Writers’ Workshop: Session II

“Try something. Trust your feeling. If it doesn’t work out, change it.”  – Lisa Bunker

Last week’s session of our Writers’ Workshop series left our teens feeling inspired and encouraged! The session featured guest writer and young adult fiction author, Lisa Bunker. Lisa began the session by telling our teens her story of becoming a published author, from her early passion for writing, her perseverance through periods of self-doubt and her later connection to a literary agent (note from Lisa: “If a friend asks if you’d like them to show your work to a literary agent, always say ‘yes!’”).

Lisa then introduced her two published works, Felix Yz and Zenobia July, and shared an excerpt from the latter. Afterward, she thoughtfully answered our teens’ questions which ranged from literary practice and working as a full-time artist, to which of her books she’d like to see as a movie. Lisa then shared valuable advice on writing: 

1. “If you are writing – you are already a writer!”

2. “To write for other people, become a story-craft geek… study how story-makers make their stories.

Immerse yourself in syntax structure and grammar rules and become obsessed with language. 

3. “Seek critique when you’re ready and it will help you improve your work.”

Welcome constructive criticism! Critique doesn’t have to be scary and it is important to artistic growth. On this subject, Lisa stated emphatically, “Critique is important, but it’s still just one person’s opinion.”

Lisa said that a critique is best delivered sandwich-style, meaning the negative aspect, or area of improvement is relayed between two positive comments. 

4. “The best writing comes from a place of play.”

Find the fun in your writing… revisit the simple, free and joyous place of childhood.

5. Lisa ended on a point so important, it deserved a second mentioning:

“You are already a writer. If you are writing you are a writer. That’s the only test; the only question. And maybe one day you can become a published writer.”

The session ended with a writing prompt from Lisa. She instructed us to write from the perspective of an inanimate object. How does that object sees the world and how does that object see you? When it came time for closing circle, our teens did not want to pick up their writing utensils! We hope that they continued work with that prompt after our time together. 

Arts in Reach would like to thank Lisa Bunker for her engaging and thoughtful sharing of experience, and Avalon North in Dover for providing a cozy atmosphere for our session.

Session III of our Writers’ Workshop is on April 19th. Email [email protected] for more information!