Student writing workshops to be held at Mega Genius | ParkRecord.com

Student writing workshops to be held at Mega Genius

The Mega Genius Supply Store and I.Q. H.Q. has scheduled its first workshop for students in grades seven through 12.

"Creatives" is a creative-writing workshop presented by Park City resident Paula Altschuler, who is working for her master of fine arts degree in writing at Goddard College in Port Townsend, Washington.

The workshop, which will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4 p.m. beginning March 22, will help students develop their creativity, by examining innovative and literary techniques, which go beyond metaphors, Altschuler said.

"I really want to stretch the imagination of these kids," she told The Park Record. "It’s really about having fun while writing. They’ll need to learn about the rules in writing, and as they start writing creatively, they’ll find ways to bend or break those rules in order to make the form more interesting."

The students will also study how different writers used a variety of literary techniques to enhance their writings.

"We’ll look at how poet Anne Carson used poetic language to write a novel and recreated a Greek Myth to present day," Altschuler said. "We’ll see how Aimee Bender used magical realism in her book ‘The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake’ and learn how Junot Diaz used footnotes in his stories.

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The students will also learn about writing prompts.

"We’ll use Brian Kiteley’s ‘The 3 a.m. Epiphany,’ which has really great story starters designed to get their minds going," Altschuler said. "Sometimes all writers need something to get the words flowing."

Of course, writing will be a major part of the workshops.

"I really want to get into the heat of the writing and get to a point where the students are not thinking about it, but where they’re feeling it," Altschuler said. "I want to show them how to tap into that magical place, because once they find it, the addiction begins."

Altschuler wants to emphasize that creative writing isn’t all about using big vocabulary words.

"It’s about making the language sparkle," she said. "It’s about how to be interesting by using a word like ‘it.’ There are writers that make ‘it’ the most interesting word of a story."

Throughout the workshops, students will write their own two-to-three page short stories.

"We’ll analyze the stories and talk about what works and what doesn’t work, rather than what we like or what we don’t like," Altschuler said. "We’re not going to make judgments. Instead, we’ll tinker and show the students that writing is like yoga.

"There is no yoga master who is the best, because yogis continue to improve by finding new positions with their bodies, just as writers find new ways of using language and forms."

Altschuler got into writing at an early age.

"I was always writing poetry, even though I wasn’t very good," she said with a laugh. "I was always trying to express myself with stories and words."

Unsurprisingly, Altschuler enrolled in the two-year creative-writing program in college.

"Goddard created a low-residency creative-writing program," she said. "Students attend the first week of the semester at the school for an intensive week of writing classes and advisor meetings."

The students then return to their homes, "mimicking" the lifestyle of a professional writer, Altschuler said.

"So, I’m alone, completing a bunch of assignments that involve intensive reading," she said. "I’m also writing a thesis, which will essentially become my first novel when the two years are over."

The curriculum also requires MFA students to go into their communities and teach.

"I had the option to teach on a more traditional level or work with a non-profit organization like the Mega Genius Store," Altschuler said. "I thought working with Mega Genius was a great idea."

The "Creativities" writing workshop is a three-week program that will meet at Mega-Genius Supply Store and I.Q. H.Q, 436 Swede Alley, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, March 22-April 7. Beginning at 4 p.m. The workshop is open to students in grades seven through 12. For more information, contact Ann Johnson at (435) 655-8252 or email ajohnson@ecclescenter.org and sign up with name, phone, email, grade and school.

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