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Mon, 15 Jul

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Online Workshop

Creating Climate Fiction for Young Adults

Hope in Difficult Times - How to Create Young Adult Fiction that addresses the Climate Crisis. Join OCA Tutor Rab Ferguson for this workshop as part of our Summer of Sustainability.

Creating Climate Fiction for Young Adults
Creating Climate Fiction for Young Adults

Time & Location

15 Jul 2024, 13:00 – 16:00

Online Workshop

Guests

About the Event

This workshop will focus on developing ideas for Young Adult “Cli-Fi” (Climate Fiction) using a character first approach. There will be an emphasis on the importance of creating believable teenage leads in YA fiction, especially in Cli-Fi.

Extracts from successful YA Cli-FI such as Green Rising by Lauren James and Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman. Facilitated discussion will explore how these texts represent teenage characters, as well as how they balance displaying the depth of the threat of climate change alongside creating space for hope for a teenage audience who are often impacted by climate anxiety.

Proposed Structure:

Section 1, Creating Character (one hour)

10 minutes reading: Begin by tutor reading aloud sections of YA Cli-Fi text (Dry and potentially another example) that demonstrate introducing believable teenage characters into situations impacted by climate change.

20 minutes discussion: Students then have 5 minutes to make their own notes on the texts and how the characters were presented, followed by small group discussions (using the “break out rooms” settings). This is followed by a whole group discussion, with each group sharing what they talked about.

20 minutes activity: Students complete tutor-developed character creation sheets, which contain lists of questions to help them create teenage characters for cli-fi settings.

10 minutes sharing: Students each briefly sharing details of the character they created.

Section 2, Hope (one hour, including 10 minute break)

10 minutes reading: Begin by tutor reading aloud sections of YA Cli-Fi text (Green Rising and potentially another example) that demonstrates creating space for hope in YA Cli-Fi.

20 minutes discussion: Students then have 5 minutes to make their own notes on the texts and their views on how hope was presented against a stark backdrop, followed by small group discussions (using the “break out rooms” settings). This is followed by a whole group discussion, with each group sharing what they talked about.

10 minute break: I believe it’s important to schedule in a break in workshops of this length, to maintain student focus.

10 minute activity: Students sketch out ideas and concepts for a plot that “leaves room for hope”

10 minute sharing: Students briefly share details of the plot concepts they have considered.

Section 3 Moving from Character, to Plot (one hour)

30 minutes activity: With assistance from tutor-developed worksheets, the students create plot outlines based upon the characters they generated in section one.

10 minutes sharing: Students share the potential plotlines they have created.

20 minutes reading and discussion to end session: Read two short excerpts of contemporary journalism around climate change, and lead discussion on why thinking about how to represent climate change to teenagers might be important. Share further resources that students can explore, such as the Climate Fiction Writers League Blog and list of Young Adult Cli-Fi titles.

About the tutor (Rab Ferguson): My Young Adult Climate Fiction novel Landfill Mountains was published by Onwe Press. I have written articles for Readers Digest and Bright Green about Young Adult Climate Fiction, as well as having spoken about the topic on BBC World Service. I have interviewed Youth Climate Activists and Authors, and am a member of the Climate Fiction Writers League.

I take an organised and planned approach to creating workshops, but am comfortable adapting these plans to the needs of students present, for example extending sections if discussion or activity is productive.

Find the collaborative padlet here with lots of resources and inspirtation!

Everyone is welcome! Come along and try something new!

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