American novelist Stephen King once said that if a person wished to be a writer, he or she must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.
A new group for teens at the Abington Community Library, 1200 W. Grove St., Clarks Summit, plans on making King's words come to life this summer by providing them not just an outlet for their creativity, but also the chance to have their works read by others.
The Teen Peer Writing Group will meet on the first Saturday of the month, beginning at 11:30 a.m., from July 6 until Dec. 7. Conceived as a way for students from seventh to 12th grade to share their literary creations, the group also seeks to help students with a penchant for writing get to know one another.
Facilitator Steven McKnight, a regular volunteer at the library, explained that he got the idea for the group from an online version run by Commonwealth Connections Academy, where he is a student.
I learned a lot from it and I think it would be interesting to have something like that in person," he said. "I met a lot of really good friends from it and I was able to get quite a few of my bits of writing critiqued by other students and their criticism was excellent. I was able to improve my writing style."
According to McKnight, there are a few caveats for students interested in participating in the group; for example, no rudeness will be tolerated, nor will copying other people's work. He explained that the guidelines are set so that the atmosphere will be as positive as possible.
"Being in a group like this can help you grow in your confidence," he said. "The purpose of writing is to share an idea with people; thus you have to acquire the confidence to share your writing with someone else to get that idea, to get that plot, across."
McKnight also stressed that a group of peers critiquing each other's work helps prepare for an eventual career.
"These groups train a writer for the future in showing your literature to other people and they help you get a good idea of what opinions of your writing will be," he said. "The best thing about writing is that anyone can do it. It is a skill anyone can master. Everyone has a different view on their ideals, the world and they all have their different ways of expressing it. It is amazing what authors can think of and the ideas that writers can express. Writing is life."
For more information, visit www.lclshome.org/abington or call 587-3440.