I visited a high school class to talk about writing. I have done this for a few years now and usually have fun doing it. This group was special, though.
There were engaged, and seemed to have genuine interest in what my work is like. They asked really interesting questions, well beyond “How much money do you make?”
One girl told me she has 30 notebooks of writings she has done. She let me look through one and I was very impressed by the fact she had written the same story from the point of view of different characters. Think of “Poisionwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver. I didn’t think many high school kids had the imagination to do something like that, but she was well on her way.
A young man asked what he should be reading now. I asked what his favorite genre was. He said he like police stories, so I suggested he read something outside of his usual comfort zone. He had not yet read “Lord of the Rings” which I consider mandatory reading for everyone, so I suggested that. He said he would. Another convert!
Each time I visit, we do a writing exercise. We start with a painfully boring sentence: The man walked across the room. Their job is to make that sentence more interesting by use of stronger verbs, colorful adjectives and plenty of description. Once they finished each one read their work, and some of them volunteered to act out what they had written.
Again, they were involved and enthusiastic. I am also happy to report not a single one of them mentioned anything about a zombie.