student work


 writing guide



Paper Café 2004


Ms. Rader / Mr. Genck:  9th grade



by Tory Barnes


Life is nothing but a bitter taste of different society in every way

Where you learn something new every day

We share new ideas to improve the we live our life

But all the right answers lays in the hands of god

So we can take the perfect strive to live a perfect life.



A Screenplay

By Alexandra Brodsky


 A girl sits in a dimly lit chapel, writing in a thick notebook with a blue and green pen.  There are other adolescents her age around her, but she does not seem to notice them.  She wears low cut, tight pants, but is not sitting uncomfortably, a tie-dyed shirt, mostly pink, purple, and blue, a white sports bra showing above the scoop of the shirt’s neck.  On her feet are blue sandals, her toenails painted with pink polish, but chipped.  She is blonde, her hair tied back in a disheveled knot at the back of her head, wispy pieces falling in her eyes, which she ignores in her concentration.  She is pale, wearing no makeup. Tall, her legs are bent high in as she leans back in the wooden chair, one foot on back of the chair in front of her.  She is not a small girl, apart from her bony, narrow shoulders and little hands, but because of these two features, the way she folds the arm not writing over her body as if to protect herself, and some sort of aura around her, she seems frail.


(Wide shot of chapel interior, girl in left bottom corner.   Cut to close up of girl, writing, biting the corner of her lip.)


Girl (speaking at comfortable volume as she writes, but no one in the chapel seems to hear.  She has no distinct accent, but has slightly trouble pronouncing vowel-“r” sound): 

I have been writing my screenplay since the day I was born.

I was originally

convinced it was a play

but no

there is no room for mistakes,

everything must be calculated.

I know no technical terms, no true

format, but even as I sit here,

in the middle of Connecticut,

only about one hundred people maximum even knowing I am here,

I can hear the cameras whirring.

It comforts me,

tells me

“love, you are wanted, someone is watching, someone


you are not some ant a little kid will step on

forgotten for eternity.”

Eternity is a scary concept.

Sometimes, it happens less often these years,

but sometimes I’ll stay awake

trying to understand infinity.

But the camera can stop, eventually,

and when the camera stops,

it does not go on.

Though I may no longer continue living,

if nothing but the remains of film


I have not necessarily stopped being.


(The girl stops.  She bites the end of her pen, a new, disgusting habit.  She runs the pointed end along the metal binding of her notebook and shifts, the wood beginning to hurt her tail bone.)



But I sound entirely crazy.

I’m really quite


We’re all acting in this movie, it’s cliché because it’s true.

I just need to write the script first,

attempting to show the audience

just who

the character is.


(As if to prove this point, another student scrambles over to the girl, excited to show her something in a notebook.  The girl smiles, takes the notebook, and reads it fairly quickly, smiles again.  The two girls converse excitedly, but we cannot hear anything they say.  The camera cuts to the individual faces of the other kids, and then back to the other girls, who are finishing up their conversation, still no sound heard.  The girls hands back the notebook to the other student, who then walks back to her seat.  The girl settles back into her seat with her pen, writing, seeming to descend back into concentration in an instant.)



I have had two goals for the screenplay


establishing the character

and finding a consistent supporting


The cast is slightly less

confusing, simply

because the problem is easier to identify,

if not to solve. 

The family has, for fourteen years, been unchanging.

Mother, father, brother, dog.

There have been two dogs,

and once there were fish, maybe

even a frog.

But it has been mostly consistent. 

However, the brother

is only home for one more year and how regular of a presence he will be

is unknown

because a twist is always inevitable.

The parents are not yet older,

but eventually they will be.

The friends have been consistently

played by different actors and actresses.

There is the rebellious friend,

the flower that blooms too early

and dies before the spring comes.

The boy with the unconditional love

whose hugs turn


into something malicious,


that she, I, do not like to think about.

But they are always played

by different actors and actresses,

and make it difficult to write the next scene when I don’t know who will still be there.

A love interest

is always welcome in a screen play,

but as many times as I write it in

just next

the actor does not cooperate,

and the roses,

the mix tape of love songs,

the gentle kiss,

turn into another monologue

to fill up time,

and attempt not to cry.

Casting is still in progress,

I say.


(The girl looks up, camera zooms to altar.  The teacher approaches a student sleeping on the altar.  We cannot hear what they say, but he stands up, moves himself to the stairs leading up to the altar, and falls back to sleep.  The teacher walks back.  The girl goes back to the notebook, twisting a curl of her hair around her finger absentmindedly.)



The main character is obviously


defined by the people around her.

Being my movie, I’m pretty sure I am the main character.

I have been confused about this before.

With one “boyfriend,” I became convinced this was


movie and I was to be the elusive girl with the golden hair

then the girlfriend

then his girl

then his.

But this has been cleared up.

It was

pitifully pathetically painful,

but I am responsible for my screenplay alone.

This helped to develop the definition of the main character,

what I was speaking of before.

It became evident that I could not write her

the passive one

the easy to love one.

