Author mentors young writers

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Caroline Cooney helps students hone their writing skills

By Jesef Williams

INDIAN LAND – A few young aspiring writers recently got the chance to receive one-on-one mentorship from a nationally known author.

Caroline B. Cooney, who has written dozens of books for teenagers, worked with a select group of students at Indian Land Middle and Indian Land High schools on two separate days earlier this month.

Cooney, now a Sun City Carolina Lakes resident, saw the high school students Nov. 3 and the middle school students Tuesday. The workshop sessions were held at the Del Webb Library at Indian Land.

Before meeting, each student was required to read one of Cooney’s books to get familiar with her style and then begin writing their own short stories.

During the workshop, Cooney taught the groups about plots and character development – all helping to further develop their own stories. She led them through oral plotting of their stories and then gave writing prompts for them as they wrote.

“Each student had numerous pages written of original work by the end,” said Cheryl Brown, a library staff member who helped organize the workshop. “It was so much fun to see the creativity and amazing writing ability of the students.”

Elizabeth Ashley, media specialist at Indian Land High, said each English teacher was asked to recommend two students whom they believed would appreciate and benefit from the workshop.

Each participating students not only spent part the day with Cooney, but also received a free copy of one of her novels. Cooney also donated materials to the two schools.

Ashley said Cooney’s time meant a lot and hopefully the experience will positively affect the students’ writing.

“Having the person there as a resource was incredible,” Ashley said. “The kids seemed to respond well.”

Raised in Old Greenwich, Conn., Cooney has written more than 80 books for teens. Popular titles include “The Face on the Milk Carton,” “Burning Up” and “Diamonds in the Shadow.”

Her most recent work, “If the Witness Lied,” explores the power of love, devotion and forgiveness.

Contact reporter Jesef Williams  at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1152