YORKTOWN, N.Y. – In one room, a Byram Hills High School junior worked with a professional editor on strengthening an essay she had written on attending her first funeral, while a Clarkstown High School student listened closely as a published author explained how tightening her story would improve it. It was all part of the annual Young Authors Master Class: A Day of Writing and Editing, held Monday at Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES in Yorktown.
The full-day seminar gathered some of the region’s most talented young writers from local high schools, giving them an opportunity to focus on the craft of writing and learn from professionals.
The master class also provided a chance for aspiring writers to discuss their work with fellow students who share their love for writing and language. The workshop, sponsored by the Curriculum Center at BOCES, was led by Cathy Greenwood, a writer and creative writing expert.
“This is like the pep rally for writing students,” said Greenwood. “This is a place where they can come together, take chances with their writing and hear what other students and professionals have to say about it. The students who are here are also excited to be in a room with peers who are just as excited by writing as they are.”
Byram Hills student Allegra Samsen came to the conference with an essay she had written on a funeral that she had attended as a young girl with her mother. During her one-to-one conference, editor and publishing consultant Sangeeta Mehta encouraged Samsen to focus on the piece’s central theme. “Is it more about your first funeral or is it about bonding with your mother,” Mehta asked, while also offering editing suggestions and praising descriptive details.
Samsen said later that she appreciated the opportunity of the 30-minute writing conference. “I was hoping to have an amazing experience here today and I think I’ve succeeded in having one.”
The writing professionals who participated in the master class said they hoped to both encourage the next generation of writers and help them understand that good writing involves rewriting and editing.
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