Teen Writer Mentor – Classroom visits!

Let’s talk about writing and books! I’d be happy to visit your book club or classroom in person, or via Skype. I currently co-host a monthly Teen Writers Workshop at a public library, and an annual week-long, filled-to-capacity Teen Creative Writing Summer Camp.


classroom picI love every aspect of writing (both fiction and nonfiction), reading, and editing. My debut novel, Radio Head was released in 2016, and I recently completed my second book, a middle grade roadtrip epic. My short stories appear in Gravel, Skyline, Wordhaus, andMixtape Methodology. My story, Like Father, Like Son was recently named Best of Wordhaus 2015. I’m a Huffington Post contributor, and editor of an outdoor adventure magazine. I am a  member of SCBWI, and a co-organizer of annual NaNoWriMo events in my region.

Testimonial: “Getting Started in Writing” Class Presentation

Memoirs from Teen Writing Camp

Let’s Talk About Writing

Activities for 1st – 7th Grade

  • Create your own custom MadLibs!
  • Write a short story or scene using a visual image as a prompt. I will prepare a personalized collection of items to share with the group. You’ll learn how to use them to create a story or a character outline.
  • How to write and illustrate a story using only three sheets of paper (beginning, middle, end).
  • Play with music! The participants select a favorite song, and the group re-writes it: Choose a new setting, replace the “hero,” turn a tragic, dark song into a happy one–whatever works! Your group will swap out nouns, use antonyms to change the tone, and find synonyms to make the song their own.
  • What does a writer’s life look like? I’ll discuss the process of writing and revision, and talk what it’s like to turn daydreams into stories.

Activities for 8th – 12th Grade

  • Creating a story or novel structure
  • Crafting dynamic, multi-dimensional, believable characters
  • Brainstorming story conflicts and how to resolve them
  • Fun ways to break writer’s block
  • Creating effective Flash Fiction
  • Using story-writing (and music) for self-healing and problem-solving
  • Revision techniques: Polishing your work

Let’s Talk about Music

Radio Head’s protagonist, Shelby Rey, believes she can hear music inside others, just by touching them. Do we all have a song inside, an anthem we can call our own? Rock star Zac Wyatt is an enigmatic lead singer who can play any instrument, but he struggles to write honest, authentic lyrics.

Possible topics of discussion:

  • Crafting a dynamic character, inciting incident, and story problem-your group will use these elements to write a song. I’ll provide a skeleton outline of song-writing structure with prompts. This activity works well as a group, or each participant can write his or her own song independently.
  • Music therapy activities: What we listen to greatly affects our mood. I can provide fun, age-appropriate activities.

Book Clubs

Livelier book clubs also have fun participating in creative writing exercises–no pressure, just adult playtime! Would you rather discuss the text? Download Book Club questions here!

In the Seattle area? I can visit in classrooms and book clubs in person. Email me at RJLacko (at) gmail (dot) com.

RADIO HEAD is available!     Amazon     I     Barnes & Noble     I     Books-a-Million     I    IndieBound    I     Amazon UK     I     Goodreads