Historical Fiction and Dazzling Revisions at ‘Historical’ Isaac Brock School

I had the great pleasure of spending a whole week at Isaac Brock School in January (besides the incredible students and staff, what an intriguing building – 100+ years old!).

This residency was unique (just the way I like ’em! 🙂 ) in several ways. First, I ‘rolled into town’ at the revision stage of the writing process with the students of Room 2 – quite often I’m there before your stories have even been sparked. Not this time – you’d already been hard at work developing your plots and drafts, so we got to zig-zag back through the process like I always do as a writer (revision is like retracing your steps, only you ‘notice more’ as you journey a second, third, fourth time along your story path…). We created character webs based on characters we’d already developed, to see if we could give them more depth (and you sure did); we paid a lot of attention to story world and descriptive language to bring our ideas to life in our readers’ minds; and we even did a “reverse story board” where you charted your plots on a story board to see if there were any holes to plug and places to go further (there were! you did!). You worked so very hard, and our sharing afternoon on the last day knocked my socks off. I didn’t realize that you were incredible voice actors as well as writers (the drama and expression with which you read was awesome – showed you were passionate about your stories, too!)

In Room 8, it was another ‘first’ for me: you were working on historical fiction. Personally, this was very exciting since I was in the middle of a historical fiction kick (specifically reading anything about historical situations circa 17th century England). You delved into Canadian history by choosing a person or a symbol, doing research, and then bringing them to life in a fictional piece. Some took great care in developing descriptive pieces that touched all of our senses; others recreated a famous event inviting us to respond with our hearts and minds; still others put a historical person they’d ‘gotten to know’ in their research into a fictitious situation, imagining how he or she would face obstacles and challenges. You did terrific work and I was especially impressed with how you gave and received feedback to one another and were willing to shape your drafts into polished gems. Way to go!

Thank you to the wonderful teachers and students at Isaac Brock for spending a week with me, sharing your creativity, and working really hard at projects that were very challenging. I learned a lot, too!

Till we meet again!
Karin 🙂