Roy Peter Clark is vice president and senior scholar at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, a nonprofit school for journalists, future journalists and teachers of journalism, which owns the St. Petersburg Times.
Clark, the author of Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer and a founder of the community organization City of Writers, will present two workshops at the Times Festival of Reading.
He has offered the popular "Writing With Roy" for several years; new this time will be a workshop for high school students, "Write Your Way Into College."
What is the goal for the workshop "Writing With Roy"?
It will be a reliable hour and 15 minutes of the themes, strategies and approaches from my book. It will be an opportunity to talk about how to think of yourself as a writer, how to improve the quality of your work as a writer, how to join City of Writers and be part of a community of writers.
What should the audience expect?
We'll have a conversation about the writing process, then I'll answer their questions and give some examples of strategies for writing from the book.
Who can benefit from this workshop?
Anyone who is interested in writing, anyone who would like to try to write something, anyone who is required to write on the job, as a student or in some other way. It's for the widest possible potential audience.
What about the other workshop, "Write Your Way Into College"? Is it mainly for high school students?
Yes. There are kids out there who really need this but who are not going to be able to afford the high-priced spread.
What should they expect?
It's a workshop devoted to writing a personal essay of the type that is required as part of the admissions application for colleges and universities.
Why do students need help with these essays?
What we know is that admissions directors think that fewer than 10 percent of the essays they read are interesting or compelling in any way at all.
There may not be a way to greatly improve your SAT scores or your grades, but you can, through your essay, give people reasons to accept you into their college. You can show them you are worthy of their time and attention.
What's one tip about the essay you'll talk about in the workshop?
It needs a great beginning. It needs a better lead than a newspaper story. You have to capture the attention of that reader immediately.