From students to published authors: Creative Writing 2 will host E-book release launch party at the Wolf Cafe

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From students to published authors: Creative Writing 2 will host E-book release launch party at the Wolf Cafe

Working on his novella before the approaching publishing date, senior Hayden Riehl hopes to grow both his understanding of the world around him and the world’s understanding of him. “I find writing for storytelling to be incredibly therapeutic, just from some of the stories that people have written in class that I've [seen],” Riehl said. “It was them literally working through a trauma that they've had in the past or something that they're trying to get their own heads wrapped around. Stories can do that. They can help you navigate a sea of your own thoughts.”

Working on his novella before the approaching publishing date, senior Hayden Riehl hopes to grow both his understanding of the world around him and the world’s understanding of him. “I find writing for storytelling to be incredibly therapeutic, just from some of the stories that people have written in class that I've [seen],” Riehl said. “It was them literally working through a trauma that they've had in the past or something that they're trying to get their own heads wrapped around. Stories can do that. They can help you navigate a sea of your own thoughts.”

Caroline Judd

Working on his novella before the approaching publishing date, senior Hayden Riehl hopes to grow both his understanding of the world around him and the world’s understanding of him. “I find writing for storytelling to be incredibly therapeutic, just from some of the stories that people have written in class that I've [seen],” Riehl said. “It was them literally working through a trauma that they've had in the past or something that they're trying to get their own heads wrapped around. Stories can do that. They can help you navigate a sea of your own thoughts.”

Caroline Judd

Caroline Judd

Working on his novella before the approaching publishing date, senior Hayden Riehl hopes to grow both his understanding of the world around him and the world’s understanding of him. “I find writing for storytelling to be incredibly therapeutic, just from some of the stories that people have written in class that I've [seen],” Riehl said. “It was them literally working through a trauma that they've had in the past or something that they're trying to get their own heads wrapped around. Stories can do that. They can help you navigate a sea of your own thoughts.”

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In a frenzy to finish before their deadline, the Creative Writing 2 class logs hours that will result in a published E-book on the Amazon Kindle Store.
Amazon’s self-publishing program, Kindle Direct Publishing, will help students enrolled in Creative Writing 2 achieve their goals of becoming published authors while in high school.

“I am super nervous about self-publishing. Whenever I put my name on something, I want to say I am proud of it, so I don’t want to do something halfway,” senior Hayden Riehl said. “I want to make sure I’m telling the story that I’m proud of and that relates to me. Having a half-baked idea and publishing that – if I didn’t have enough time to flush it out – I don’t want to put my name on that [because] I’m not proud that it’s mine.”

Publishing may be seen as a daunting task to some students but to senior Danielle Brunig, the opportunity to have a creative outlet of their own control leaves a lasting impact.

“It feels really empowering to create [a world] because it’s mine. I can do whatever I want with it. I could kill off all the characters. I wouldn’t, but the fact that I could is so cool,” Brunig said. “I’ve learned that you have more power than you think you do, even when you’re just writing a story. It just comes out in unique ways.”

For English teacher Dan Barnes, the idea for this project came a few years ago and getting it approved involved seeking approval from Parkway’s Curriculum and Technology Coordinators. However, Barnes pushed through because he believes that it holds an important lesson for his students.

I’ve always found storytelling to be one of the most important things that we have as people. It’s one of those things that we have that helps connect us to people that we might not otherwise relate to very well. Stories help build bridges as well as burn them. They help [you] see things from a different perspective. A good story takes you on a journey.”

— Hayden Riehl

“What you do can have effects and changes on the world, and it’s not just only contained within the classroom. [The project] is giving students an opportunity to do something, not just for their teacher, but for a much larger audience,” Barnes said. “[It] can be terrifying but also very motivating and very exciting. I remember when I first told some students about this project, I saw some eyes light up like, ‘wait I’m going to be a published author!’ because yeah, you are. You can be.”

Creative writing, according to Riehl, is important in that it helps people connect and may help him in his potential career.

“I’ve always found storytelling to be one of the most important things that we have as people. It’s one of those things that we have that helps connect us to people that we might not otherwise relate to very well. Stories help build bridges as well as burn them. They help [you] see things from a different perspective. A good story takes you on a journey,” Riehl said. “I’m hoping to get out of here and become a filmmaker. I’m hoping to go to film school, so I want to spend my life telling stories and making things that hopefully other people can relate to.”

This project is the final assignment in the Creative Writing program, and Barnes believes it captures the essence of the course.

“When Creative Writing became its own class and I got to write the curriculum for it, I wanted it to be about choice, and I wanted it to be about the public sphere. That’s what this project does. It allows students to have the choice and to get their writing up to the public,” Barnes said. “Writing is important, cathartic and meaningful, and I want to be a part of the program that celebrates that.”

The class is hosting a launch party at the Wolf Cafe, May 1, from 7-8 p.m.

“It’s almost like your graduation gift if you’re a senior. It’s like you’re giving something back to the world, and I think that’s pretty cool because you created this,” Brunig said. “I really hope people show up. It’s an opportunity for us to celebrate our successes, and it would mean a lot to all of the writers who will be celebrated.”

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