Young adult author Gordon Korman visits Bow Memorial School

Young adult author Gordon Korman leads an adventure writing workshop with Bow Memorial School students on Tuesday.

Young adult author Gordon Korman leads an adventure writing workshop with Bow Memorial School students on Tuesday. JEREMY MARGOLIS / Monitor staff

Young adult author Gordon Korman leads an adventure writing workshop with Bow Memorial School students on Tuesday, April 16.

Young adult author Gordon Korman leads an adventure writing workshop with Bow Memorial School students on Tuesday, April 16. JEREMY MARGOLIS—Monitor staff

Young adult author Gordon Korman leads an adventure writing workshop with Bow Memorial School students on Tuesday, April 16.

Young adult author Gordon Korman leads an adventure writing workshop with Bow Memorial School students on Tuesday, April 16. JEREMY MARGOLIS—Monitor staff

Young adult author Gordon Korman leads an adventure writing workshop with Bow Memorial School students on Tuesday, April 16.

Young adult author Gordon Korman leads an adventure writing workshop with Bow Memorial School students on Tuesday, April 16. JEREMY MARGOLIS—Monitor staff

By JEREMY MARGOLIS

Monitor staff

Published: 04-19-2024 1:29 PM

Horseback riding, Greek mythology, the soccer field, a New Hampshire-inspired repressive society.

For 31 Bow Memorial School students who participated in a writing workshop led by legendary young adult author Gordon Korman, wherever things could go wrong, they did.

During a 45-minute lesson in the Bow Memorial library Tuesday afternoon, Korman – the author of 103 books, including classics such as “Swindle,” “Restart” and “Masterminds” – taught fifth through eighth grade students how to write a captivating adventure scene.

The students started by selecting an activity, which Korman said could be realistic or fantasy, new or familiar.

“If you want to write about ninja warfare in zero gravity in outer space, that totally works for me,” said Korman, who was in New Hampshire for two days of school visits in Bow and Hudson.

“I’ve written about a lot of things I haven’t done,” Korman added. “I was not on the Titanic. How old do you think I am?”

After a few minutes of brainstorming, Korman directed the students to come up with a conflict or disaster of some sort.

“Writing adventure is almost the art of coming up with really, really cool things that could go wrong,” Korman told them.

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Chyann, an eighth grader, wrote about a coma-inducing hockey injury that caused her character to lose vision. Though Chyann plays hockey, the idea for her scene thankfully did not stem from any injury of her own.

“We had someone come to the school a few weeks ago who was visually impaired, and I thought that was really inspiring,” she said.

At the end of the workshop, Chyann gave her partly written story to library media specialist Janine Rousseau-Evans.

Rousseau-Evans led the effort to organize Korman’s visit, a process that took 18 months of planning. Bow Memorial tries to host one author visit each year, but Korman’s was the first since before the pandemic. The visit also included two assemblies and book signings.

“It just is great to have something for the students who are wanting more,” Rousseau-Evans said. “They just are craving this.”

The students who participated either volunteered or, when there was too much interest, were selected at random. Seven or eight students from each of the middle school grades were included.

As the students wrote, Korman bounced around the room, offering encouragement and answering questions.

“I can’t believe how you’ve taken off on this because it seemed like you were stuck for a moment and you really passed through,” he told a seventh grader.

At the end of the 45-minute seminar, five students read what they had written and Korman offered feedback.

Grant, a seventh grader, incorporated the personalities of Odysseus, Athena and Penelope into a dramatic, dialogue-heavy scene that drew rousing applause from the other members of the workshop.

Korman admitted that his one-time co-author, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” scribe Rick Riordan, was better-equipped to opine on Grant’s piece.

But, Korman said, “The voices run really, really true.”