The Lee’s Summit West High School Library and the English Language Arts Department hosted an Authors’ Panel and Writing Workshop for juniors enrolled in honors English. The Sept. 2 event featured authors Jennifer Brown, Amy Engel and Toriano Porter speaking with approximately 220 students.
Ms. Brown and Ms. Engel are both bestselling, award-winning and nationally known young adult authors. Mr. Porter is a former minor league football player and reporter for the Lee’s Summit Journal and current breaking news reporter for the Kansas City Star. He has also published two books. All three authors shared their own personal writing experiences as well as their journeys to getting published. In addition, they answered student questions about the writing process.
The workshop was in conjunction with a personal narrative the students are currently writing. The essential questions for the day’s event included: “How do writers purposefully create engaging and meaningful stories?” and “What is your personal story?”
Students questioned the authors about writer’s block, how to find writing ideas and how to create characters. Mr. Porter explained that he wants to share stories of the different people who inspired him. Ms. Brown noted that once writers start to pay attention, they notice we all “live life in stories.” Ms. Engel relayed to the students that writer’s block does not exist; instead, when writers don’t feel like writing, they should step away from their work. Brown reminded students that “all the magic comes in the revision,” and the other two authors strongly agreed. Students returned to their personal narratives with new ideas and more respect for the craft of writing.
Pictured at the event are (front row, from left) Jennifer Brown, author; Amy Taylor, librarian; (back row, from left) Toriano Porter, author; Megan Chambers, librarian; Marisa Ayers, Lisa McWain and Jen Bailey, all English language arts teachers; and Amy Engel, author.