Fauquier (Feb. 26) and Loudoun (April 2) Sessions:

Chris Humenik, Project Write Vice President

Chris Humenik teaches English and serves as the Writing Center Director at Loudoun Valley High School. He has been a teacher for over a decade and worked with both Project Write and the National Writing Project for half of that time. Chris has enjoyed working with creative writing clubs, teaching mythology, and working on developing new curriculum and courses at his schools.

Historical Fiction

Have you ever wondered how different life would be if the Egyptians built giant pools instead of pyramids? What about if the United States never experienced the Great Depression? Historical fiction asks students to take a moment from history and tweak it. This workshop focuses on helping students reimagine a specific moment in a greater historical event. So instead of rewriting the entire Civil War, I might write about the day Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation from a fictionalized character’s perspective.

Students should attend with a historical event in mind (though several will be offered in case you don’t!). It helps to have read a bit about the person or event ahead of time, but that certainly isn’t required.

Satire (grades 8-10)

In this session, we’ll be using both hyperbole and understatement to create satirical pieces. Want to get out some biting criticism of the latest trend or policy? Maybe you favor a quiet and sophisticated undermining! In this session, we’ll work to craft both ends of our satirical writing.

Students should arrive with an object for their piece in mind though several will be provided for those who don’t. Avenues for topics for satire might include: politics, school, fashion, sports, etc. Anything current and in need of a good scathing review is fair game!

Melanie Catron, Project Write At-Large Member

A former corrections officer and dance instructor, Melanie Catron has taught 6th grade mathematics and has run multiple after school programs involving writing, acting, and community service at Skyline Middle School in Front Royal, Va., for three years. Prior to moving to middle school, Melanie completed student teaching in a variety of grade levels and taught 5th grade in Frederick County Public Schools. While in her 5th grade classroom, she worked on a kindness project which involved planning acts of kindness, writing about these acts and how to enact them. Students completed a video reflection after finishing their project. She has been a certified Teacher Consultant for the National Writing Project for four years. She has worked in the Summer Young Writers’ Workshop and enjoys working with the budding authors in our community. In her free time, she enjoys reading, dancing, playing with her dogs, painting, and working with animals at her local humane society. She earned her BSAS in Criminal Justice studies through Youngstown State University and completed her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University.

Horror

In this workshop, we will work on how to identify what scares your readers by considering what scares us and each other; how to decide which type of horror story works best for our writing: horror and terror or violence and gore; and ways to build your setting as the setting of a horror story is a vital piece of the puzzle that can pull your readers in. We will also work on some methods to build and maintain suspense in your story.

Science Fiction

We will work on building the story and how to input the rules of the character’s reality into the story to allow the reader to understand what is happening as a large part of science fiction is that it is a believable story that has been transplanted into a different setting, era, or world. It is not mystical and magical, but events that could happen so have to be realistic in some aspect. If you give too much information at once though, your reader can get lost and the story can become more about information and rules than building the scene and the characters. We will discuss the importance of researching parts of your story to remain true to the aspects that need to be real or accurate before intertwining them with the fiction aspects of your story.

Moriah Creech, Project Write At-Large Member

A current 5th-grade teacher, Moriah taught 4th grade in Warren County and then Loudoun County for a total of 8 years. She is currently in her 9th year teaching and teaching 5th grade for the first time. She has enjoyed writing since she was a young child, and used reading and writing as a way to deal with the struggles she experienced growing up. She has been through Google Teacher Certification, is a Teacher Consultant for the National Writing Project, and is her school’s Equity Lead.

Becoming a Teacher Consultant sparked a passion for sharing writing with others and taught her new techniques for creating and teaching writing. While working with the Shenandoah Valley Writing Project, she observed students writing during a day of Project Write’s Summer Workshop. She realized then that a lot of students share her love and passion for writing and learning! She knew immediately that she wanted to be an instructor for Project Write!

Moriah lives with her husband, Warren, and their four children, Eli (16), Cayden (5), Baylen (5), and Delylah (2). She has two dogs, Mollie and Marina, and two hamsters, Fiona and Butters. She graduated from Old Dominion University with a Master of Science in Education in 2013. She is a firm believer in perseverance, positivity, and following your dreams. She believes that being a teacher and helping children is her calling and she cannot imagine ever doing anything else.

Fantasy

In this workshop, young writers will participate in writing tasks that require students to use their imagination and creativity to build stories around very unusual names and places. In addition, students will work on taking a personal story from their own lives and learn how to turn it into a magical fantasy story, which is not only fun but can be therapeutic as well.

