The first photo shows most of our group on the last day of the conference. We had eighteen students earlier. A few had to leave before the shot was taken.
The second photo shows me teaching in our classroom. That particular slide explains some of the symptoms of "preachy" writing. I frequently showed movie clips to demonstrate the various aspects of storytelling. I think watching short scenes from familiar movies helped students understand how great stories develop.
We also had consultation times. In the third photo, I'm having a meeting with one of the students. We talked about writing projects, how to improve stories, and strategies on getting published. Often, I simply encouraged them to keep on writing, to persevere in what God has called them to do.
We also conducted three critique sessions that lasted up to four and a half hours, all three ending sometime between 12:30 and 1:00 in the morning. Then we would get up early for breakfast and our 8:30 class. Sound like torture? Far from it. Both this year and last year, students tell me these sessions were the highlight of the conference.
Below, you will see one of our students reading a manuscript. Usually, we projected the document on the screen. This was one of the few times a student read from a paper copy. After the reading, the other students and I would offer our thoughts. Lots of laughter made these sessions unforgettable. (For my students - Does this photo catch your eye?)
Below, you will see a typical sight at the conference, students working on laptops. I gave them assignments each day, so when class wasn't in session, they stayed busy ... with their homework, I hope. In the motel lobby it wasn't unusual to scan the area and count more than ten laptops propped open and conferees pecking away at the next mega best seller.
And finally, with the following photo of one of our mealtimes, you can see that there was plenty of time for fun and fellowship. Considering that I am still corresponding with students from last year, the friendships we make at these conferences don't fall by the wayside. I count some of these super teens as real friends.
Plans for next year's conference are underway. For teens that attended this year or last year, please note that I am planning to present new material, so new challenges await.
Check this site for information about the conference. I hope to see even more students there in 2009.