Thinking for Writers

For ages 12-18, this course trains the student how to think like a (good) writer. The teacher is a professional writer and novelist. One of the main themes lies in writing not merely to write, but to be understood by the reader. Or to put it in the form of a question that the writer should be asking him- or herself, “How would I have to write this piece so as to have it readily understood by a certain type of person?” We will cover many types of writing, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Descriptive writing
  • Formal letter writing
  • Caption writing
  • Creative writing
  • How to ask a question
  • Giving directions

Generally, our focus will be on shorter pieces, though we may occasionally write an essay. There will be much class discussion–and we’ll tackle some of the harder tasks together, brain storming how we might each go about phrasing a certain thing. There will also be many fun exercises in class aimed at the principles of communication. The class may also write the introductions to be given for the various musical numbers or skits presented at our various Great Room performances.

This is an academic course, but homework should be quite manageable, as most of our focus is on how to think about what we’re doing as writers. Homework assignments will be relatively short, and should only come every other week or so. Occasionally, an essay of one to two pages length may be assigned a couple of weeks in advance.

This class will be fun for those who enjoy thinking and who have learned that “roll up your sleeves” work ethic. The principles are not difficult to grasp, but will require repetition to master. It’s also a highly social class, where the members will interact frequently in various exercises. For the student who hasn’t yet discovered that thinking and writing can be fun, the class may be a bit of a strain, but if they’re well-humored, they’ll probably find it tolerable enough. The age range is fairly wide, and we realize that not every 12 year old will be well-suited for this class, so we urge the parents to give it some good thought before registering. And if you’d like to discuss it with the teacher first, be our guest!


Click here to register ASAP
as space is limited.

A Code of Conduct agreement is required for this course. This helps to ensure the positive environment in each class. This document is being updated and will be published this summer.

Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
First Semester runs September 15 through December 16.
Second Semester runs January 12 through through April 27.

There are no performances planned for this class. However, if we end up creating some notable writings that the authors would care to present in public, we may work in such pieces to another one of our Great Room events, such as a Skits night, or a Public Speaking night.

Students will need notebooks and folders and plenty of writing utensils. Pens are nice. Laptops would be acceptable, if you are so inclined—but pen and paper should always be handy as we don’t want to take up class time troubleshooting computer problems. (They can link wirelessly to our printer.)


This course meets, as do all our courses, in the We, Montana! Great Room.

Jack Pelham

This course is part of our Homeschool Program. You’ll find our fee structure detailed here.