Writing 101: These middle school students know their prose


CLEAR FORK VALLEY — A savvy group of middle school students is happy to tell anyone about the fertility of their minds.

Young Claire Blubaugh goes to school equipped with her computer, on which she has written her findings of sometimes odd words, and their meanings.

She says she sometimes talks to acquaintances, and they look at her like she has somehow mis-spoken.

It’s probably because, she says, she might refer to someone who has an empty head. But she says it is a capitulum idle.

This, for the record, means a compact head of a structure, in particular a dense, flat cluster of small flowers or florets, as in plants of the daisy family.

Blubaugh is one of four students who loves to write. There is an event in the state named “Power of the pen.”

This is a statewide competition, in which kids can gather and participate in writing competitions.

Bev Knell, a language arts teacher at Clear Fork, said the competition for this year was canceled by one of the founders. But this doesn’t mean kids can’t still hone their writing skills.

Claire Stewart said she is a “big geek.” She said in fourth and fifth grades she got into reading. She also plays lots of video games and found there are lots of ways she can add to her writing.

She says she “has her own style” and when she is not “acting on the side,” she likes to work on her grammar technique.

When kids would participate in the Power of the Pen events, they would have three sessions where they would be given “prompts.” Then they’d be given 40 minutes to write. This happened three times.

Then the stories are judged. Knell said some of her former students did well at the state level of the Power of the Pen.

Stewart said she likes to see characters that are well developed. A game she plays is named kidicarus. It has dialogue which she said is “snappy.” Two characters, Pit and Palutena, play a game and they carry on much back and forth conversation.

Allison Ross said she like to use “real life things.” But some things come out “twisted.” Fantasy is involved. Everyone has “some kind of special ability.”

She said in her stories there is a scene in which the first thing a “soulmate” says to you appears on your wrist.

It is possible for a person to have more than one “soulmate,” she said. It can turn out that the “soulmate” isn’t the kind of person you want him or her to be.

MacKenzie Kiener said she sometimes writes about a “spooky computer.”

All the girls get laptops at school, and those are equipped with a number of apps.

Kiener says she can stay up until 2 a.m. reading. She “likes to write scary.”

The girls have come to their writing in some similar ways.

They collectively said there are people who are “not supportive.”

Stewart said “a lot of us have stories. It’s hard to be a writer.”

Ross says she plays soccer but feels she is still “looked down on.”

Blubaugh said there is something that “haunts” her. When she was in the very early grades, first, second and third, she was told she had the “Claire touch.”

This meant she had the hated “cooties.” This is an insult familiar to many, because people would use the “cootie” term to demean someone.

These young writers have the advantage of using laptops.

One thing they have yearned about is access to something that’s pretty old fashioned.

That is an old, lumbering, heavy but realistic typewriter.

Claire Stewart
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By LOUISE SWARTZWALDER

lswartzwalder@aimmediamidwest.com