Crime Fiction

Do you like true crime and documentaries? In this workshop, students will learn how to take true crime (age-appropriate, of course) and use that to create dynamic characters and plots. We will focus on the problem and solutions structure of detective stories and how crime stories often have numerous mini-problems throughout a story. Students will practice adding plot twists and cliffhangers.


Academies at Loudoun additional sessions (April 2)

Jessica Cavalier, Project Write Secretary and Academies at Loudoun Onsite Workshop Director

Jessica Cavalier has been working with writers for 20 years. She currently works as a high school reading specialist at John Champe High School in Aldie, Virginia, and has worked with middle and high schoolers during her years as an English teacher and reading specialist. She was a part of the inaugural Shenandoah Valley Writing Project in 2005 and has been an active teacher-consultant ever since. She serves on the board for SVWP and for Project Write, Inc.

Jessica is currently a doctoral candidate at Shenandoah University in the Educational Leadership program, earned her Masters of Science as a reading specialist at Shenandoah University, and graduated with a BA in English Education from East Tennessee State University’s Honors Program.

When she is not working with students on reading and writing, she can be found working on writing of her own. Her current project is her doctoral dissertation, with a focus on improving collaborative work and group interactions. However, she loves to write creatively, too! In fact, one of the favorite things she finds that her writing can do is make people laugh.

Jessica loves teaching for Project Write, Inc. so much that she brought her two daughters to participate in the program. This means she has a personal interest in making the program the best it can be!

Unexpected Pairings: Fun With Fan Fiction

Let’s play with some of your favorite characters from pop culture and literature–and put them in unexpected combinations and situations! In this interactive workshop, you’ll brainstorm with other writers about people, places, and pairings, then create a dialogue between the characters you’ve chosen. Then we’ll step back and explore plot devices and settings, so that you have the beginning of a unique universe you’ve created–something you can continue to build after our workshop is over.    

From Characterization to Conflict

Whether you’re developing a piece of fiction or writing from personal experience, this interactive workshop is all about delving more deeply into your characters and understanding that character can be the basis for conflict. By creating dysfunctional thought records using the perspectives of our characters, we will explore our characters’ assumptions and biases–and we will learn how these can drive the plot. By pausing to explore characters’ thoughts, feelings, and actions, we can finally hear our characters’ voices–and determine where they want to go and what they want to do next in our writing.

Shea Perry: Memoir & Poetry

Shea Perry is currently teaching English and Creative Writing at Loudoun Valley High School in Purcellville, Va. and she has taught there for a little over five years. Before teaching at Valley, she taught English at Millbrook High School in Winchester, Va. for thirteen years where she was awarded the FCPS Teacher of the Year Award in 2013. 

Perry has been working with the Shenandoah Valley Writing Project since she became a consultant in 2005. She loves working with student writers of all ages and particularly enjoys working with Project Write because it offers her the opportunity to work with children who are passionate about refining their craft.

Outside of work, Perry enjoys reading and spending time with her husband and six furbabies. She has four cats and two huge dogs. 

Memoir

We all have a story to tell and memoir is one of the genres that allows us to dive into our own lives to share our own voices. Memoir writing allows our readers to live through us and our experiences. Join me to learn more about the craft of memoir and to jump into to telling your story. 

Poetry

Do you like to break all the rules? Poetry is the genre that allows you to do that. No rhyme or reason has to exist in order to write a poem that is either beautiful, humorous or heart-felt. If you enjoy playing with words and their meaning, come to my poetry workshop!


Robin Frost, Onsite Director for Fauquier High School Workshop

Robin Frost has taught English in middle and high school for the past 23 years. She is currently teaching AP Literature and Composition, Creative Writing, and English 12 at Fauquier High School in Warrenton, Virginia.  She grew up loving books and spent countless evenings with her family sitting by the fire, drinking hot chocolate, and reading. Becoming an English teacher was perfect because she merged her passions for literature, writing, working with adolescents, and learning. “The day I stood in front of the classroom, I knew I was home,” she said.

She has been a Teacher Consultant for the National Writing Project since 2011 and serves on the board for Shenandoah Valley Writing Project. Robin loves working with Project Write and Young Writers because it offers a safe, energetic environment for students to share their talents and creativity. She even helped organize the Young Writers’ Workshop for Fauquier County, now on its third year!

Robin graduated with a Bachelor’s in English – Secondary education, a long time ago. At the tender age of 50, she returned to graduate school at George Mason and earned her Master’s in English Teaching Writing and Literature in 2017. She is happily married with young adults, one in college. They live with three dogs and a bearded dragon named Merlin.