Summer Writing Camp — July!

Oh my goodness did this week fly by! 11 writers (all girls) joined us in a week filled with LOTS of writing, MANY adventures, and TONS of great conversations! We built a lovely little writing community, and we trekked all over Denver to get inspired for our adventure stories.

We visited the Maps and Atlases room at the Denver Public Library and sat at the Legacy Table (photo below). Hannah, our resource librarian, took extra good care of us, and went above and beyond to answer a question one of our campers had about paper towns in Colorado (what a great question, Melina!) Hannah even wrote about it, and you can check it out here. Thanks, Hannah! We can’t wait to visit the library again soon! And if you haven’t read Paper Towns by John Green, we highly recommend you do.

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We went to the Colorado History Center and learned more about the Dust Bowl. Before we went, Sarah, our lead instructor, read excerpts from Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse and we talked about the words Hesse chose to describe the Dust Bowl. We thought about interesting and effective ways we could use words in our own stories to reflect setting and character. The History museum was so much fun and we loved exploring the Denver A to Z exhibit:

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Everyday we spent time writing, sharing, and providing constructive feedback for one another. We created our own prompts, including, “Would you rather ____ or _____?” and sometimes the writing from these prompts ended up in our adventure stories. Check back soon for our online anthology!

On Thursday, we went to the Botanic Gardens to see the Chihuly exhibit and oh my goodness wow! We talked about setting a lot this day, and were inspired by his amazing glass sculptures throughout the gardens.

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Do you notice that we’re all wearing the same shirt? Annie and her mom, Sarah, made these for us! On the front they say “MDPL” and have a typewriter below, and on the back, they chose individual fonts for us, which, oddly enough, perfectly match our unique personalities. Thank you both for the shirts! They will be treasured for a long time!

On Friday, we chose our favorite excerpt, or excerpts, to read to our family and friends at our Publishing Party that evening. Then, we created books with an excerpt from everyone, plus photos from the week. These book binders will be loved for a very long time, we think. And, we’ll miss each other. It was just too much fun!

We could not have done so much this week without the help of our incredible volunteers. Matt Costa, thank you for being our “go-to” for EVERYTHING! Binding books, picking up tape, taking out the recycling, helping us with our writing, navigating the RTD — THANK YOU! Jeannette Barrow, thank you for joining us on Tuesday and for sharing your love of writing with us! Please come back again soon! Alyssa Duomo, thank you for figuring out an easy way to bind our journals — seriously, that was SO helpful! And thank you for spending the day at the Botanic Gardens with us, too.

Of course, Sarah Anema, our lead instructor, was fabulous! She kept us on track, inspired and challenged us, and made this week one to be remembered. She was funny and fun and gave us more writing time whenever we asked for it. Sarah, THANK YOU! We love you, and so does Denver Writes!

Does this sound like fun? Guess what? There’s one more camp in August! Ages 8-15 (we’ll figure out how to break into smaller, age specific groups) August 11th – 15th. We need 10 people to sign up to have the camp, so if you’re interested, fill out the application (here) and send it or email it by AUGUST 1st!

 

Writing Workshop: Flash Fiction (5/10/14)

Flash fiction, micro-fiction, sudden fiction…Whatever you’d like to call it, know this: These stories are short (and we mean short), intense (imagine a novel crossed with a haiku), and powerful (whether they’re illuminating a single moment or a whole life).

We started by writing 20 word introductions about a friend, which is much harder than it sounds. How do you introduce somebody in 20 words or less? We quickly learned that we needed to choose the perfect words and the most important details to describe our friend.

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Then we brainstormed a list of important elements in fiction and talked about how flash fiction stories use these same elements but in a special way. We discussed what Flash Fiction IS and what Flash Fiction IS NOT.

Finally, we wrote our own flash fiction stories, which you can read here. We really hope you enjoy them!

Read our stories from Flash Fiction

Writing Workshop: How To Be a Detective (4/12/14)

WHY are mysteries so compelling to read? That’s easy!  They’re like math problems to solve, they make you think about a characters’ motives, and it’s fun to act like detectives and look for clues!

During this workshop, we talked about mystifying motives, compelling clues, surprising suspects, & diligent detectives.

Using our observation skills and detective brains, we created an entire mystery around a strangely dressed visitor, Martha Seymore.

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We wondered and discussed:

Who? What? When? Where? Why?

Then we created our very own intriguing mysteries.

We hope you enjoy reading them!

