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Science writing with Alicia Sometimes: Teen Writing Bootcamp

30 May 2022

From late April through to mid-May 2022, writer, poet and broadcaster Alicia Sometimes explored the art of science writing with a group of talented young teens in her Teen Writing Bootcamp classes. Below she shares some tips and reflections.

What a wonderful four weeks of exploring the creative side of science writing!

The participants were able to write short excerpts within each class and share their poetic responses every week. We swooped into the universe of poetry, short fiction, and sci-fi and spoke about the duty of care when writing scientific non-fiction. Students expressed themselves while writing about everything from the micro to the macro. There were those who loved chemistry, biology, medicine, radiology, astronomy, zoology, physics and neuroscience. We also discussed some fascinating scientific facts.

We focused on detail and craft, honing our skills on constructing stories with specific scientific information and adding emotional texture. Thanks to the imagination and talent of all who shared their work and gave so much of themselves. Some of the students were inspired to continue with their poems or stories and bring in their edited pieces the week after writing in class. 

We looked at distinctions between science writing (for popular audiences) and scientific writing (peer‐reviewed or technical writing). We observed, experimented and attempted to illuminate those individual stories surrounding science. I can’t thank the participants enough for being brave and giving everything a go.

Some things to consider when creatively writing science pieces:

  • What do you want to say? Think about the message you want to convey.
  • Who are you writing for? Who is your audience?
  • Gather your facts and research. Always ask a lot of questions.
  • Read all types of writing on the subject you are researching.
  • Maybe experiment with style and structure of story or poem.
  • Write. 
  • Edit.
  • Re-write before you polish. Is this the right title? The ending with the most impact? 
  • Read your work again.
  • Submit. Or share. Or write more!

More to explore

Find out more about the Teen Writing Bootcamp programs. 

This program has been made possible with the generosity of Serp Hills Foundation and The JTM Foundation.