazon as a short story called, 'The Othersiders'. The proceeds, the group decided, would go to Breast Cancer Ireland. So, if you are curious and would like to help a good cause, please go to the Amazon link below .
Kristin Gleeson is a writer, artist and musician who lives in the west of Ireland in the Gaeltacht.
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