Read our stories from How To Be a Detective

Writing Workshop: How Things Began (3/22/14)

Do you ever wonder how a certain thing got its start? Like the number 6? Where did he— or she—come from? And what about all those squiggly punctuation marks? The relaxing period, clever comma, ecstatic exclamation point, sleepy question mark—where did they sprout from? (Inspired by Karen Benke’s book Rip the Page! Adventures in Creative Writing, 2010)

Well, these are questions our talented writers have answered. With the help of wonderful volunteers, our writers have created some of the most inspired stories about where these symbols came from. We combined different shapes—jagged, rectangular, curved—with movements—plummeting, bending, staggering—to create images and stories about the symbols we use every day as writers. Enjoy!

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Read our stories from How Things Began

Writing Workshop: Sarcastic Encyclopedia (3/8/14)

In this workshop, we considered everything we knew to be true and we threw it right out the window! We used satire to twist our ideas around in sarcastic ways and created a real live and really strange encyclopedia. You may be surprised at what you learn. You may even disagree at times. Or, you may find the truth you’ve been looking for all along. We’ve reinvented history, and maybe even the way you think. Enjoy!

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Read our stories from: Sarcastic Encyclopedia

Writing Workshop: Calvin & Hobbes (1/11/14)

Using the hilarious antics and adventures of the beloved Calvin and Hobbes comic strip as inspiration, we practiced writing puns and poems, we used figurative language, sarcasm, and other complex language concepts and forms to write short stories. Click on the link below to read them. Prepare to laugh until it hurts!

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Read our stories from Calvin and Hobbes

 

This Cat is Smarter Than You

“I know all about excellent prose,” said Squishy the cat on Monday in his lavish study. The room was full of leather-bound books and smelled of mahogany. It was then I knew that this cat was the real deal. “I can help these Denver youths become masters of the written word, all they need is the courage to do so.”

He then added: “But they’re on their own when it comes to math.”

Summer Writing Camp — June!

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We just finished up our June Summer Writing Camp — Adventure Tales and Survival Stories! 13 kids from Denver (who all love to write!), 1 fantastic lead instructor, and 4 happy volunteers trekked all over Denver looking for inspiration for our stories, and we can’t wait to show them to you!

We went to the incredible Maps and Atlases room at the Central branch of the Denver Public Library — seriously, have you seen it? If not, call the library and go visit it asap. It’s amazing. We got to see the oldest known maps of Denver, which were fascinating. Many students used the maps as inspiration for the setting in their own stories.

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We got to visit the History Colorado Center and experience a simulated Dust Bowl storm. Students thought about what it would be like to survive in a scary situation — what would they need? How would they stay safe? What scary situation/villain/conflict would happen in their story? We also got to make our own rope and practice our ski jumps — some of us did better than others (on the ski jump). We didn’t want to leave, but we had to so we wouldn’t miss our bus. It’s so much fun taking a group of kids to a museum and having to force them to leave because they really want to stay!

Here’s Clary and Phoenix practicing their rope-making skills:

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We also visited (and had a blast at) the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys. On Friday, Adam visited us and taught us how to make our books, and students created their own covers. Our anthology from camp will be published on our website soon, so please check back!

And now, we gear up for our July camp for kids ages 12-15 (July 14-18). We can’t wait! If you’re interested in attending this camp, please contact us and we’ll send you the application.

Here’s to reading, writing, and finding your creative space!

New Name, New Site!

Hello Friends, Family & Volunteers of Metro Denver Promotion of Letters!

If you are reading this blog, you must’ve noticed our big news, but we wanted to explain it a little more clearly to you.

We’ve changed our name!

Metro Denver Promotion of Letters is now Denver Writes. After many months of planning and working, we’re ready to launch Denver Writes into the world. We will never forget our roots, so you’ll still our MDPL logos around our spaces and pages, but all of our programming will live under the name Denver Writes.

Our mission is to provide kids in the Denver area with a creative outlet through writing, and Denver Writes embodies exactly what we do and how we do it. Our new name is short and sweet, and we hope that all of you—volunteers, participants and parents alike—will love it as much as we do.

All of our programming will stay the same (or, rather, continue to get better and better!) and nothing in our space will change except our logos and name. We still believe that serving the community and being an accessible outlet for creativity is incredibly important, and we will continue to work to make this happen.

If you have any questions, concerns or comments about our name change, please e-mail us or leave us a comment.

We hope to hear from you soon!

Kait McNamee, Chair of the Board

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