Oregonian memoirist Jennifer Lauck is a professional writer who loves to create scenes and draw attention to her work, whether it is teaching a class or writing her next bestseller.
On July 13, Lauck taught a free two-hour writing workshop on how to create a scene, whether it's for a memoir, a novel, a short fiction story, or even a news article. The workshop was held at the Baker County Public Library in Baker City, Oregon.
Lauck lives in Portland, Oregon and has a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing. She has been a published professional writer for 30 years. Her most recent acclaimed work includes four New York Times bestseller books, which are Blackbird, Still Waters, Show Me the Way, and Found: A Memoir.
Lauck is also a former professional journalist and a finalist for the prestigious 2013 Oregon Book Awards.
Lauck’s creative writing pieces have also appeared in Newsweek, Harper’s Bazaar, Talk Magazine, People Magazine, Glamour, and Writer’s Digest. She also teaches professional writing classes at The Attic Institute in Portland.
During her writing workshop, Lauck talked about how to create a great captivating scene by closely observing the world around us.
Lauck encouraged her students to write all the little boring details that make up a great scene in a story, like tiny blades of grass, crumpled leaves floating in a mud puddle, flatten dirt, small clumps of dried bird feces, etc. Adding these specific details can create a very memorable scene that will captivate readers.
To help illustrate her point, Lauck asked her class of ten students to write five different scenes by simply observing what is above, below, behind, to the left, and to the right of where they were sitting. The entire class spent 10-15 minutes in silence looking around themselves at different angles and writing down what they observed.
After everyone had finished writing, each student spent a few minutes reading aloud what he or she had observed around him or her. Although every student had noticed the same objects in the room, each one described the objects using a different metaphor or creative description. This made the other students, including Lauck, look at the objects again in a new perspective.
As Lauck began to explain the importance of using representative and specific scenes, to help create a more memorable story for readers, a torrential rainstorm suddenly burst open above the Baker County Public Library.
Millions of gallons of rainwater cascaded onto the metal roof of the building as Lauck tried to talk over the loud pelting noise of the water droplets. It was not easy for the students to concentrate on what Lauck was saying because of the distraction from the rain. Some of the students started wondering aloud if they could make it home without getting wet.
However, Lauck didn't seem too distracted by the sudden intervention of Mother Nature as she quickly finished the workshop and answered some final questions from the class.
In the end, the students thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and the joyful and enthusiastic nature of Lauck as she shared her knowledge and experience of how to create a memorable scene.