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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Manuscript (04/29/10)

TITLE: Future Literature in Progress
By Allen Stark
05/02/10


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The most important element of any manuscript is its content. Since the purpose of language, spoken or written, is communication, the content communicated should be the primary focus of any writing effort. Without significant and appropriate content there is no reason to write. Therefore, any writer, beginner or seasoned, must know how to think through and choose a significant topic for each writing endeavor.

Ever since my grandmother formed the skeleton of my reading and writing talent, writing has been my better world where my imagination is king. Teachers of reading and writing should offer this same self-creation to their students, hoping to make their lives richer and happier while giving them more alternatives.

I worked with the youth writer for over twenty years. A few years ago I found the literature the youth were writing was beginning to lose its youthful innocence. The poetry and stories I was getting seemed restricted somehow, and it lacked the happy, creative energy of youthful art. I wanted to find, if I could, a way for my students to get from their writing some of what they did from other activities that gave them pleasure, such as, music and sports.

I began to encourage them more toward being free, deep and extravagant in what they wrote, so they could find what was hidden in them that needed saying. I tried to get my students to understand and believe that writing is a grip on existence, an empowerment, and a way to listen to the inner truth of the self. If I could get them to do this, they would begin a life-long dialogue which would put them in touch with the funniest, the most imaginative, and the truest of their visions when writing their manuscripts. And they would be keeping great company with their own genius.

The poems and stories I began receiving were beautiful, imaginative, lyrical, funny, different, and touching. The students began to get in touch with feelings they had forgotten, and should have been dealing with all along. Their writing also reminded me of my own childhood and how much I had forgotten about it. The manuscripts were innocence, elation, and intelligence. They no longer had a sad quality to them. The things they wrote had a lovely music about them.

We all, especially the youthful writer, if we can get in touch with it, have a natural talent for imagination. All we have to do is discover our strong feelings, spontaneity, sensitivity, and carefree inventiveness.

Our youth learn to respect writing and to know it as a central aspect of life by living in a home where the family frequently writes, be it on notepaper or a computer word program. Families should be writing—things remembered, stories of love and laughter, and yes, even painful things that hopefully don't occur too often, the silly things that make the family uniquely different from all the rest; family stuff—important stuff.

What the creative minds of our children need are more opportunities to say what they can and need to say, sooner. That is why I developed the Future Literature In Progress (F.L.I.P.) program as a supplement to regular classroom programs.

Hundreds of thousands are today hacking away at the various limbs of discontent, while others attempt to strike at the root of the problem. Teaching to communicate at higher levels, in order to express our thoughts and feelings through writing, is a positive action and is a better way of getting at the root of the problem.

Those who teach have an awesome responsibility in the task of educating students, because the abilities to think precisely, learn successfully, communicate effectively, and to live responsibly depend heavily on the skillful use of language. Training must be provided that will enable the young writers of manuscripts to master language skills that will cause the agents and publishers to jump out of their seats when they pick up a manuscript being queried.

Without written and spoken communication we would not have some of the priceless treasures on our library shelves. In order for us to continue sharing to the next generation, and the next, we must be competent communicators writing the publishable manuscript.


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This article has been read 469 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dolores Stohler05/06/10
Wow! You are one great educator and very well educated to boot. I stand in awe of your talent.
Laura Anne Harrison05/06/10
This is wonderful! It is so full of excellent ideas for young future writers of tomorrow. As a former English/Creative Writing/ Journalism teacher, I appreciate your approach to teaching children and young people to be creative in writing what they know, what they feel, and what is important to them.
Helen Dowd 05/07/10
This is good advice for young writers, and even for the not-so-young. "Write what you know" is the best advice that can be given to any novice writer. You are a teacher, and are passing on your knowledge to your students--that is, anyone who will be open enough to take your advice, regardless of their age...Great stuff!...Helen
Jan Ackerson 05/07/10
Your third paragraph, in particular, was inspiring!
Mildred Sheldon05/08/10
This my friend is a keeper. Being a novice this is inspirational. Thank you for what I consider a master piece.
The Masked Truelovers05/11/10
Good article; good encouragement for writers to reach inside of themselves and express what they feel in creative, inspirational, and intelligent ways.