So yesterday I found myself totally lost in convoluted hallways, marveling at how tall the lockers were, and my older sister was there with me in the same building. The last time that all happened, I was a 14 year-old freshman, so I was having some major dejavu! However, this time around, neither of us were the students. We were both the teachers, and I had the privilege of guest teaching a section of my big sis Ms. Sherrington’s Creative Writing class. One of the best aspects of teaching is how much you learn, so instead of my lecture, you’re gonna hear what our students taught us!
As a published author, my job that day was to encourage the students in defining and communicating a productive message arising from their unique experiences to share with the world via the written word. After a rapid-fire blitz through the process of publishing, I had talked quite long enough (most students I’ve worked with have experienced this with me at least once!). It was time for immediate hands-on application: the class had to accomplish every step of the publishing process in less than 20 minutes. Let’s see how they did, shall we?
Step 1: The Message
Melanie provided the core concept the class decided the world needed to know (and therefore became the author): “Don’t Smoke”. Obviously relevant in a world where both young and old reach for increasing varieties of chemical soothers.
Step 2: Research
How do we convey the message in a way others haven’t? Cooper and Taya spearheaded our research phase, concluding that existing efforts focus enough on young people but not adequately on older more chronic smokers who may feel it’s too late for quitting to have any significant benefit. The class decided to hone the message even further by emphasizing that e-cigs are not necessarily less dangerous than cigarettes.
Step 3: Writing
Now to put the finely-tuned idea into actual written words. With confident and fantastically neat penmanship, Zach transcribed the original manuscript as you can see on the right page up there. Preach it brother. So well-articulated, so profound, and so written down.
Step 4: Editing
But not without at least a little room for improvement. Olivia, with an acute sense of how the audience might best absorb the message, reorganized the text and added some punctuation to give Zach’s brief manuscript a little more punch. Undoubtedly, the message was now stated in its nigh finest form.
Step 5: Layout and Illustrations/Cover Design
Now to put the manuscript onto the book page! As you can see below, Shana beautifully formatted the manuscript, grabbing the reader’s attention with the bold font and choice of ALL CAPS. The use of cigarettes for Roman numeral page numbers was an especially creative touch. Author Melanie and her associate Matthew incorporated the class’ input into a new audience-targeting, thought-provoking title and then perfected the cover and illustration design as you see up top. I challenge you to find a more accurate depiction of tobacco-associated pulmonary disease and popcorn lung! “How Long Do You Wanna Live?” was born.
Step 6: Launch
Wasting no time, the class decided the publication date would be that day, and Taylor and Eleyna became our social media book promoters. Boom. “How Long Do You Wanna Live?” is available worldwide!
Step 7: Marketing and Publicity
This is where I get to play a role! To extend the scope of the class’ published message beyond the social media circle of these accomplished students, I am using this blog and all of my social media and internet outlets to promote this book! Like, comment, and share liberally (Click to tweet)! Moreover, the book is free and as easy to access as downloading a picture. Literally! 🙂
So here’s my official shout out to the world: Enjoy “How Long Do You Wanna Live?” by Melanie V. today! It’s one of the shortest books you’ll ever read, and yet it might just remind you of a tidbit that could save your life. Or least stave off popcorn lung, right? The wisdom of youth from the authorship of youth, published start to finish in less than 20 minutes! Well done Creative Writing students; keep sharing your message with the world!
Did you know that students created all the illustrations for the Healing Hereafter book series as well? Check out their fantastic works of art and the significant messages they convey; the series is available free and instantly here!