The Explorati Teen Writers Boot Camp is not a Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers sponsored program, but its leader is Trai Cartwright, an RMFW member and well known instructor of classes and workshops on writing, especially screenwriting. Today she has turned her scheduled guest spot over to one of her teen writers
By Luke Tasker
Last year's Explorati Teen Writers Boot Camp was the highlight of my summer. We had an amazing group of people who worked brilliantly together, covered a lot of new material, and went into greater depth on what (we thought) we already knew.
First and foremost was, naturally, our critique process. Usually it's a bit awkward, even with writers you know. This year, however, it was as far from uncomfortable as possible. It's always been a streamlined process, but we went mind-bogglingly quickly this year. Despite not everyone knowing each other very well, we quickly started tearing each other's work apart--in the most positive manner possible. We covered ground in a few hours that would have taken me weeks with my normal critique group.
Another important element that we covered that I quickly learned to love was blocking. I'd never really given it a huge amount of thought before, and simply assumed that my characters would just do whatever came naturally. That is a lot of it, but the significance of small actions, and the build-up to a series of actions, is incredibly important--which I had always left out of my writing completely. It helps to have an incredibly experienced screenwriter as your teacher.
I also discovered a couple of ways to turn my love of (and hopefully talent for) short stories into something of a reasonable length, albeit inadvertently. A couple of the exercises that we did--such as listing off a few random objects and then writing a scene with them under a time constraint, or different scenarios involving people who are seemingly unrelated but actually have a very strong connection--simply came together in the right way, and I realized that a project I'd been subconsciously working on for some time was a sort of anthology of inter-related short stories with a common plot--and common protagonist/antihero.
We did a lot of crazy, silly, wonderful things in only a few days. I made some new friends and caught up with old ones. I realized (rather late) how much I enjoy acting, even under duress. We analyzed short films and ran away screaming from high school anime, and ate a lot of unhealthy food--there was plenty of salad, too, I promise! In short, though Explorati was technically a "class", it was one of the best parts of my summer.
Positions still available:
Middle School Fiction
June 22 – 25, 9AM – 3PM
Middle School writers are introduced to serious craft study even while they are having serious fun! Highly social, super-interactive, and designed just for the way they learn. This is the only camp that lets its attendees work on their OWN work!
Screenwriting (ages 13 –18)
July 6-9, 9AM – 3PM
The ONLY Screenwriting camp in Denver! Taught by a 20-year Hollywood pro who's been working with teens for ten years. If your writers love film, this is an amazing opportunity to learn this exciting medium!
High School Fiction
June 29 – July 2, 9AM – 3PM
Our High School is unlike any other--we work directly with the writer's OWN work, showing them what's strong and what needs work. We take them seriously and give them the good stuff!
Tuition: $275 (meals included)
For more information, you can visit the Explorati Teen Writers Boot Camp website.