Bring on the Boys

Where the first session of Inkreadable was a glimpse at the power of the female writer, the second session of Inkreadable was about a boy. Actually, it was about four of them. I also had a couple of the girls from the first session return as well. I’ve known for a while that the genders write very differently. I’ve seen it in the adult groups that I ran in Edinburgh, DC, and the one that I run here in Amsterdam.

In that second session so long ago, two of the boys opted to wrote their own stories with no help from me. They were brothers so it made for an interesting dichotomy as well. I actually had to separate the brothers as they were using the same ideas in their story. Since this wasn’t a collaborative writing class, I had to put a stop to that. And quickly. But it also gave me an idea. Was a collaborative writing class such a bad idea? Like the original idea for Inkreadable, that too would not go away buzzing like that first been in my mind.

The boys tended towards more direct violence than the girls. For instance, one student had not one nuclear bomb going off in a story but ten. Another of my boys wrote a story where the protagonist has to escape a locked zoo through a cage of snakes. Snakes. why’d it have to be snakes? Shudder. The boys tended to less logic in their stories so suspension of disbelief became paramount with them. For example, one of the boys wanted to write a story about a trip that was entirely by canoe. Since in this day and age, unless you live on Lake Titicaca, there are faster ways of traveling, we agreed that the canoe travel would be one of the modes of transportation on the vacation, not the main one. This student wanted the kids to decide all the vacation fun, and I had to explain that people reading the story weren’t going to be able to suspend their disbelief to the extent that the kids rule the vacation. (Although, in my other job managing a restaurant, they seemed to do exactly that. The girls tended to solve problems in writing with less bloodshed.

In the second session of Inkreadable Kids, I was constantly being surprised by my students’ output, the freshness of their ideas, and their ability to be prolific.

That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable Installment. Coming up: a new course and it’s pitfalls. Stay tuned, as always, there’s more to come.

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