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When Alyssa Anthony asked her 10th grade honors English class “If you could write a novel, what would it be about?” students began to talk about plots, and to jot down notes.
Demorris A. Lee’s article in the St. Petersburg Times explains that thirteen sophomores at Tarpon Springs High School have completed novels. Discussions about plot structure and how to develop a believable character were just the beginning. Students actually stuck it out and wrote complete novels.
Kayla Hoffsetter, 16, calls her 491 page novel “The Melting Pot.”
“Oh my God, to know that I completely wrote that myself,” she said. “That’s something that some people can’t do or say they have done.”
After eight months of writing, editing and rewriting, the students have revealed their work to family and friends. The books range from 60 to 491 pages. Literary genres include romantic mysteries, adventure and fantasy.
The spiral-spined books have covers designed by the school’s art club.
One author, Lee Gurley, is the author of “Blood of Honor,” a 140-page fantasy novel. He developed an entire race of creatures that could sugically implant whatever they wanted, for example, wings for flying.
“Very cool,” says Lee. “But I learned that no matter how hard you try, nothing ever stays the same. If you read the first draft to what I have now, it’s completely different. As you write, you get to know your characters more and by the time you are done…”
Rachel Warner wrote a 200-page book, “Dreaming Reality.” Ricky Thornton, who says he isn’t “big on writing,” wrote a 60 page novel and two 20-ish page short stories. The novel, “Thirty Days,” takes place in the wilderness. He says he learned how time-consuming writing is.
Teacher Alyssa Anthony gave all students a passing grade for completing a novel. Because different dialects were used, grading grammar posed a challenge. But all writers were still responsible for learning class material at the same time they were creating their books.
And Anthony says, “The class became such a family” as a result of working together. They read each other’s work and helped each other edit.
It’s about more than just talent, says Anthony; it’s about sharing yourself.
Read Demorris Lee’s article in the St. Petersburg Times at http://tinyurl.com/2g7w3jy.
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