Everyone had a wonderful and enriching time at the "How to be a Writer Program". Speaker, Sarah Cortez was an amazing resource and got us all writing and thinking about our writing. The only downside is it was so good that we were all left wanting more. Fortunately she foresaw this and had the teens write down questions that she has started answering on her Facebook page (check it out here).
Here's an answer to a question from a teen writer in the Texas City Library fiction writing workshop. The question is: how should I learn more vocabulary words and how to learn more words in English?
First, let me say, that I am proud of you for asking these important questions. Most people keep learning more and more new words throughout all of life. It's exciting, but can also feel overwhelming sometimes. That's way it's important to have a little system that is all your own.
I like to use a small notebook (sort of like the one you were given as a gift at the workshop). I write down new words I read or hear other people use in conversation. At the end of a day, it is good to go to your dictionary (remember how I suggested buying a used dictionary in the workshop?), look up the word, and, very importantly, write down the definition in your notebook alongside the new word. Spend few minutes memorizing the definition. Do you understand the definition? Does it contain any new words that you have to look up to understand? A couple of days later you can go back to your notebook, cover up the definition with your hand and see if you remember the defintion. If so, good for you! That means you've already learned the new word. If not, that's okay, but it also means you need to spend a little time commiting it to your memory.
Words are precious treasures we collect and learn all of our lives!
This is an answer to another question from a teen writer in Texas City. The question is: how long does it take sometimes to finish writing a book?
Oh, my...it can take a long time, maybe even years, but the good news is that it's a tremendously challenging type of fun! Like when you solve a puzzle that you didn't think at first you could solve.
When I work on a book, I don't think about how long it's going to take to finish. Instead, I focus on how well I can try to write the smaller parts that compose the book: the personalities of the characters, the description of the location, the conversations between characters, the unraveling of the plot of the story.
Part of what I love the most about writing is the magic of creating on paper what I "see" in my mind. That way I can bring other readers into the worlds that I imagine. Don't you just love that about writing (and reading too!)?
Writing is a great generosity.