This is the third post in a series on writing fanfiction for kids. Earlier posts are: On Teaching a Fanfiction Workshop for Kids and Writers in the Schools – A Second Time Round.
Day One: Introducing Fanfiction
On the first day, I introduced the concept of fanfiction and started in on the prewrite process.
5 to 10 minutes: Introducing myself
I introduced myself and talked a little about what it was like to be a writer, and what kinds of things I had written. I had learned from my Writers in the Schools experience that having a bit of an “author glamour” helps keep students engaged and interested. I also touched on writers block as a lead-in to the next activity.
5 to 10 minutes: Warmup
This idea came from the teacher and is great! I handed out half-sheets of lined paper. The teacher took a wastepaper basket and put it on the front desk. The students wrote for three minutes, then crumpled the papers and threw them toward the basket.
Of course the question came up: “But what if I like what I wrote and don’t want to recycle it???” I gave them The Look and then said, “Okay, fine, but then you don’t get to play basketball!”
10 minutes: General concepts
- Fanfiction means writing a story using characters from a book, TV show, or movie.
- It’s great practice for writing short stories using your own characters.
- Since many books, TV shows, and movies are copyrighted, there are various laws about what you can and can’t do. Writing fanfiction in a classroom but not publishing it is called “fair use.” Just like you cite sources when you write research papers, it’s important to say which book, TV show, or movie you used.
- Examples of two authors who wrote fanfiction books and then went on to write their own novels: Kij Johnson and Vonda McIntyre. I showed them my copies of Kij Johnson’s Dragon’s Honor (Star Trek novel) and The Fox Woman, as well as my copies of The Entropy Effect (Star Trek novel) and The Moon and the Sun.
20 minutes: Brainstorming
Then we brainstormed a list of books, movies, and TV shows that the kids might like to use, and the students broke up into groups to discuss the ideas. Each student then picked one they wanted to use.
We ended the day with the kids full of energy.
Next up: Day Two