“Thrills and Chills” tour comes to NPHS to workshop with Creative Writing scholars


Riley Roach

Amy Christine Parker, Christina Farley, and Vivi Barnes (left to right) making an appearance at NPHS for their Fall 2022 tour.

TOWAMENCIN – Opportunities for up-and-coming writers are endless at North Penn High School. Yesterday, the Thrills and Chills tour visited our future authors.

Amy Christine Parker, Christina Farley, and Vivi Barnes came to North Penn High school to lead students in a “Create Your Own Adventure” workshop and a Q&A. The three published authors gave lots of tips/tricks for writing novels of any kind. Their audience consisted of all 5 sections of Creative Writing 1&2 students at the high school.

The first part of the workshop consisted of an overview of how you should set up a story. Barnes also takes time to explain what a flap and a flap copy do for a story.

“It’s really important to know how to create a setting, plot, characters, and things like that. This hopefully will be beneficial and it should be a lot of fun. We will need your help though,” Barnes said, “You know a book has the flap and you can look at the flap copy to read what the book is about. A lot of the time, that takes a good amount of time to come up with: a couple of months maybe. We are going to do that today in less than a half hour.”

The next part of the workshop was led by Farley and she focused on plotting your story. She posed many questions to the audience and hinted that these should be rhetorical questions you are asking yourself when you are plotting any story.

“Why do we go into this fun house?” Farley asked, “How do we get into the house?”

The concluding part of the workshop was led by Parker and she highlighted why it is important to have original, quality characterization. She made a lot of points about what kind of unique features your protagonist and antagonist should have.

“The challenge as a writer is to be somewhat original. You don’t want to write something you feel like you have seen a lot of the time unless you are trying to make a parody,” Parker explained, “As a writer, you have to make those decisions. Do we want to use a stereotypical character on purpose and then make them interesting in some way or do we want to totally subvert it and make them absolutely different?”

The workshop’s main purpose was to help the young authors discover more skills to form their own stories. The Creative Writing 1&2 students ended up forming their own setting, plot, and characters at the end of the discussion.

The authors leading an enticing workshop and Q&A in the NPHS IMC.
(Riley Roach)

The Q&A also had a great impact on the students. One of the most valuable questions answered in the Q&A was about finding the ideal place and time for students to write and how it can be different for everyone. Each one of the women outlined their ideal writing environment and highlighted the key differences.

“I get up in the morning around 5:15 and I start writing for about two hours. Usually until 8:00. Then, I light a candle and usually don’t turn any other lights on because I like the dark. I make sure my internet is turned off and then I put my headphones in with my playlist to the story I’m writing,” Farley explained.

Parker takes on writing differently: “I use music when I’m thinking, but I can’t have it while I’m actually writing. I have a whole wall of bulletin boards and they have pictures of my research on them,” Parker said, “Something about having it in person helps me. I do everything in total silence and it’s morning time usually. I don’t actually light a candle. I just have a certain chair I like to sit in. I like to be in my house.”

Completely different from Farley and Parker, Barnes has a unique view: “I will say, I don’t have as much of a routine as they do. With the job and the kids, I fit it in wherever I can. Sometimes you do it at night. Sometimes I walk around the lake. I love music too; the music inspires me,” Barnes expressed. 

After the workshop and Q&A, students got the opportunity to speak with the authors and claim a signed poster. From an outsider’s perspective, the event was very welcoming and there was a strong sense of inclusivity.

Are you looking to follow along with the journeys of our guest speakers? Check them out by searching their websites or following their social media! Vivi Barnes can be found on Instagram @vivibarnes. Christina Farley can be found on Instagram @ChristinaLFarely and TikTok @Christinafarleyauthor. Amy Christine Parker can be found on Instagram @AmyChristinePar and TikTok @AmyChristineParker.