Author Jack Cheng Does Zoom Writing Workshop with Ferndale Students


Author Jack Cheng Does Zoom Writing Workshop with Ferndale Students

(Drew Saunders, June 10, 2020)

Ferndale, MI – The coronavirus may have thrown a wrench into the works of the school year, but that didn’t stop Ferndale students from working on their creative writing. And recently a group of young scribes got some extra special help, from author Jack Cheng.

The original plan was for Cheng to visit Ferndale Middle School teacher Aaron Blatt’s students during March Is Reading Month. But when the coronavirus outbreak forced school closures, that was no longer an option.  Thankfully Cheng applied his creative thinking skills to finding a solution, and he offered to do a Zoom workshop for the kids.

“Jack has an easy manner with kids and during the writing workshops he was gently encouraging to all who attended. I think the way he presented was clear and straightforward. I love that he cultivated the kids’ creativity with all of their wacky ideas and fun plot suggestions,” said Ferndale Librarian Elissa Zimmer who also helped with the workshop.

Cheng helped the students with their work, giving ideas and constructive feedback.  Among them was Sky Dixon, who wrote a story called Dragons Universe.

“This is a very imaginative story! I liked the fast clip of it, the movement from scene to scene. Skye also seems to have a clear sense of what the main character needs to learn by the end of the story,” he said of the student’s work.

Cheng’s suggestions helped the little details to be even better, such as changing up repetitive “and then’s” to “buts” and “therefore’s.”

“The workshop helped me learn how I could make my own stories better and now I know some of the do’s and don’ts,” Dixon said.

Cheng is a Detroit-based author, whose children’s book, See You In The Cosmos, is about a child trying to launch his iPod into space. The hour and a half zoom session was designed to help Ferndale students establish how to outline a story, develop characters and establishing character motivations.

“I really enjoyed the workshop,” said student Jade Blair. “I think it was an amazing experience and I learned a lot of new things about writing a story. It was a once in a lifetime experience and I am so thankful that I was able to attend.”

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