She would need to be fiercely


stopping at no lengths,

yet cautious.

She is by nature

flirtatious, this has been clear from the beginning.

Yet I wrote in a hard shell,

and only later,

the dramatic removal of this.

This character gives me such trouble still.

I have been working on her for fourteen years,

and everyday I am further

from knowing what I want to do.


(The camera zooms out slightly, the teacher stands up.)


Teacher: Okay, class, we’re done for today.  See you tomorrow.


(All of the kids, including the girl, begin to stand up and pack.  After taking a few steps toward the door, however, the girl stops and juts something down quickly.  The other children are shouting to each other, but there is no sound other than the girl.)



Sometimes it occurs to me that

this film

is the only film I’ll ever have,

and I am busy writing its screenplay

as it rolls.

However, like infinity,

I prefer not to think about it.


(She shuts the book, and normal, boisterous sound returns.)


Girl:  Matti!  Matti!  Wait up!




by Stephanie Cheng


I do not speak,

For fear that I will say something wrong.

I do not speak,

For fear that you will not listen.

I do not speak,

For fear that you will not accept it.

I do not speak,

For fear that I cannot say it.



Horses in the Winter

by Mark Cheong


It’s really cold like a winter wonderland

Shivering cold, you can see your breath

It’s even colder because of the blowing wind

My mind is freezing like Robert Frost

 Five horses galloping

They’re as white as the snow

The horses follow a path

It’s as clear as water

The white snow fills the sky with a glow

Nothing in your path

There’s no way to get lost.



Internal Happiness

by Erese “babs” Fair


Darkest midnight, with no stars in the sky

You sift through the darkness in search of that one star in the sky

You travel hundreds of miles in search of that certain twinkle

Finally, after all your journeys,

 You realized the star you found was not in the sky

But here on earth

Right before you eyes

It was in your heart


The Stained-Glass Window

by Anthony Jessel


Its crystal neon

edges shine in the

constant sunlight like

a thousand marbles.

The light from above


down creates

greater beauty

unheard of on the outside.



Dying for death

A Pantoum poem by Joey Liptapanlop


Death is worth dying for

For it is our destiny

What in life could you want more?
You live and die, basically


For it is our destiny

Forget all lovers and friends

You live and die, basically

Everyone dies in the end


Forget all lovers and friends

There comes times when you could feel death

Everyone dies in the end

We’re getting closer with every breath


There comes times when you could feel death

So live everyday as if it’s your last

We’re getting closer with every breath

Time is running out, fast


So live everyday as if it’s your last

What in life could you want more?

Time is running out, fast

Death is worth dying for




by Matti Maida


They come into our lives

For a reason we think,

When we are in need

They come to our fire,

Get it under control,

And leave to go home.

The next one comes in

And makes it all right.

But they do not stay

And we are okay.



The Random Thing

by Patrick Ortali


At midnight,

There is a ripple,

And my minds eye,

Is engulfed in flame.

Dark, Light, morning,

Music, violin, piano,

And so, the scarlet door opens.



At midnight we dive,

The hurricane bellows,

The submarine sinks,

Through the rippling water,

Like A boy,

Splashing through the river of time.

We are near a desert,

With every gust of wind,

A tornado rises,

Like a sycamore tree,

Whirling and twirling,

Ripples in a scarlet sea.



Up the airy mountain,

Down the rushy glen,

We daren’t go a-hunting,

For fear of little men.

Wee folk, good folk,

Trooping all together,   

Green jacket, red cap,

And a white owl’s feather.




by Jackson Scofield


Ever killing, ever growing, the fungus conquers,

spreading from cell to cell, feeding, growing.

Moving from air to brain, from rain to body

it climbs higher and destroys its host.

It spreads its eggs and is gone,

waiting to be followed by its offspring.



Window Washers

by Christopher Spall


High above the roar of the city

The window washers move

Like ants or spiders on the wall


The height does not matter

The fear is not great enough

Only one-thing matters


The job must get done

The windows must be washed

No matter what location


People must see the world’s beauty

They must enjoy how perfect it is

Then again only one person can do this


A window washer


Most people do not notice the window washers

Only the children stunned by the height

This doesn’t matter to the washers


They do their job because most people won’t

Fear is not an option for them

Only the brave can do their job well


People do not look upon them as showoffs

Or cleaning monkeys of the metal jungle.

They look upon them as hard workers

People who do not do their job sloppy


They do it to do it well

No one can say they don’t work hard

Because they do the jobs others reject

They wash the windows




By Greg West





Ten foot

Twenty foot




Skim boards

Wake boards


Five feet

Six feet

Seven feet


Open water

Clear water

Dark water






My Life

by Dan Genck


Sometimes my life strays, rolling waves,

She’ll comeback and sing for you

Is what they always say.


Don’t spend your days moaning, worrying away,

Just hold it all down and

Wait for the best of days.


The world stops turning as you sit all alone,

You scream and scream

Just waiting here by the phone.


The world stops caring as your silence sets on,

But I’m still out here

Knowing you think I’m gone.




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